Case File #0169
The Jeff Davis 8
The Louisiana Serial Murder Case
"None of us are above the law"
In May 2005, the body of a young woman was found floating in the East Fork of the Grand Marais Canal in the city of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana. The body was too decomposed to provide police with a cause of death, but was identified as Loretta Chaisson Lewis, a known prostitute with a history of drug addiction. Her death was attributed to the ongoing drug problem that many young women were falling victim to. On 18 June, just six miles from where Chaisson's body had been discovered, the corpse of another young woman was located, that of prostitute Ernestine Patterson. The two women had been friends, and soon rumours abounded that a serial killer was stalking the city of Jennings, preying on the women of the night. In March 2007, yet another young woman was found dead. Kristen Gary Lopez had shared many similarities with the previous victims, such as engaging in sex work, drugs and minor criminal activity, however her death would result in the arrest of a suspect, Frankie Richard, a known drug dealer and pimp who knew some of the victims and was known as a violent individual. Although Richard would be released without charge, police continued to believe the murders were the work of a serial killer and focused their investigation in search of a lone suspect. By August 2009, another five young women would be brutally murdered, their bodies dumped in remote locations throughout the Louisiana Bayou. The remains decomposed quickly, due to the hot weather, making the cause of death difficult to determine. Although a multi-agency task-force had been assembled, many within the community had lost confidence in the police, and there were those who suspected and feared that the killings might be the work of members of law enforcement looking to cover-up drug related crimes, and who had long been suspected of involvement in the local drug trade. Despite numerous suspects, the Jennings police have been strongly accused of corruption and mishandling the investigation, which has resulted in no suspect charged in any of the eight murders of young women in Jefferson Davis.
In the Southwestern Louisiana region of Arcadiana lies the small city of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish, which is home to a population of just 10,000. The city is divided by the railroad line which dissects the area in two, with the northern section of the city home to the more affluent upper-class residents, whilst those on the south side suffer from poverty, crime and drug addiction in what some described as a ghetto. Like many states in the U.S., Louisiana has suffered from an unflux of drugs and as a result there has been a rise in drug related crimes and murders. One such murder might possibly have been the catalyst for the subsequent deaths of eight young women. On 19 April 2005, Jennings police received a tip from an informant that "there was ongoing narcotics activity" at a Jennings residence at 610 Gallup Street. The snitch also claimed that "two other probationers", including Tracee Chaisson, "we're frequenting the residence". The next day, just after 10:20pm, a team of Louisiana Probation and Parole agents, alongside Jennings Police detectives and an investigator from the parish district attorney's office, raided the property and forced entry at the house. The officers shouted to alert those inside of their presence and encountered a dozen drug users in the front room, which was dimly lit by a single lamp in the kitchen.
The residence was the home of Harvey Lee "Bird Dog" Burleigh, and when Parole and Probation agent John Briggs Becton moved inside, he encountered 43-year-old Leonard Crochet, a ponytailed prescription drug dealer, who was standing on the north side of the living room. The agent ordered him to show his hands, and according to the statement later given by Briggs Becton, Crochet "then made a sudden movement with his hands towards his belt line." Suspecting Crochet was reaching for a gun, Briggs Becton fired his Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun, striking Crochet with a single shot to the chest. According to another statement given by a fellow Parole and Probation agent, Briggs Becton approached Crochet's body and muttered, "oh shit". An ambulance was called and the other inhabitants of the house were arrested and taken for questioning. Investigators who searched the scene could find no evidence of any weapons in the vicinity of Crochet's location, furthermore, no one else who had been present during the incident could provide any evidence that Crochet had been in possession of a weapon. Crochet was a known associate of the home owner, Harvey Burleigh, who was also involved in dealing prescription drugs. Burleigh was a witness to the killing, along with prostitute Kristen Gary Lopez, Alvin "Bootsy" Lewis and several others. The individual who provided the tip was Jared Sauble, another associate of Burleigh and a police informant. A parish grand jury in July 2005 heard that prosecutors attempted to make a case against Agent Briggs Becton, who they believed had committed the crime of negligent homicide. The jury would reach the decision of "no true bill", meaning no probable cause or evidence to show that a crime had been committed.
The Murder of Loretta Chaisson Lewis (May 2005)

Exactly one month later on 20 May, the body of 28-year-old Loretta Chaisson Lewis was found in the Grand Marais Canal, just outside Jennings. The body had been found by Jerry Jackson, who had been out fishing, and who initially mistook the corpse for a mannequin floating in the water. Chaisson had been missing for three days, and the decomposition to the body made it difficult to determine the cause of death. The discovery of her body had shocked the community, and her family told police that despite her sex work and drug addiction, Chaisson was a devoted mother who doted on her two children. Her friend Jessica Kratzer recounted that several days before she disappeared, Chaisson had asked her to walk her to a local bar, but when they arrived she seemed worried by something she saw. She would later say her friend seemed spooked by something, and had given Kratzer her purse, asking her to place it on top of a closet just "in case". It would be the last time Krazter saw her alive. Loretta's brother Chad claimed the last time he saw his sister, she was getting into a car driven by Frankie Richard, a well-known pimp with a violent past who was known to be involved with drugs in the Jennings area.

Loretta Chaisson Lewis

Frankie Richard was a suspected drug dealer who was well-known to the prostitutes working in Jefferson Davis Parish. The oil bust of the 1980's devastated the region along with much of Louisiana's economy, and by the late 1980's the state's unemployment rose to well over 13.1%, almost double what it was at the beginning of the decade. Frankie Richard had spent the 1970's working in the oil fields, but after an accident left him with a broken back, he accepted a large settlement and started a dump truck business. By the 1990's he sold the business and invested the money in strips clubs in Lafayette, where he became known for his violence, hiring himself out as an enforcer. Richard explained, "If somebody wanted a leg broken and they give me $500, you can bet tomorrow you'd be wearing a fucking cast". By the 2000's, Richard had outstayed his welcome and moved back to South Jennings where he ran the sex-and-drugs trade from the Boudreaux Inn, a dilapidated motel that was situated just yards from the Interstate-10 dope corridor. Richard was not arrested in connection with the death of Loretta Chaisson Lewis, however there were suspicions by some that he had some sort of involvement in her murder. Former Jennings journalist Scott Lewis said that after the story broke about the discovery Chaisson's body, the Jennings Daily News and the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's Office became inundated with phonecalls from worried residents asking if there was a serial killer on the loose, despite the fact that only one body had been found. Sheriff Ricky Edwards issued a statement saying the police have no information on a suspected serial killer.

Frankie Richard

The Murder of Ernestine Patterson (June 2005)

On 18 June 2005, just six miles from where the body of Chaisson Lewis had be discovered, the remains of another young woman were found. A group of froggers had been searching the Bayou when they came across the badly decomposed body floating in a drainage canal. The victim's throat had been slashed and she had bruising on her hands, whilst her face was described as unrecognisable. It was believed the victim had died two days before being discovered. Due to the level of decomposition, it would take law enforcement almost two months to positively identify the remains as those of 30-year-old Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson. Because the Jennings police now had a second body, there were those who suspected that a possible serial killer might be active in the area. However, the body of Loretta Chaisson did not exhibit the same type of injuries as the second victim. Patterson had been brutally beaten, whilst the cause of death of Chaisson was difficult to determine, with no outward wounds to her body.

Ernestine Patterson

That same month Jennings police arrested Lawrence Nixon in connection with the murder of Patterson. Witnesses reported that Patterson had been engaged in sex work the night she was murdered, and she met up with two men at an abandoned property. Nixon's partner, Lucenda Kagy, also told police that she remembers her boyfriend and another man, Bryon "Chad" Jones coming to her house that day and Nixon was seen carrying an industrial sized garbage bag that seemed weighty and had blood coming out of it. She told police she sprayed the porch down to remove the blood which had leaked from the bag, which was placed inside a white car and driven away. Jones was sought by police, but the search was hampered when on 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on Florida and Louisiana, causing catastrophic damage and resulting in the deaths of 1,200 people, over 900 in Louisiana alone. Taking advantage of the situation, Jones fled to New Orleans and then evacuated to South Carolina after this time. Investigative Journalist Ethan Brown, who launched his own investigation of the murders, said of the murder of Patterson "what I found out about Ernestine Patterson's case from reading her case file was, frustrating and strange and bewildering... because of the way in which the investigation was conducted." Brown claims the witness interviews on the case had not be scrutinised by the media or anyone else outside of the police.
One witness came forward and told police that a jagged edged hunting knife was left in an abandoned home on Garage Alley. It was unclear from the case files if this tip was ever followed up by law enforcement and no such knife was located. Additionally the floorboards where the bloody bag was placed, were not tested for traces of blood until sixteen months after the crime had been committed. When the area was tested, it unsurprisingly came back as negative for traces of blood. Nixon was released without charge in connection with the death of Patterson, but would be re-arrested in December 2005, in the company of his cousin Laconia "Muggy" Brown, a know prostitute and drug user. Both were arrested for the rape-conspiracy of Kirk Menard's minor daughter, Rosalyn Breaux. Menard was a private investigator who would become involved in his own investigation into the Bayou murders. On 19 January 2006, Bryon "Chad" Jones was arrested and questioned about the death of Patterson, but soon the charges were dropped by the District Attorney's office due to insufficient evidence. Despite several witnesses implicating Nixon and Jones in the murder of Patterson, both men had denied any involvement in her murder.
The Murder of Kristen Gary Lopez (March 2007)

There were no further deaths throughout 2006, however on 5 March 2007, 21-year-old Kristen Gary Lopez was reported missing by her family and was last seen a block away from Clara Street by a witness. The victim's mother was accompanied to the Sheriff's office by Tracee Chaisson. It wasn't until 18 March, when the nude body of a young woman was discovered by a fisherman in Pettijean canal, a rural area near Cherokee Road, right off LA 99 and about 10 miles south of Welsh. The body had been left in the water for several days, where animal predation had cause wounds to the body, specifically from alligators. Detectives believed the victim had been placed in that location, but had most likely been killed elsewhere. The body was soon identified as Lopez through the use of dental records, however a cause of death could not be determined because of the advanced state of decomposition. Like the previous victims, Lopez had been engaged in sex work prior to her death and had been a regular drug user. The toxicology results showed elevated levels of both drugs and alcohol in Lopez's system. Jessica Kratzer had also been friends with Lopez, who she described as "paranoid" during the last few days before her disappearance. Kratzer recalled how they both walked to Lopez's grandmothers house, and remembers her friend turning around and looking at every car which passed by. When Kratzer told Lopez she could confide in her if she needed, Lopez said, "But you're not going to understand".

Kristen Gary Lopez

Hannah Connor, a friend of the victim, described her worry when she didn't hear from Lopez and contacted the police to report her as missing. Connor is the niece of Frankie Richard, who was well known to both Loretta Chiasson and Kristen Gary Lopez. Conner recounted how Lopez would refer to her father, Billy Connor Sr., as "Uncle Billy", and that their relationship was more than just friends. Connor remembers how she came to her fathers home one day and found Lopez there in her t-shirt and underwear. When asked how she felt that her friend and her father were having sex, she replied, "Their two consenting adults, it didn't bother me at all that they were having sex." Connor said she always felt safe when she went to her father's house, and that many of the other women she knew who were often hanging out and partying at Connor Sr's home, also felt the same way. She added that her uncle and godfather, Frankie Richard, would also be present at her uncles house. She described Richard as "the guy you didn't mess with," adding, "he took care of business... he was a bad-ass back in those days".
Jennings police and Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edwards in particular, publicly denied that a serial killer was preying on the young women, and the investigation continued to focus on the victims immoral lifestyles, with Edwards adding that the women had been living a "high-risk lifestyle" and running with the same crowds before they were murdered, which most likely contributed to their deaths. Edwards added that the deaths of these three women were most likely not random. Sheriff Edwards' comments would receive much criticism from the victims families. Edwards had been Sheriff of Jefferson Davis Parish since he succeeded Sheriff Dallas Cormier, who had been fined and forced to step down in 1992 due to a federal indictment for the misuse of funds and prison labor. The corruption under Sheriff Cormier had remained undiscovered because he was well-respected amongst the community and succeeded in keeping crime rates low. However, that same corruption amongst local and state law enforcement was well established, and Sheriff Edwards was similarly well-respected with many people confident in his ability to bring the perpetrator to justice.
The Murder of Whitnei Dubois (May 2007)

Just two months after the discovery of Lopez, another young woman would go missing. 26-year-old Whitnei Dubois was last seen by her mother on the evening of 10 May 2007, and just two days later her nude body was found under unknown circumstances by Jamie Trahan, a known police informant. Unlike the others victims, her body was discovered abandoned along a rural road, however much like the other young women, she had some connection to prostitution and drugs before her death. According to the autopsy, Dubois' face was beaten so severely, she was unrecognisable, and once again the remains were too badly decomposed to determine the cause of death. Witnesses came forward claiming that on the night of her death, Dubois went to the home of Frankie Richard on McKinley Street. Mike Dubois, the brother of the victim has alleged he was told by his associate Harvey Lee "Bird Dog" Burleigh, that he was "close to finding out who killed your sister". Burleigh, a known peddler of prescription drugs, was present along with Lopez and others during the shooting death of Leonard Crochet back in April 2005, which occurred at his residence at 610 Gallup Street.

Whitnei Dubois

There was some confusion over the circumstances in which the body of Dubois had been found. Chad Richard, who was the brother-in-law of Jamie Trahan, the man who discovered the body, claims that during the previous evening he along with Trahan were driving along highway 102, near Bobby Road where Richard noticed a body laying by the side of the road. When he pointed this out to Trahan, he claims his brother-in-law denied it was a body, telling him it was a dear. As they continued on their journey, the two men argued about what they had saw. Chad Richard said that after this Trahan went back to the body, contacted law enforcement and told them he had just found it. Trahan was a known associate of Frankie Richard, and allegedly did work for him in return for drugs. Chad Richard believes Trahan placed the body where it was discovered, accusations which Trahan denies. Trahan explained that he did not realise it was the body of a young woman until later, and could not contact police because of drugs he had in the rear of his truck. Trahan admitted at one point in his life he used to be "an animal and a monster", but denied killing Whitnei Dubois, claiming he didn't even know her. He would claim that Frankie Richard already knew the body was dumped where it was found, telling Trahan, "I know everything".
Two months after the murder of Kristen Gary Lopez, police made an arrest in the case. Frankie Richard was arrested on 14 May 2007, in connection with the death of Lopez and a suspectred rape that had occurred earlier that day. Richard had known Lopez, and was known as "Uncle Frankie" to the girls he often pimped out. Tracee Chaisson, the cousin of victim Loretta Chaisson Lewis, had given police a statement which led to Richard's arrest. The following day, Richard's niece, 22-year-old Hannah Connor was arrested in connection with Lopez' murder. Connor was a childhood friend of Lopez, and had known the other murdered girls. Chaisson herself was also arrested several days later, and she was facing Accessory after the Fact charges, because she was the person who reported Lopez as missing, and police suspected she knew the location of the body when she made the report. Many residents breathed a sigh of relief that someone had finally been arrested for involvement in one of the murders. At that stage Richard was not connected to any of the other previous murders, however after several weeks of questioning, both Richard and Connor were released from police custody without charge, due to conflicting statements given by Tracee Chaisson to investigators.

Richard and Connor

The release of Richard and Connor happened very quietly, with no press release reporting the circumstances of why the charges were dropped. According to Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Michael Cassidy, the Lopez case lacked physical evidence and was supported by the statement of only one witness. Cassidy added that the investigation fell apart when the witness changed her story, no once, but four times. Cassidy said, "Her credibility... I'm not going to say diminished. It was gone." Charges were eventually dropped against Tracee Chaisson due to a lack of evidence and confusion over her conflicting statements. Richard also beat the charges for the suspected 14 May 2007 rape allegation made against him and associate Eugene "Dog" Ivory by Elizabeth Clemens. According to case files, Richard allegedly told the victim, "If you tell anyone, bitch, you will end up like the others." Richard would later claim the police had a vendetta against him, and would do anything to get his to leave town. Journalist Scott Lewis said "even if we didn't know at this point how these murders were connected, it was very clear that all the players, there were definite concrete connections between all of them."
On 26 July 2007, 51-year-old Harvey Burleigh was found dead at his apartment on Jefferson Street, killed by multiple stab wounds. There have been unconfirmed rumours that his killer, known as "Viper", was believed to have fled to Mexico and later committed suicide in Texas. Like those of the young women, the murder of Harvey Burleigh would ultimately go unsolved, attributed to the on-going drug gang related feuds in the area. Both Burleigh and Lopez were present during the murder of Leonard Crochet, who was killed by a Jennings police officer during a raid on Burleigh's home. It was later revealed that Jared Sauble, a police informant, had tipped off the police because Crochet had allegedly refused to traffic Jenning's PD drugs. It was clear to many that the police in Jefferson Davis Parish were somehow involved in the murders, but few would voice these concerns openly without definitive evidence. The families of the murdered women became frustrated at the lack progress in the police investigation, but many still had confidence in Sheriff Ricky Edwards. The rumours of police corruption would continue, and towards the end of 2007, new information would come to light which seemed to implicate the police in atleast one of the murders, as well as police association with known criminals.
Corruption within the Jefferson Davis Parish Police Department (October 2007-December 2007)

On 9 October 2007, a former female inmate at the Jefferson Davis Jail and her husband sued the Jefferson Davis Sheriff's Office. Those named in the complaint included Sheriff Ricky Edwards, Warden Guillory of the Jeff Davis Parish Jail, jail guard Mark Ivory and District Attorney Michael Cassidy. The woman, Lisa Allen and her husband Dana, were held in the Jennings Jail from December 2005 until February 2006 on charges of non sufficient fund checks. The complaint alleged that Lisa Allen was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by guard Mark Ivory. The victim claims she sent written complaints to the warden, Terrie Guillory, numerous times and also spoke with the warden in person. But she contends that the matter wasn't taken care of and that Mark Ivory continued to sexually harrass her just days before she left the jail. "It should never have happened," Allen told KPLC. Sheriff Ricky Edwards told KPLC, "It is very surprising that I did not know about it at the time, but I won't go into any specifics at this time, but we are going to let the state police handle the investigation and cooperate with them fully." DNA testing seemed to confirm the complainants claims were truthful and the litigation was later settled, whilst Mark Ivory had previously committed suicide on 3 October 2007. Nina Ravey, the nurse practitioner who handed in the rape report was subsequently arrested for falsifying medical documents, and some believe she was railroaded for her actions.
In December 2007, Jennings police officer Jesse Ewing received word that two female inmates had requested to speak with him personally, and wanted to provide information on the four Jefferson Davis Parish Murders. On 8 December 2007, Officer Ewing conducted interviews with the two women at the Parish Jail, and was alarmed at the consistency between their statements. Both women alleged there had been a cover-up involving a high ranking law enforcement officer, or elected parish official and Ewing was hesitant in reporting the information within his department, or to his superior. He decided to turn over the confidential information to his friend and private investigator, Kirk Menard. Menard would later explain that although some of the information provided was third hand, the women knew enough details about the crimes and crime scenes which had not been released to the public. On 10 December 2007, Menard turned the information over to the Louisiana Attorney General's office and the FBI.
Meanwhile, one of the female inmates Ewing had interviewed made accusations of sexual misconduct against him. Under questioning, Ewing had admitted that the inmate had pulled up her shirt in a suggestive manner during the interview, but he continued to question her regardless. Several cellmates of the accuser claimed the accusations were fabricated, and that they had heard her plotting with another inmate against officer Ewing. He was arrested on 19 December 2007, and accused of obstruction of justice and malfeasance in office, as well as improper sexual conduct with an inmate. Ewing was held on $50,000 bond and placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. He would eventually be fired from the police department, and faced a Grand Jury which could have seen him face up to 15 years in prison on felony charges. Ewing was eventually cleared on two of the charges, Obstruction of Justice and Malfeasance in Office, Sexual Conduct Prohibited, but was found guilty of Mealfeasance in Office and sentenced to 6 months in jail. The Judge suspended his sentence in lieu of Ewing being placed on 6 months supervised probation, fined him $250 in court costs, ordering him to perform 16 hours community service and he was required to attend a refresher course at a law enforcement academy. Ewing later served as an officer with the Gueydan Police Department.
The tape recordings of the interviews conducted by officer Ewing with the two female inmates revealed even more startling claims. The first inmate spoke about the night Witnei Dubois died, in May 2007. She made claims that a prostitute named Tracee Chaisson, the same woman who made claims to Jennings detectives about the murder of Kristen Gary Lopez, had told her she was there the night that Dubois was murdered by Frankie Richard and his niece Hannah Connor. The inmate said Chaisson had told her they had all been getting high, and when Dubois refused Richard's sexual advances, he "got aggressive, he started fighting with her, and when she started fighting back he got on top of her and start punching her." The inmate then claimed Chaisson said that Hannah Connor held her head back and drowned her. The account was impossible for verify, not least because it was third-hand, and from a witness who had previously given law enforcement conflicting accounts of Lopez's murder, however it was a similar account given by Chaisson, who had information on two of the murders and connected the same suspect to both.
Lopez was perhaps the most vulnerable of the victims so far. At the age of 21, she was physically awkward, with a wide forehead, outsized ears, and a thin nose, and suffered from an intellectual disability, receving supplemental security income checks every month. Growing up in Jennings she participated in Special Olympics events in Baton Rouge. She considered Richard a father figure, and often referred to him as "Uncle Frankie", and was often seen wandering near his home wearing her Tweety Bird pajama pants and flip flops. Richard would later admit he spent a significant portion of the last two weeks of Lopez life with her and Tracee Chaisson. The trio often partied at a rented motel room, but he eventually threw them out after suspecting they were stealing from him. Richard later said, "Kristen come give me a hug and said, 'Uncle Frankie, you don't want me back at your room'", to which he replied, "No, because you don't have no respect, you want to steal everything". According to Richard, he never saw her again.
Chaisson had told a similar story to investigators, but in her second interrogation she broke down in tears describing what she then said she saw; that Richard and Connor had, during another drug fuelled night, killed Lopez in a fit of rage, beating her severely by a levee near the Petitjean Canal, which was situated on the outskirts of Jennings, and then drowned her. This confession was corroborated by the fact that Lopez body had been recovered floating in the canal, and this is what led to the arrests of Richard and Connor. The second inmate corroborated Chaisson's story, claiming that Hannah Connor had confessed her part in the murder whilst high on crack. The informant said Richard had put Lopez' body "in a barrel", and used a truck to transport it. This truck was the same one later purchased by an officer named Mr. Warren, who bought it to discard the evidence. The first inmate also spoke of Lopez body in a truck, and an officer by the name of Warren. A transcript of the interview with the informant revealed the reason for purchasing the truck.
Officer Ewing - "So you're saying that this officer knew about the DNA?"
Female Informant - "Yes Sir"
Officer Ewing - "Did he know about the killing?"
Female Informant - "Yes sir, because him and Frankie Richard were good friends..."
Officer Ewing - "What did Hannah tell you about the officer?"
Female Informant - "That him and her Uncle Frankie are good friends and that he bought the truck so that the evidence wouldn't come back to her Uncle Frankie. He discarded it. He cleaned the truck at the car wash."
Officer Ewing - "Who cleaned it at the car wash?"
Female Informant - "Officer Warren"
Officer Ewing - "What car wash did he clean it at?"
Female Informant - "Ray's"
The women's testimony alleged that the Chief Investigator with the Sheriff's office, Warren Gary had purchased a White Chevy Silverado truck from Connie Siler, a female inmate at the time and known associate of Frankie Richard. It was suspected by police that the truck had been rented out to two black males in exchange for cocaine and later abandoned in a private driveway. Detective Gary bought the vehicle from Siler on 27 May 2007, for $7,000 or $8,000, had it washed and then resold it for approximately $15,000 to the ex-wife of a state trooper in Lake Charles, making a significant profit. Upon her release, Connie Siler moved back to California. It was alleged that Gary had conspired with Frankie Richard to destroy physical evidence in the murder of Kristen Gary Lopez, at the behest of Richard. Lopez had been seen by witnesses being driven in the vehicle the night she disappeared, and the truck had allegedly been used to transport the body after she was murdered. This would have meant the truck had contained significant DNA evidence relating to the murder of Lopez. When questioned about this piece of evidence, Sheriff Ricky Edwards said the vehicle had been tested in California and met with negative results. "What (Gary) did with that was wrong," said Sheriff Edwards, "Buying from an inmate, that's what was ethically wrong". However he insisted that his office. "had no clue that (the truck) was even part of the evidence (in the Lopez murder case). That didn't come out until after the fact." According to police reports, Siler was one of the last people to see Lopez alive. Warren Gary was fined $10,000 by the Louisiana Board of Ethics, but was cleared of any criminal charges. He was then promoted within the department and became head of the evidence room at the Sheriff's office.

Warren Gary

The Murder of Laconia "Muggy" Brown (May 2008)

On 26 May 2008, 23-year-old Laconia Shontel "Muggy" Brown left her grandmother's house, saying she was going to a friend's to have some gumbo and would be home sometime before midnight. She never returned and this was the last time she was seen alive by her family. On 29 May, the partially nude body of a young woman was found around 3:00am by Jennings Sheriff's Deputy Mike Janise who was out on patrol. The body was located in the middle of a rural gravel pathway on East Racca Road, near the city's shooting range. She had multiple head wounds and her throat had been slashed. It also appeared the body had been covered in bleach and kept in storage for some time prior to being dumped. The family of Brown said she knew the other girls who had been murdered, and in the months and weeks before she went missing, Laconia had become paranoid that she would become the next victim. Her grandmother Bessie Brown described her as "a very nice and sweet person, who loved her family and her child". She also said that before her death Laconia had fallen in with the wrong crowd and began to smoke crack. Brown was the cousin of Lawrence Nixon, one of the two men who was arrested and later released in connection with the murder of Ernestine Patterson. In August 2008, Nixon was arrested for possession of stolen property.

Laconia Brown

Brown's family questioned the circumstances of her discovery, querying why a Jennings Sheriff's Deputy would be out on a rural road at 3 0'clock in the morning. In response, Jennings Police Commander Ramby Cormier said it would not be uncommon for officer Janise to be in the area as it was part of his regular patrol. The family were told by detectives from the Sheriff's department they would not be allowed to identify the remains, because her body was too decomposed. Kindra Brown, the victims sister claims she was told the body was found wrapped up in red carpet, however she also said, "when they picked her body up some of her flesh was on the ground and birds were eating my sisters face." She adds, "something strange, something they no telling us." Local media were now reporting that there was no doubt that this latest murder was somehow connected to the previous deaths. Many locals became scared over the inability of the police to catch the culprit, and people were locking their doors and keeping their children inside. Some residents armed themselves and went in search of the murderer, trying to catch what they believed was a serial killer on the loose.
When questioned by the media about the claims that a serial killer was responsible for the crimes, Sheriff Ricky Edwards did not commit to that theory, but instead said the authorities were dealing with a "serial dumper". Sheriff Edwards said during an interview with the media, "that each one of these ladies did not deserve to die, contrary to what some of the rumours and speculation are out there, and we're going to do everything in our part as far as my office and as far as this team to bring those responsible to justice for these ladies." Journalist Scott Lewis commented on Sheriff Edwards, "Now you gotta keep in mind, as sheriff Ricky Edwards is a beloved figure in Jefferson Davis Parish. There was always people who didn't agree with what he was doing, but those were definitely in a minority. This guy wins his elections outright everytime. He's a well known man in the community, church goer, family man, he's got ten kids, he know's everybody, he knows your momma, he knows your brother. And in Louisiana, the Sheriff is basically the king of his own fiefdom. There's nobody he reports to, he's basically got the call on how he wants to run his department. The Buck stops with the sheriff."

Ricky Edwards

The Murder of Crystal "Shay" Benoit Zeno (August 2008)

On 29 August 2008, a sixth young woman was reported missing in Jefferson Davis Parish. 24-year-old Crystal "Shay" Benoit Zeno was last seen alive using a payphone at the Phillips 66 gas station. It was later established that Benoit Zero was using the phone to contact Jennings Law Enforcement officer Terrie Guillory, however it is unclear what the content of this call was. She was then seen by witnesses climbing into a car driven by known associates of Frankie Richard, referred to as his "hands on men". It wasn't until 11 September when her badly decomposed body was discovered by a hunter on the side of the road of a dry canal in the woods off LaCour Road. According to Jennings Police Commander Cormier, by the time authorities found her body there were only skeletal remains found and Benoit Zeno had to be identified through DNA. The victim was a friend of the previously murdered women, and her cousin Sarah Benoit claimed, "they all got high together. They all hung out together and they all ran together." Shortly before her death, Zeno had told her cousin she was "slinging dope" for a local dealer in town, but never named names. Crystal, who had a young daughter, had apparently tried several times to tell Law Enforcement that she knew who was killings the girls, and had been beaten by three unknown black men for doing so.

Crystal Benoit Zeno

Several days after the body of Benoit Zeno was found, a tip was called into the Parish District Attorney's Office from a 43-year-old Lafayette man by the name of Russell Carrier. Carrier, who was the sister of Barbara Deshotel, had said that whilst smoking crack he observed three African-American men leaving the wooded area on the morning the body had been discovered. The three men were identified as Eugene "Dog" Ivory, Ervin "Tyson" Mount and Ricardo "Tiger" Williams, all of whom were known associates of Frankie Richard, and known as his "hands on men". Ervin Mount was also considered a possible suspect in the murder of Kristen Gary Lopez. It is not known if these claims were investigated by Jennings law enforcement, and several years later, on 10 October 2010, Carrier was struck and killed by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Jennings under unknown circumstances. Police Chief D'Albor said that, "for whatever reason", Carrier had simply laid down on the tracks and was killed by the oncoming train. Numerous witnesses in the case had met with untimely deaths. Harvey Burleigh was killed inside his own home, having told a victim's brother he was close to finding out who the killer was. It seemed anyone who got close to the truth of who was behind the murders ended up dead. It has been suggested that the only reason Tracee Chaisson remained alive was because she recanted all her confessions and statements relating to the murder of victims Kristen Gary Lopez and Whitnei Dubois.
The Murder of Brittney Gary (November 2008)

Several months later a seventh young woman vanished. 17-year-old Brittney Gary had recently returned from Texas with her mother Teresa Gary, along with her sister and brother. Gary was best friends with murder victim Laconia "Muggy" Brown who had been found the previous May. She was last seen on 2 November by her mother and other witnesses at a house at 610 Andrews Street, when she returned a jacket she had lent to it's owner. When she left, Gary went to a Family Dollar Store, which was across the street from the Phillips 66 Gas Station, where she purchased minutes for her cellphone at around 5:00pm. Her mother later said the trip should have only taken about 30 minutes and as soon as she didn't return her mothers call, she knew something was wrong. When she was reported missing the next day, police checked the surveillance tapes at the store, which revealed her leaving and heading in the direction of the gas station. Investigators were unable to view the surveillance footage from the Phillips 66 because all of the cameras were not working that Sunday. Sheriff Ricky Edwards discounts the idea that Gary's disappearance is in anyway connected to the previous murders, despite Teresa Gary's insistence that her daughter knew the murdered women. Sheriff Edwards refused to form a search party for the missing teenager, because he stated to the media that he believed she led a high-risk lifestyle of prostitution and drugs.

Brittney Gary

The Gary family were unhappy with this and a search party was formed by the missing girl's uncle, Butch Gary, which searched primarily in areas where previous victims bodies had been found. On the evening of 8/9 November, Private Investigator Kirk Menard was on preventative patrol with an associate on LaCour Road in the early morning hours when they observed what they believed to be a dark coloured pick-up truck. The truck's headlights were turned off and when the driver noticed Menard's vehicle, they quickly sped away. Witnesses also reported seeing a police patrol car in the area that same night, near Racca Road. On 15 November 2008, the body of 17-year-old Brittney Gary was discovered hidden, laying on her side in high weeds just off Keystone Road by a member of Butch Gary's search party. The remains were officially identified through tattoos the victim had, however it was also stated there was significant decomposition and according to reports, it appeared the body had most likely been cleaned with bleach and then stored in a cooler for several days, much like the body of Laconia Brown. Unconfirmed media reports indicated that Gary had been beaten to death. At 17, she was the youngest victim so far, and was a cousin of previous victim Kristen Gary Lopez.
The Multi-Agency Investigative Task-Force (November 2008)

In response to this latest killing, Sheriff Edwards announced the formation of a multi-agency investigative task-force, made up of local, state and federal authorities, in an attempt to solve the case. An initial reward of $35,000 for information leading to the perpetrators arrest was increased to $85,000. The focus of the investigation was now on identifying and apprehending a lone suspect responsible for all of seven of the murders, and Edwards publicly stated they were looking for a suspected serial killer. Edwards commented to the media, "this area is not a remote, remote area, the person that's involved in this is somebody that drives the roads of this community day in and day out. Their in the gas stations, they frequented the same places these ladies frequented, and they are mixing in... this is not a green-eyed monster that we're looking at." Sheriff Edwards assumed control of the task-force, and journalist Scott Lewis said, "The FBI was there to assist, the State Police were there to assist, but it was made very clear that Ricky Edwards and the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Department were at the head of this task-force, they were in charge." Lewis added, "They had about a quarter of a million budget to work on it." The task-force set-up a tip line for members of the public to call in any information about the murders and to report any suspects in the case. Despite this, many people who called the task-force with information complained their tips were never followed up or detectives from the police department were not interested in what they had to say. Lewis said, "I heard that a lot from people who were trying to give information."
At a press conference held by Sheriff Edwards, members of the victim's families vented their frustration at the lack of communication between themselves and the sheriff's office. Some of the families said they had not been questioned at all in relation to the murder of their loved ones. Many residents of the south-side of the city were now convinced there had been some type of conspiracy by law enforcement to cover-up the crimes and protect those responsible for the deaths. Edwards would repeatedly deny any wrongdoing by his department, and said, "there's a lot of people want to say cover up and all of this. I have never nor will I ever, as I don't believe any Sheriff in this state would cover up any wrongdoing in our offices." He would also say later, "None of us are above the law, nor do we want to be". Gary's mother referred to Sheriff Edwards as a "piece of shit", calling into question his investigation into the deaths.
Once again there were rumours that Frankie Richard was somehow involved in the death of Brittney, however her mother believes that is too convenient and that he was accused of many wrongdoings in Jennings that he had no part in. Sheriff Edwards said about Richard, "His name keeps coming up in every single one of em', sometimes it's from the streets and so forth, and so forth. We have interviewed Frankie... uh, nobody has been ruled out we keep everybody in." Richard himself denied any involvement in the deaths, and referred to Gary saying, "what possibly could that baby have done to deserve that... i mean any of them girls," he also added "and no, I did not have nothing to do with that one either." It was been speculated that the truck seen by Kirk Menard was the killer attempting to dispose of the remains of Brittney Gary. The victim had been involved in the same circles as many of the other victims, including drugs and prostitution.
Drug-related crimes continued to occur in Jennings, many with links to the victims. On 27 November, Thanksgiving Day, a man was shot and killed in a drug related dispute. James Anderson was shot and killed by Akeen Brown, the cousin of victim Laconia "Muggy" Brown, who was shooting at a known drug dealer and missed. A known crack-house at 610 Andrews Street was raided by law enforcement in April 2009. The property was frequented by many prostitutes, who felt safe at the residence. Another raid at 710 Gallup Street, the same street where Leonard Crochet had been shot and killed in April 2005, was raided by Jennings police who found $3,000 worth of marijuana, 682 Ecstacy pills and $500 worth of crack cocaine. The following month, Frankie Richard was observed by witnesses at 610 Andrew Street, and Acadia police were seen at the same property on two separate occasions.
On 21 May 2009, police arrested Gregory Benoit, which subsequently led to the arrest of 53-year-old Frankie Richard, his 39-year-old sister Tabitha Crochet, nephew Billy Connor Jr. and his 73-year-old mother Jeanette LeBlanc. That same morning Paula Guillory, a task-force member and ex-wife of Jeff Davis Parish Jail Warden Terrie Guillory, was seen at Richard's house by a witness at around 9:30am. By 28 May, investigators swarmed Richard's property and searched a trailer in the backyard, which was owned by his brother Billy Connor Sr. Between 1-7 July, Richard, Crochet and LeBlanc are all arrested on charges of burglary. This was part of a sprawling investigation into a drugs and theft ring, operated by Frankie Richard and his family in which guns, jewellery and rare coins were stolen from residences across Jennings and then sold off at a place known as "Chad's Pawn Shop". A raid on Frankie's mothers house resulted in the seizure of numerous items believed to be stolen. However, Crochet was released on 8 July, LeBlanc on 7 August and finally Richard on 11 August, with all the charges dropped due to lack of evidence.
Two days later, task-force member Paula Guillory is fired because of missing evidence related to the burglary charges against Richard, his sister and mother. It was alleged that when Guillory handed over evidence, almost $4,000 was missing and this contributed to the collapse of the case under the weight of serious law enforcement misconduct. Despite his release, the rumours of Richard's involvement in the murders continued. Shortly after the murder of Whitnei Dubois and before she and her family left for Texas, Brittney Gary had allegedly gone to the home of the victim's sister and stood in her yard and yelled, "You know Uncle Frankie killed your sister!." An anonymous witness observed Sheriff Ricky Edwards backed into a cane field off LaCour Road on 1 August, and was allegedly seen talking to a known drug dealer said to be Frankie Richard. Richard's association with Jennings Law Enforcement had already been well established and it was rumoured he was in possession of a key to the office space where the assigned task-force met to investigate the murders, of which Paula Guillory was a member.
The Murder of Necole Guillory (August 2009)

Whilst the task-force investigated the spate of murders over the previous four years, another young woman would go missing. 26-year-old Necole Guillory was last seen alive on 16 August 2009, getting into a red truck at Tina's Lounge in Jennings. She was reported missing by her family three days later when workers weed-eating grass between the Interstate-10 embankment and nearby treeline discovered a badly decomposed body at 2:30pm. The body was located near Egan in Arcadia Parish between milepost #73 and #74, and the victim was almost nude, except for a white blouse with her lower half exposed. The next day the body is positively identified as that of Necole Guillory. The cause of death was ruled as asphyxiation, the young woman had been strangled. Barbara Guillory, the victim's mother said her family found out her daughter's remains had been identified after the Arcadia Parish Coroner's Office had already released the information to the media. The body had apparently been identified through tattoos, dental records and fingerprints rather than calling the family to identify her. Barbara Guillory also claimed the family were never able to see Necole's remains, because the funeral home "told us that it would be better if we didn't see her the way she was." When she persisted, she was told by the funeral home it wouldn't be possible.

Necole Guillory

Much like some of the previous victims, Necole was paranoid during the last few weeks of her life, and claimed shortly before her death that she could be a potential victim. When her mother asked her what kind of icing she wanted on for her birthday cake, she replied, "Mama, It doesn't matter. I am not going to be here to see my birthday." Barbara Guillory believes her daughter was murdered because she was witness to local law enforcement corruption, misconduct or worse. "She used to tell us all the time it was the police killing the girls", Barbara said. "We'd say, Necole, a name. Something. Write a letter and leave it somehwere. Let us know. We can help you." Necole would reply, "No momma. It's too far gone. It's too big. I'd rather y'all not know nothing, that way nothing can happen to y'all". Her mother claims, "She knew, she knew, she knew, and that's why they killed her." Necole had become involved with drugs and the sex trade, and knew many of the women who previously turned up dead. All had suffered through poverty and mental illness, and all had been hustling Jenning's south side for drugs and sex when they vanished. Incidentally, most if not all of the women had worked at one time or another as informants for the Jennings police. The rumours of involvement by local law enforcement continued and Sheriff Edwards ordered that every investigator working the Jeff Davis 8 case must be swabbed for DNA in response to the accusations against law enforcement. The Sheriff's office refused to comment on the results of the DNA testing, and the task-force investigation raised the reward and continued to look for a lone suspect.
In early 2010, the New York Times published a long feature on the murders, which described "fury at the possibility that a serial killer might be loose". Two years later, Ricky Edwards did not win a sixth term in office and subsequently lost his position as Sheriff of Jefferson Davis Parish. His successor, Ivy Woods, had made promises that he fully intended on re-opening the investigation with a clearer perspective with the hopes of catching the killer or killers of the young women. Sheriff Woods acknowledged to a local media station about the sale of the truck to Chief Investigator Warren Gary, calling it particularly unfortunate. "That's one of those awkward points within the previous department, the sheriff's department, that happened." He said, "That's one thing I can't say much about because I'm not aware of it, what all happened. And then that's where the distrust started." A witness, Michael Prudhomme, came forward and told the task-force that he was approached about helping clean the blood from the Silverado truck bought by Officer Warren Gary, however nothing further came from this development.
The Investigation of Ethan Brown (2011-2014)

In January 2014, Investigative journalist Ethan Brown posted his findings online from a 3-year thorough investigation he had conducted into the Jennings murders. His investigation was presented in a 2019 five-part documentary titled "Murder in the Bayou". Brown found there were numerous suspects in the case, meaning the liklihood of a serial killer responsible for the murders highly unlikely. Brown also uncovered that the investigation was botched, with the Sheriff's office losing and misplacing evidence, not following up on reports and most alarmingly it seemed the possibility that officers were actively involved in covering up the crimes. The victims knew each other well, as Brown explains, "typically in a serial killer case the victims would not know one another, in this case the Jeff Davis 8 had myriad connections." His investigation found that several of the murdered women were questioned in relation to the murders of their friends. Victim #5 Laconia Brown was questioned over the murder of Ernestine Patterson, victim #2. It was suspected, in a report, that Laconia Brown also saw the body of Loretta Chaisson Lewis, victim #1, before it was discovered by Jerry Jackson, and that detectives investigating Lewis' murder also questioned Kristen Gary Lopez, victim #3, about her death. Brown states that Crystal "Shay" Benoit Zeno allegedly told Brittney Gary that she knew who killed Laconia "Muggy" Brown, and that Necole Guillory knew who had committed the murders from the very beginning.
All of these women had a strong connection with Frankie Richard, and it is believed he pimped them out and otherwise exploited them in the sex for drugs trade. It was know that at the height of the murders Richard had a trailer situated on the Racca Road, an area where people would go to do drugs, where he would go with many women, including the victims and there they would party and do drugs. When asked by Brown what drugs he did, Richard contemplated for a moment then replied, "every fucking thing I could put my hands on." At that time, during the early 2000's, Richard was also dealing drugs. Chad Richard had spent time at a rehab centre with Frankie Richard, and he claims in "Murder in the Bayou", that when he and Richard were alone in the laundry room he confessed to him of having murdered Whitnei Dubois. Richard said, "Frankie did confess to killing Whitnei Dubois. He said he had beaten and killed Whitnei at his ma's house, in a camper trailer on the side, where his brother Billy used to stay. And that he had placed her in a 55 gallon drum behind his momma's house." Chad Richard also said, "And he also confessed to killing Kristen. He never went into detail of what took place with Kristen. I didn't get into details with him, I just listened to what he would speak of. Frankie wasn't a person you pushed for answers." Chad Richard claims he told the authorities about what he was told, but no action was taken. Frankie Richard has denied any knowledge or participation in the murders of the Jeff Davis 8, but believes they were killed because they knew something. Richard said, "These girls... lost their lives because they seen something, heard something, knew something... that they were not suppose to know."

Frankie Richard

Beverly Crochet, who's drug-dealer brother Leonard Crochet was unarmed when killed during a police raid, said the murders, "started right after" an agent shot and killed Leonard in April 2005. She told Brown, "I could tell you more, but I'm scared. I'm scared for my own life." Frankie Richard would later admit to Brown that he had some idea the Crochet killing was connected to the murdered women, telling him, "Most of them girls was at a raid... when that Crochet boy got killed. Most of the girls that are dead today were there that night." Brown had been in constant contact with Richard during his journalistic investigation of the case, and Richard described himself to Brown as a self-proclaimed "dope addict, a coke head, meth head, alcoholic, no-good sonofabitch". Brown said that Richard had "a knack for explaining away bad facts and constructing theories on alternative suspects." One such individual Richard proposed was deceased Sheriff's Deputy Danny Barry, who he described as Richard's favourite suspect. "All these girls or most of these girls was found within a three-mile radius of Danny Barry's house," Richard told him. "Since he been dead, nobody died. All these motherfuckers on the sheriff's department are some crooked sons of bitches."
Sheriff's Deputy Delton "Danny" Barry had worked as a jailer at the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail, and was known to abuse the the inmates there. One former inmate, Chad Richard, said that Barry would use mace on inmates "for no reason... just to be an ass", whilst they were locked in their cells. It was reported by witnesses that Barry and his wife Natalie would often enlist girls to come to their home to smoke drugs and have sex. They were also seen by numerous witnesses picking up sex workers in their vehicle and taking them back to Danny's trailer outside Jennings. They had been allegedly been doing this over the span of several years, and according to Brown, Barry was said to have what was described as a "sex dungeon" in his trailer, where he kept chains and other BDSM paraphernalia. Some of the prostitutes taken there were kept against their will by Barry, who used his position within the police to ensure they never went to the authorities. A witness came forward to allege that victim Brittney Gary was last seen getting into a light blue sports car driven by Barry on the night she was last seen alive. According to Brown, 63-year-old Barry, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office, had been named as a suspect by at least three seperate task-force witnesses during a single day of interrogations in November 2008. Barry was only ever interviewed once by the task-force, on 25 February 2009, and which lasted around 15-20 minutes. Barry denied any knowledge of the murder and claimed he didn't even know Brittney Gary. He was not questioned at length about any of the allegations against him, and there was never any follow-up investigation. Barry died in 2010, a year after the last victim, Necole Guillory's body was found.

Delton Barry

When he looked into the police reports, Brown noticed the same names continually cropped up, those of Danny Barry, his boss Terrie Guillory and Warren Gary. Terrie Guillory was the Warden at the Jeff Davis Parish Jail, and a cousin of the last victim Necole Guillory. He was known to all of the women who had turned up dead, and many around town saw him as someone who could help if they ever got in trouble with the law. Guillory was known to make "trades" with the women of Jennings, making legal problems go away in exchange for information or other favours. Many witnesses reported how Guillory was engaged in sexual relations with the women of the jail, including the first victim Loretta Chaisson Lewis. It was reported to Brown that Guillory turned up at the home of Barbara Deshotel, a friend of Loretta, on the morning her body was discovered asking if anyone had seen her. The family of Crystal "Shay" Beniot Zeno told Brown that Terrie Guillory turned up at the family home and said that he had nothing to do with her death. Regarding this incident, no-one asked Guillory if he had murdered Benoit Zeno, or prompted him to state it by accusing him. The family of Benoit Zeno strongly believe that Terrie Guillory was somehow involved in the murder of Crystal.
He was also accused by witnesses of having tricked out female inmates, including his own cousin Necole Guillory. Nick Chaisson, brother of the first victim Loretta, said of Guillory, "He was always a friend of the family, from when I was a kid growing up he'd always taken care of us." Kids in the neighbourhood called Guillory "Uncle Terrie" and was considered a role model for the youngsters who wanted join the police when they grew up. Brown said, "Terrie knew most, if not all of the Jeff Davis 8. He was even connected by blood to victim number eight, Necole Guillory." Necole's family claimed that Guillory made sexual advances towards Necole, saying they weren't close cousins. Both Guillory and his ex-wife were seen by witnesses socialising at the Richard family home on McKinley Street. Richard described his relationship with Terrie Guillory as, "I've known Terrie Guillory all his life. I always felt like he was somewhat a friend... not the type of friend that I would go beat somebody up with or go rob somebody with. But anytime Terrie Guillory came to a house, where I was, it was to conduct police business"
During his investigation, Brown was contacted by a reporter who introduced himself as an expert on the Klu Klux Klan, and who had been working on a story about a Klan informant in Jefferson Davis Parish who was also a police officer. The reporter told Brown that the police officer had a lot of information on Terrie Guillory. Brown then got in contact with the informant named Raymond Mott, who was a police officer with the Lake Arthur Police Department and worked under Guillory. When he worked as a narcotics officer, Mott alleged that when dealing with informants, they would raise Guillory's name 80% of the time when asked to provide information on a dirty cop. Soon Mott and Guillory began to clash and Guillory called on the Lake Arthur police chief to have Mott fired.
A picture had surfaced of Mott attending a Klan rally, and he was subsequently fired from his position. Mott admitted he did attend the Klan rally at North Carolina in protest at illegal-immigration, however when he returned home he had misgivings. Mott claims he compiled all the information on the Lousiana charter of the KKK, and submitted it to the FBI. As a result, the Louisiana Klan, also known as the Loyal White Knights, withered away and it's members did not show up at any rallies after the North Carolina meeting and all recruitment was halted. Mott claims the Klan meeting was used against him when he raised very serious claims against Terrie Guillory. Mott claims Guillory told him repeatedly to stop undertaking drug busts in the local areas and when he refused, the KKK photo surfaced. Mott says this was the real reason he was fired. Mott also revealed what Guillory told him about the murders, "he said man I could tell you things about that case that would blow you away. There wasn't just one killer, there were several different people." Acting on this information, Mott compiled a police report of what he was told and submitted it, however Guillory was in charge of checking the reports so no further action was taken.
Guillory's ex-wife, Paula, who was a task-force member, was seen talking to Teresa Gary, the mother of victim Brittney Gary on the corner of Andrew & Baker Streets, according to a witness. She was later seen at Frankie Richard's house the morning of his arrest for burglary on 21 May 2009. Paula Guillory denied these accusations and claimed that she never went to Richard's home. Brown said that according to Kirk Menard, Paula Guillory was the person who recruited all of the Jeff Davis 8 as informants. But Guillory would deny this, telling Brown, "I've never had a female informant." Female informants have been used by Jennings police in the past. On 14 February 1998, Sheila Comeaux, who was working as a wired informant, was brutally beaten by three black men on S. Main Street, allegedly because she had gone to the wrong drug house. In the police files, both Loretta Chaisson and her cousin Tracee Chaisson were named as witnesses, who allegedly pulled Comeaux out out a vehicle to be beaten. She eventually died on 19 March 1999 from the wounds inflicted. Her daughter, Lakesha Myers believes her mothers death was connected to the subsequent murders of the Jeff Davis 8.
On 13 August 2009, Paula Guillory was fired from her position because of mishandling evidence, namely $4,000, relating to the arrests of Frankie Richard and his family members. Guillory denied having stolen or disposing of evidence in the case, and told Brown she only realised the money was missing when she was cataloguing the evidence from the raid and immediately contacted her superiors. At that time Warren Gary had been promoted within the department and became custodian of the evidence room at the Sheriff's office, and helped catalogue the evidence. Brown comments in Murder in Bayou, "There were eight dead women, no justice for any of those women and investigations into Frankie unravelling due to law enforcement misconduct. It forces you to ask what was Frankie's relationship with law enforcement..." Brown adds, "witnesses who went to the task-force with information about Frankie Richard, and information about the Jeff Davis 8 homicides, came away from that meeting and said they were told by the task-force don't worry about Frankie Richard... Frankie Richard works for us." Terrie Guillory has never been charged in connection with any crimes or allegations that he entered into sexual relations with Loretta Chaisson Lewis whilst she was incarcerated in the Jefferson Davis Parish jail, and he continues to serve in law enforcement.
It appeared most of the victims had some association with law enforcement officials, and in turn law enforcement had strong connections to criminal elements in Jennings. Warren Gary had also been observed by witnesses in April 2009, going into the home of Hannah and Billy Connor, family members of Frankie Richard. Detective Gary was suspected of having links to Richard, and was believed to be involved in removing a key piece of evidence in the murder of Kristen Gary Lopez, namely the White Chevy Silverado he bought from Connie Siler. The truck would have been damning evidence against Richard and his involvement in the murder, however it was cleaned thoroughly of DNA at a car wash and no evidence was subsequently found. Tracee Chaisson, who had approached law enforcement with allegations against Richard, would later recant all her confessions, and when questioned about the truck with blood inside, Chaisson denied any knowledge except that the vehicle was sold to a Jennings police officer. Corruption within the police department was evident at all levels. Former Jennings Police Chief Johnny Lassiter was arrested in January 2013 and charged with malfeasance in office. Lassiter was in charge of the evidence room and had been suspected in the theft of $4,000 in cash, more than 1,800 pills, marijuana and codeine which were missing from the evidence room. He was one of only two people who had keys for the evidence room.
During his investigation, Brown noticed from the reports that a particular address continued to show up on highway 26, right off of Interstate-10. When he searched he found the address was for a shuttered motel called the Boudreaux Inn, from where Frankie Richard operated his alleged prostitution ring. Brown described it during the time of the murders as "the place in town to go for sex and drugs". The second victim, Ernestine Patterson had worked at the Boudreaux Inn as a maid, and the first victim Loretta Chaisson Lewis often hung out at the motel where she turned tricks and hussled drugs. When searching the police files for instances where officers were called to the motel, Brown came across literally thousands of pages of material on the Inn. Despite the police presence, the Inn continued to operate regardless and without interference, and somehow the establishment managed to maintain both it's gambling and liquor licenses. Each of the victims were linked to the activities of the Boudreaux Inn. When he looked more closely, Brown found other names associated with the dilapidated motel, including one individual who went by the name Big G.
Amongst Jennings residents, Big G. was known as the "poker man", who would visit the Inn on Wednesdays and would clean out the poker machines and collect the money. He was described as a big heavy-set man who could pull his weight if he wanted to and was not a friendly man. Brown discovered that G. stood for Guillory and when he delved further and found the lease for the Boudreaux Inn, he came across the name Martin Guillory. Brown spoke with Guillory over the phone, and asked him about his association with the motel. Guillory lived east of Jennings in deep Cajun country, and ran for local political offices and was involved in some small campaigns. When Brown asked Guillory about allegations of criminal activity at the Boudreaux Inn and if he was aware of such crimes being committed, Guillory responded no to all the accusations, but did admit that he met one or two of the victims but denied knowing the others.
In the documentary, Brown describes how Richard would often call him during his investigation into the murders, and one time Richard asked him, "hey, do you know about Charles Boustany?, you need to investigate him." Boustany was a congressman in Brown's home state of Louisiana, who was running as a candidate for the United States Senate in 2016. Brown describes Boustany as, "a conservative politician, a family value sort of politician, values that would be in conflict with the sort of things that were going on at the Boudreaux Inn." Martin Guillory confirmed he was associated with Boustany and his political campaign but denied Boustany had ever been to the Boudreaux Inn, or that he had any association with the women of the Jeff Davis 8. "Why would that man deal with any of the women at the Boudreaux Inn?", asked Guillory. Shortly after this Guillory threatened legal action if he persisted and abruptly ended the phonecall with Brown.
As Brown researched further, he discovered that Martin Guillory had a phone number from Capitol Hill and he worked as a field representative for congressman Charles Boustany. "What was Charles Boustany's relationship with the Boudreaux Inn and the women of the Jeff Davis 8?", Brown queried. An acquaintance of Necole Guillory remembers she pointed out Boustany's image from a yard sign and said he was someone she knew from the motel. Jessica Kratzer also alleges that Kristen Gary Lopez mentioned Boustany by name, alleging that she had sex with him and he paid her, after which they had an argument. Kratzer did not know what the two were arguing about.
Frankie Richard recounted how victim Loretta Chaisson Lewis was one of Boustany's favourite girls. When the media learned of the connection through Brown's book, they ran the story about a potential prostitution scandal in the Louisiana Senate race. Boustany responded to the allegations, calling it politically motivated. When questioned about Martin Guillory's involvement with running the Boudreaux Inn and his work within Boustany's campaign, Boustany claimed that he only just discovered the connection and said Guillory offered his resignation. Boustany subsequently sued Ethan Brown for defamation in 2016, because of the allegations he made in his book, Murder in the Bayou and when he lost the Senate race, Boustany voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit. Boustany has stated that he only ever visited the Boudreaux Inn on one occasion during a townhall meeting and he never returned. As stated in the documentary, he denied having any association with the victims of the Jeff Davis 8 case, calling the allegations "completely, unequivocally false", and "categorically denied" them. He has never been connected or charged with any of the crimes relating to the Jeff Davis 8 murder investigation, and expressed his sympathy for the families and friends of the victims.
Brown believes that although Boustany might not be involved in the murders, his association with the case does mean that there is yet another layer of power involved that would prevent the crimes from being solved. Sheriff Ivy Woods, the newly elected Sheriff of Jeff Davis Parish, who made solving the murder case one of the top priorities if he was elected, has not responded to any of the recent findings of Brown's investigation. Jennings Police Commander Ramby Cormier has said that all eight cases are still being actively investigated, and that Frankie Richard remains a person of interest. During the documentary Richard undertook a lie detector test, being asked about his involvement in the crimes, the results of which were inconclusive. Brown said of his findings, "My investigation raises a number of very real questions about the prevailing serial-killer theory of these murders, and it also indicates that local law enforcement is a hindrance, not a help, to a resolution being reached. Whatever the truth, these eight women, and their surviving families, deserve a fresh inquiry by an outside investigative body." There have been no further arrests during the investigation and the murders of the eight women in Jefferson Davis Parish remain unsolved.

Written by Nucleus