~ 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

~ Documentarian Returns To Jennings ~

Article in The Advertiser about Paul Nixon’s return to Jennings:

Documentarian returns to Jennings (link no longer valid due to archiving)
Written by Amanda McElfresh
March 26, 2011

Despite the wealth of information, Nixon said he felt he needed more interviews and coverage of the town of Jennings, thus prompting the return trip.

“I’m also intrigued by the fact that the cases seem to have gone very, very cold, and we’d like to find out if apparent quiet surrounding the homicides means that people are starting to move on with their lives, or if the town is still emotionally raw underneath it all,” Nixon said via email.

In addition to filming, Nixon also hopes to organize some type of memorial or remembrance event for victims Loretta Chaisson, Ernestine Patterson, Kristen Lopez, Whitnei Dubois, “Muggy” Brown, Crystal Zeno, Brittney Gary and Guillory.

More at the link.

~ Month Of May ~

I haven’t posted anything of substance in quite a while and can’t really guarantee this post will contain any “substance”.  It’s not because I haven’t wanted to…..it’s just because there’s been absolutely nothing new to discuss.

Discussions about the murders do continue on the Murder In Jeff Davis Parish forum but all we can really do is continually re-hash what little we do know and…..we’re not even sure how much of that is accurate.  We also continue to voice our “opinions” and toss around our own theories.  Is it all for naught I often wonder?  Do any of you remember when the last “press conference” took place about these murders? Continue reading

~ Jesse Ewing – Jennings PD ~

JESSE EWING

Jesse Ewing

Louisiana State Police arrested Jennings Police Officer, Jesse Ewing, on December 19, 2007 on the following charges:

L.R.S. 14:130.1 Obstruction of Justice

L.R.S. 14:134    Malfeasance in Office

L.R.S. 14:134.1 Malfeasance in Office, Sexual Conduct Prohibited

Ewing was a veteran officer with the JPD. He was accused of obstruction of justice and malfeasance in office. The investigation centered around the mysterious deaths of four Jeff Davis Parish women. Ewing turned over privileged information in an ongoing investigation to a civilian, private investigator. He was also accused of improper sexual conduct with an inmate.

Continue reading