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Jennings Serial Killer – More to Come

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

To all that are coming here looking for more information on the Jennings, Louisiana area serial killer and the seven victims - including Brittany Gary whose body was found on Saturday - please take note.

I have noticed that the information on this case and the victims has been very sparse, but is now (finally) growing since the discovery of Brittany's body.  Still, I have had to seek out numerous articles, sources, and sites to get information on the serial killer and the women whose lives have been so needlessly lost.

Due to this, I am putting together a post which will include all of the information that I have gathered so far.  Instead of going to a bevy of places to piece info together, it is my hope that people can come here - to one place - and get the information they are looking for.

In the interim, please take note that the family of Brittany Gary has had to set up a funeral fund to help cover the expenses of her burial.  Information, from the article Funeral fund account set up for Jennings girl, from The Daily Advertiser is as follows:

Gary's uncle Butch Gary said the family does not have insurance and no way to pay for a funeral. Donations can be made at The Bank in Jennings, 337-824-0033. Donations can also be made directly to Matthew & Son Funeral Home, 337-824-4420.

Please contribute what you can so that Brittany can be allowed some peace, and her family can grieve without the stress and worry of how they are going to give that to her.

Also, some of you have come here looking for photos of the victims.  The article, Jefferson Davis officials wonder if they have serial killer, at The Town Talk has photos of all victims except for young Brittany Gary.

Please keep checking back; I hope to have my full report done later today or tomorrow.

Louisiana’s Next Serial Killer

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The shadowy figure that had authorities stumped and local women emptying stores shelves of mace in 2003 is the man we all now know as serial killer Derrick Todd Lee.  To live in southern Louisiana at the time and be a woman was to live in fear.  People across the nation watched as Louisiana attempted, and repeatedly bungled, its attempts to find the killer. The unnamed terror eventually came to have a face after Lee's arrest in May 2003.  With it brought the more startling revelation that we'd had reason to fear for far longer; Lee had been on a murderous rampage for years - his first (officially recognized) victim was Randi Mebruer, who was murdered in 1998.  It would not be until 2002, with the deaths of Gina Green, Geralyn DeSoto, and Murray Pace before the rash of brutal deaths were linked to one person and the authorities began a manhunt for a serial killer.

Not long after Lee's arrest, and with much less fanfare, Sean Vincent Gillis, was arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for multiple murders.  Evidence and his own confession linked him to at least eight slayings; the first being 82 year-old Ann Bryan in 1994.

Between 1994 and 2003 there were two serial killers on the loose in southern Louisiana.  More frightening than this actuality is the fact that the fifteen murders attributed to these two men account for only a small percentage of the unsolved murders of women in the area.

Crime profiler John Philpin, in his piece Red Stick by the Numbers: The Baton Rouge Serial Murders, states:

In the decade of the nineties, the Baton Rouge area recorded thirty-plus unsolved cases of missing and/or murdered women. In the first two-and-one-half years of this decade, there have already been thirty-plus.

If the numbers are reduced by those cases which demonstrate no similarities to the official five [Author's Note - "official five" meaning the cases initially linked to Lee by DNA evidence], instead of sixty-plus victims, the total for the thirteen-and-one-half years is between thirty and forty.

Putting the monsters known as Derrick Todd Lee and Sean Vincent Gillis behinds bars has not - unfortunately - stemmed the tide of women being killed in southern Louisiana; nor the capture of their killers.  In the late 90's and early 00's there were apparently two men going about the business of being serial killers; all to the ignorance of the general public.  We had no reason to fear or be on extra alert - as we were during the "hunt" for the Baton Rouge Serial Killer.  The probability of being watched, stalked, and especially taken was not - to our knowledge - any more than it ever was.  We were ignorant to the sinister evil that lived around and among us, and that ignorance cost many women their lives.

Simply because Lee and Gillis are off the streets does not mean we should ever let our guard down.  There are still unsolved murders not attributed to either of them, and there is much evidence that they were not - are not - the only murderers living in the surrounding areas.  Just as one example:  It is common, local knowledge that the murder of numerous black prostitutes in Baton Rouge's rundown "Mall City" area has been going on for years now.  No one has been arrested for the slayings.

Sadly, such an ugly truth is being brought to light again.

The story of a young girl who has been missing since November 2 from Jennings, Louisiana reveals much more than just her disappearance.  It is believed that 17 year-old Brittany Ann Gary may have become the latest victim of Louisiana's next realized serial killer.

Over the past three years, it has been revealed, the bodies of six women have been recovered in and around the area.  Brittany knew most of them, was friends with one, and the cousin of another; a fact that authorities believe may have made her a viable target.

It began on May 20, 2005 when the body of 28 year-old Loretta Lynn Chaisson was found in a canal.  Ernestine Marie Daniel Patterson, 29, was found 6 miles away in another canal just seventeen days later.  The cases remained cold until the bodies of Kristen Gary Lopez, 21, and Whitnei Charlene Dubois, 26, were found in March and May, respectively, in 2007.  In May of this year, Laconia Shontel Brown, 23, was found on a rural road in Jennings and the decomposed body of Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 23, was found on September 11 in Jefferson Davis Parish.

While I hope and pray for Brittany and her family that she will be found alive and well, it is hard not to assume the worst.

It would appear that Louisiana has ferreted out another serial killer from its apparently endless supply.  Let us hope the efforts to catch this bastard can come to a positive resolution before any other women have to die needlessly.

Crime in Baton Rouge

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

I wrote this piece last week and wasn't going to post it because, seriously, who cares about the crime in Baton Rouge?

Then a terrible thing happened at the Wal-Mart I used to visit at least once a week - a man getting arrested for shoplifting got the gun away from the police officer, a 51-year old woman, and shot and killed her. He also shot two people who were trying to help her, one of them a security guard. He then ran outside, carjacked someone outside and got away. He turned himself in just recently.

I can't tell you how many times I and my friends have shopped in this particular Wal-Mart late at nite, and all times of the day. It's not in the best neighborhood, but it isn't necessarily in a bad one either. I recognize the police woman - she was always there. After hearing about this, I thought my piece just might be relevant after all:

What in the hell is wrong with Baton Rouge? As if this fuckass sorry-excuse-for-a-city wasn't already visually ugly and full of ignorant, old-fashioned, horrible-driving asshats it now has to be one of the most unsafe places to live in the country.

Unknown to many people, Baton Rouge has pretty much always had a higher crime rate, per capita, than the sinfully renowned New Orleans. It doesn't appear to be improving.

As many of you are likely aware, last year found southern Louisiana gripped in fear and panic over a shadowy serial killer. The nameless monster we now know as Derrick Todd Lee was captured May 27, 2003 and the rest of the world soon forgot about Louisiana and its serial killer troubles.

It was a different story for the residents of my home state. Though two other murdered women were linked to Lee via DNA, bringing his total killed to seven, there were still too many unsolved murders floating around for anyone to be comfortable. What hasn't made the national headlines is that last month, April 28, 2004, Sean Vincent Gillis was arrested for the murder of eight other women in southern Louisiana. Looking at the timeline of the murders, this means that from 1994 up until February of this year, with the death of Donna Bennett Johnson, there were two serial killers on the loose and on the prowl.

All you can think at this point is, "That's the two they've found!" There are still unsolved murders that can't be linked to either of these men. If there can be two sickos out there at one time killing innocent people, why can't there be more? Louisiana is getting quite the reputation for churning out lesser life forms.

Everyone remembers the Washington Sniper, John Allen Muhammed. But does everyone remember where the Washington Sniper was from? That's right, Baton Rouge - born and raised. In an amazingly small number of years Louisiana, namely Baton Rouge, has managed to churn out three serial killers.

That's a lot of really sick people hailing from one location. Yet the number of serial killings is nothing compared to the simple old meat-and-potatoes murder that happens every day in Baton Rouge. Yes, every day in Baton Rouge someone gets shot. Every day. Just last week a co-workers' teen brother was killed in a drive-by; he was standing on his porch.

You might be reading this and thinking, "That's no big deal. It's a city - that's what it's like in every city." But this is Baton Rouge, people - it isn't like any other city at all. This is not New York or Chicago with miles and miles of concrete jungle and corporate skyscrapers. Baton Rouge's tallest building, its State Capitol, only has 34 floors. Public transportation is a joke for the fact that the city is so wide and sparse there are parts that buses just don't go to. I call Baton Rouge a "suburban city"; it is a fitting moniker. The people here have a small-town mentality, and if it weren't for the mighty Mississip flowing right through this place, it'd be a horrible choice for a state capitol. There's nothing showy or big or fancy about Baton Rouge. It's a big town with a bigger-than-itself title. The fact that crime is as rampant here as in the streets of New Orleans (which is much more a "real" city), or other real cities like New York or Washington D.C., frightens me.

Louisiana is second in the nation when it comes to stupid kids. No, let's be blunt here. We don't give a rats ass about education in this state - if we did, then we wouldn't have illiterate children graduating high school and more than half of the population now dropping out before they even reach high school. Second-to-worse. Could the influx of criminals coming out of southern Louisiana have something to do with our second-rate education system? I've got a hunch it just might.

Louisiana big-thinkers think the answer to wiping out the unlawful and murderous is to throw them in prison. Lock 'em up, and develop a life-with-no-possibility-for-parole system - that'll fix it right up. Yet it hasn't, and it won't. Louisiana prisons are full and getting fuller; low-level offenders are put back out in the street time and time again because there's just no room for them.

Perhaps it's time for a new approach. Let concentrate on our children, so that they don't grow up to be criminals. Let's stop the problem before it starts, rather than trying to put out a brushfire with a handkerchief. Creating bad apples then locking them all up when they began to rot is fruitless (forgive the pun). If we work harder at raising and educating our children, then maybe we wouldn't have so many Derrick Todd Lee's, Sean Vincent Gillis's, and John Allen Muhammed's running around.

What's the future for Baton Rouge? Who wants to raise a family in a town that produces serial killers and murderous criminals at such an alarming rate? Who wants to live in southern Louisiana at all with such people running around? What is it going to take for us to make a change for the better? When Baton Rouge is churning out two new serial killers every year, and hundreds of women have lost their lives, then will they wake up?