Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Another Serial Killer in Louisiana? (Updated 1/3/2009)

In just the past five years, three serial killers have been arrested in Louisiana, and yet the killing continues. 

In May of 2003 police in Baton Rouge arrested Derrick Todd Lee for the murder of seven women.  These murders had been particularly terrorizing because the victims were not otherwise high-risk victims, and they were often taken from or murdered in their own homes.  It was DNA that finally brought the police to the killer.  He was sentenced to death by lethal injection. 

Just a year later, in 2004, police arrested Sean Vincent Gillis for the murder of three women.  After his arrest Gillis confessed to killing five more women.  He was sentenced to life in the first of his trials.

In 2006, Ronald Joseph Dominique was arrested for the murder of 23 men over a ten year period.  He confessed to the killings in a deal to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to eight life terms.

Now law enforcement in Jefferson Parish have formed a task force to investigate a series of murders they believe are likely to be the work of a serial killer.  In this case, the investigation is looking into the murders of seven women since 2005.  There are nearly a score of other unsolved murders of women that could be, but have not yet been connected to this killer in neighboring parishes.  So, either there is another very prolific killer in Louisiana, or there is a prolific serial killer with possibly other serial killers or individual murderers active in the state.  Either way, it must be a very frightening time for people living high-risk lifestyles dominated by drugs and the sex trade.  For many years Washington State was the place most often associated with serial killers, but that may be changing, much to the dismay of the people of Louisiana.

UPDATE (September 1, 2009) 8th Victim found:  The most recent victim was a 26 year old woman named Necole Guillory.  Guillory was last seen getting into a car on Sunday, August 16th, near the south Main Street area Jennings.  The multi-agency task force investigating the case released the following:

The multi-agency task force comprised of Acadia, Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Offices, Jennings Police Department, 15 th & 31st District Attorney's offices, La State Police Region 2 CID investigators/ Lake Charles, La Attorney General's Office, and the FBI continue to aggressively investigate the murders of several women from the Jennings area.

The task force continues to seek information from the public, and will continue to share as much information as possible with the public about these investigations without jeopardizing the investigation or prosecution due to recent media coverage and news releases, resulting in enhanced public awareness and combined with the sustained efforts of the task force, it is likely that the offender may have altered his behavior, habits and/or practices.

The following are additional examples of such changes possibly made by the offender:

The offender may have recently left the Jennings area, possibly in an abrupt manner, with no indication of prior planning.

The offender may have recently discontinued his contact with the area of Jennings formerly frequented by the victims.

The offender may have recently altered his physical appearance.

The offender may have altered the appearance of his vehicle, e.g., having his vehicle painted.

The offender likely had sex with some, most or all of the women (decomposition doesn’t allow certain confirmation).  What makes it tougher is that many other men may have had recent encounters with the women (some , many, and though improbable, it is possible men unrelated to the murders had sex with all of the missing women).  At least five separate men have been under suspicion because they were seen with one or more victims shortly before they disappeared.  Two were arrested and then released.

In my opinion, and it isn’t worth much I know, what is raising the temperature of frustration in Jennings isn’t necessarily frustration that sprouts from police incompetence.  A very competent police force very often finds it tough to break open serial murder cases.  I can’t say with any inside information whether the Jennings officers are average, better or worse.  But I can say that anytime a series of murders go on without ending, the community can become inflamed.  I would cite examples, but it seems SOOO unnecessary in this case. 

The most remarkable element in my mind is that the frustration, and a washed pickup truck seem to have lead to the entire police force being swabbed for DNA.  Now THAT is pretty new. 

For good crime news, including reporting on the current Louisiana murder series (last link deals with DNA swabs):

The Criminal Report Daily by David Lohr

Steve Huff:  The True Crime Report

Lost in Lima Ohio





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