~ Art Imitating Life?? ~

Ethan’s article is definitely making the rounds and has generated a great deal of interest to other journalists.  Below are links to two recent articles that discuss possible parallels with the new HBO series True Detective (which I have not watched yet).

From the New York Observer:  Did the Jeff Davis 8 Inspire True Detective?

The similarities between this high-profile case and the otherwise overly-complicated weirdness of True Detective is no coincidence. Creator and sole writer Nic Pizzolatto grew up 30 minutes away from Jennings in Lake Charles, LA, where the cases were covered extensively by local media.

From uproxx.com:  ‘True Detective,’ The Jeff Davis 8, And The 5 Horsemen Theory

Earlier this month, Medium published a very lengthy, fascinating, and engrossing piece by Ethan Brown on the Jeff Davis 8, the unsolved murders from 1995 to 2010 of 8 women from Jeff Davis Parish, crimes that have long been connected to a serial killer. Before the piece, there was some suggestion that Nic Pizzolatto had perhaps gotten inspiration for True Detective from the Jeff Davis 8, and as a huge twist emerged in the narrative of the real-life case, the connection it has to True Detective has picked up more steam.

~Ethan Brown – The Jefferson Davis 8 Documents ~

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’smulti-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.

Read more at link.

~ Ethan Brown – The Jefferson Davis 8 Documents ~

By:  Ethan Brown in The Jeff Davis 8 Killings

My Investigation Into the Jeff Davis 8 Murders

A look at the documents that informed the story

Through numerous records requests under Louisiana’s Public Records Act to the Louisiana State Police, the Jefferson Davis Parish District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jennings Police Department, I received thousands of pages of records ranging Sheriff’s Office incident reports and personnel files to District Attorney case files. Excerpts are now available here.

More at link.

~ Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8? ~

Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?

Article by:  Author and Investigative Journalist, Ethan Brown

A serial killer has allegedly been preying on Louisiana prostitutes. But a new investigation reveals a far scarier theory.

Over the past two years, I have obtained and reviewed hundreds of pages of task force witness interviews, the homicide case files on several of the victims, the Jeff Davis Parish sheriff’s office’s and Jeff Davis Parish district attorney’s files on all of the victims, federal and state court records, and the complete personnel files of the cops and sheriff’s deputies at the center of the case. I have interviewed friends and family of all of eight victims, as well as some of the possible suspects.

The details of the Jeff Davis 8 case can be murky; the connections between victims, suspects, and police tangled. My investigation, however, casts serious doubt on the theory that the Jeff Davis 8 is the work of a serial killer.

One fact is clear: local law enforcement is far too steeped in misconduct and corruption—and this extends to the task force, which is dominated by detectives and deputies from the sheriff’s office—to run an investigation with the integrity that the murdered women and their families deserve after nearly a decade in which no one has been brought to justice.

Read article in it’s entirety here.

~ Jennings 8: Unsolved Murders Haunt Town, Police ~

Jennings 8: Unsolved murders haunt town, police

wwltv.com
Special Investigation
Posted on January 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM
Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 9:15 AM

In south central Louisiana, in a small town on the edge of Cajun country, a string of eight young women were murdered between 2005 and 2009.

They all knew each other. Some were related by blood, others shared apartments; they frequented the same bars and low-rent motels. They used – and abused – drugs together.

And one-by-one, they all became murder victims.

Their killings have gained national notoriety, often portrayed as the work of a serial killer. But police documents obtained by WWL-TV suggest a very different – and potentially more sinister – theory: that police somehow were involved in the killings.

A wide range of circumstances have fueled the rumors that police have blood on their hands, whether with a direct hand in the violence or by covering up the horrible acts of others.

The speculation starts with one basic fact shared by the victims. Each of the murders remains unsolved.

Given the violent nature of the murders and the hasty manner in which the bodies were dumped, the lack of progress in solving the cases seems suspicious to many local residents.

Read entire article at WWLTV.  Video included at that link.

~ Former Jennings Police Chief Accused Of Stealing From Evidence Room (Updated) ~

Johnny Lassiter

Recent updates:

11/14/13 Former Jennings police chief pleads guilty to malfeasance in office (American Press)

A former Jennings police chief pleaded guilty Thursday in district court to two counts of malfeasance stemming from the theft of drugs and money from the Police Department’s evidence room.

Lassiter was arrested in January after a state police audit found that drugs and money were missing from the Police Department’s evidence room.

District Attorney Michael Cassidy said $4,000 in cash, more than 1,800 pills, marijuana and codeine were missing from the evidence room.

“Only two people had keys to the evidence room — Mr. Lassiter and Chief Todd D’Albor.

Lassiter admitted taking the pills and tampering with evidence, Cassidy said.  His actions may have affected nearly 72 criminal cases, he said.

9/18/13 Court date reset for former Jennings police chief (American Press)

Johnny Lassiter, 52, was to appear Monday in 31st Judicial Court, but the trial was reset for 10:30 a.m. Nov. 14. Lassiter remains in an out-of-parish rehab facility undergoing treatment, District Attorney Michael Cassidy said.

He was arrested in January on theft and malfeasance charges after an audit of the department’s evidence room found that several items, including drugs, were missing.

Lassiter pleaded guilty to theft over $1,500, malfeasance in office and obstruction of justice charges in March. A charge of injuring public records has been dismissed.

He resigned as a police officer on Jan. 8, just three days before his arrest.

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Former Jennings Police Chief, Johnny Lassiter, has been arrested and is being held on a $100,00 bond at the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center “for safety reasons”.

News Release – Region
Troop D
January 11, 2013

Former Jennings Police Officer Arrested

Jennings – Earlier this month, the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations assisted the Jennings Police Department with an audit of their evidence room. Our assistance was requested in order to have an independent agency present in order to ensure the integrity of the process after discrepancies were discovered by the Jennings Police Department.

During the processing of the evidence, it was determined that items were missing. A joint criminal investigation conducted by State Police and Jennings Police Department investigators revealed that 52-year-old Johnny Lassiter had taken items from the evidence room.

Lassiter had been employed as a police officer by the Jennings Police Department until his resignation on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.

On January 11, 2013, Troopers arrested Lassiter for theft over $1,500, malfeasance in office, obstruction of justice, and injuring public records. Lassiter was booked into the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail then transferred to the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Center for safety reasons.

Lassiter is being held on a $100,000 bond. The investigation is continuing.

LINKS:
http://www.katc.com/news/former-jennings-police-chief-accused-of-stealing-from-evidence-room/

http://www.americanpress.com/Former-Jennings-officer-facing-numerous-charges

http://www.kplctv.com/story/20568391/former-jennings-police-officer-arrested

http://www.kplctv.com/story/13005930/jennings-police-chief-reportedly-stepping-down

http://www.kplctv.com/story/13017717/jennings-police-chief-takes-voluntary-demotion

http://www.kplctv.com/story/11737933/police-investigator-swabbed-for-dna-in-jeff-davis-case

http://www.kplctv.com/story/10927506/deputy-fired-over-missing-funds

~ BRUTAL BAYOU ~

(Update 3/4/12:  Episode can be viewed here)

The JDP 8 unsolved female murders will be featured on Investigation Discovery’s new series, Dark Minds on Wednesday, February 29th, 10pm (check local listing for correct time zone).  The episode is titled BRUTAL BAYOU and below is the synopsis of the upcoming program:

Jennings, Louisiana is the largest city in Jefferson Davis Parish, about halfway between Houston and New Orleans. Around 11,000 people call this quiet rural town home, and nearly a third of the population lives below the poverty line. Continue reading

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