The Jefferson Davis 8 Documents

From 2005 to 2009, eight women—all mired in the local sex and drug trade—were murdered in southwestern Louisiana. A federal-state-and-local taskforce has pursued a theory that this is the handiwork of a serial killer, and all the killings remain unsolved. But Ethan Brown’s multi-year investigation has raised serious doubts about such a theory and about the conduct and possible involvement of local law enforcement. Here are some of his case files.

Dateline Expose

In early 1997, Dateline ran an hour-long expose on illegal traffic stops by sheriff’s deputies from Jeff Davis Parish and nearby Calcasieu Parish.

When confronted on camera by Dateline producers, Sheriff Edwards defiantly backed up his deputies. “Are you insinuating that we are targeting out-of-state people?” Edwards asked. “I can only tell you that we are not.”

The Dateline expose garnered huge ratings—it was watched by an estimated 12.7 million households—and it created a national embarrassment for not only Jeff Davis Parish but the entire state of Louisiana. Then Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Blanco estimated that negative publicity generated by Dateline could cost the state $150 million in tourism revenue.

Delouche case
A copy of a civil rights complaint filed by eight female Jennings police officers in federal court against then Jennings Police Chief Donald “Lucky” Delouche and the City of Jennings itself. The female officers alleged widespread misconduct at the Jennings PD ranging from lewd jokes to rape to then-chief DeLouche videotaping a female officer pierce her nipples.
Warren Gary Ruling
The findings of the Louisiana Ethics Board in its investigation into Warren Gary, former Chief Criminal Investigator for the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office. On March 30, 2007 Gary purchased a Chevy Silverado from Connie Silar, a prostitute who tricked with Jeff Davis 8 suspect Frankie Richard. The truck purchase came amidst an investigation into the murder of Jeff Davis 8 victim Kristen Lopez, in which law enforcement suspected that Silar and Richard had been among the last few people to see Lopez alive and that Silar’s truck was used to transport the victim’s body. After buying the vehicle, Gary sold it for nearly twice its purchase price. Law enforcement witnesses later came forward and claimed that Gary purchased the truck, cleaned it, and sold it at the behest of Richard in order to purge it of physical evidence in the Lopez homicide.
Associated Press article on the death of Russell Carrier
An Associated Press article on the suspicious death of a 43-year-old Lafayette man named Russell Carrier. In 2008, Carrier had told law enforcement that he had seen three men exiting the woods where Jeff Davis 8 victim Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno was found. On October 10, 2010, Carrier was struck and killed by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Train in Jennings. Police Chief Todd D’Albor said that “for whatever reason” Carrier simply laid on the tracks and was run over.
Kirk Menard Email
An email from Kirk Menard, a Jennings-based private investigator working the Jeff Davis 8 case, to the taskforce in which Menard says that a high-ranking taskforce investigator told two witnesses “do not worry about Frankie because Frankie works for me.”
Lassiter Arrest News Release
A Louisiana State Police news release detailing former Jennings Police Chief Johnny Lassiter’s January of 2013 arrest on charges of theft, malfeasance, obstruction of justice, injuring public records relating to evidence—including thousands of dollars in narcotics and cash—missing from the evidence room.
Crochet Witness Statements
On April 20, 2005, Kristen Lopez, who would become the third Jeff Davis 8 victim, witnessed the shooting death of an unarmed Jennings drug dealer named Leonard Crochet by a Louisiana Probation and Parole agent during a botched raid on a drug house. Lopez was later questioned and filled out a witness information sheet. Another witness to the killing of Crochet that night was Harvey “Bird Dog” Burleigh, who, like Lopez, was slain in 2007. His murder, too, remains unsolved.
Dallas Cormier Federal Indictment
Local article detailing Dallas Cormier’s guilty plea to obstruction of justice. In exchange, feds dropped 35 other charges, including using tax money to buy trucks and guns for himsel. Hedllater sought a pardon so he could hunt.
Ernestine Murder Investigation
The murder investigation of the second victim, Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson. Laconia “Muggy” Brown (the fifth victim) was interrogated by detective Danny Semmes; that interview is included here.
Kristen Gary Lopez Investigation
Notes from the autopsy of victim Kristen Gary Lopez. Her nude body was covered with “horseshoe-shaped puncture wounds consistent with the frontal jaws of aligators.”
Loretta Chaisson JDSO Reports
An August 3, 2001 incident report from the Sheriff’s Office detailing a complaint from the Boudreaux Inn about the first Jeff Davis 8 victim Loretta Lewis. Nearly all of the Jeff Davis 8 tricked at the Boudreaux Inn in Jennings and here the owners of the inn accused Lewis of trespass, because she had been banned from the premises.
Lassiter Incident Report
A police report detailing an incident in Lassiter’s office, where he reportedly pointed a gun at Sergeant Jesse Ewing.
Paula Guillory Employment Records
Excerpts from the personnel file of Deputy Paula Guillory, who was suspended, then fired by Sheriff Ricky Edwards for missing evidence—about $3,500 in cash—seized during a 2009 raid on Frankie Richard’s family home. Guillory’s misconduct caused a theft case against Richard to collapse.