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Baton Rouge Police Chief
Pat Englade has brought out the big guns. For his four-page letter
of complaint to the producer of ABC’s "Primetime Thursday,"
Englade collaborated with FBI SACs Stephen R. Wiley and Louis M.
Reigel. At issue were the program’s characterizations of the
investigation conducted by the Multi-Agency Task Force, a spontaneously-generated
posse that charged itself with apprehending the Baton Rouge area
Featured on the program
was best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell. Cornwell’s
interest in the case developed early and brought her to Baton Rouge
on several occasions to attend rallies, research the murders, and
initiate her own investigation. She contributed $25,000 to the reward
fund, and offered support to victims’ families. In October
2002, despite her misgivings about task force politics, she urged
the public to support police in their efforts to catch the killer.
In their letter, law
enforcement’s gang of three claim "errors of fact, erroneous
conclusions and inappropriate speculation" concerning the serial
murder investigation. "These factual errors," the letter
continues, "conclusions and speculations can have a negative
impact on both the victims’ families, who already have suffered
enormous grief and uncertainty over what happened to their loved
ones, and the ability of the task force to complete its investigation,
while assuring Mr. Lee a fair trial."
With a single exception
(an issue of payment for some DNA testing), ABC stands by the "Primetime"
The letter is a throwaway,
a political last gasp, one final (we can only hope) attempt to rewrite
the history of a failed investigation. Invoking the pain of the
victims’ families is specious; the "uncertainty"
experienced by these folks was from being kept in the dark throughout
by Englade and his top-heavy task force. They failed to link homicides.
They ran with a dubious lead (the white POI), and ignored multiple
witnesses who gave them descriptions of a black man loitering at
Murray Pace’s Sharlo apartment complex on the day before and
the day of her murder. They refused to inform, or they misinformed
their public. Now they intend to justify doing and saying nothing
so that suspect Derrick Todd Lee can receive a fair trial.
Something continues to
be rotten in Red Stick.
Who are the federal signatories
on this lengthy epistle? They point out that the behavioral profile
did not specify a white man, so are they the three "most-senior
profilers" who did the work? Nope. Well then they must be special
agents in the Baton Rouge office. Sorry. Wrong again. Quantico-based
gurus? Nope. Stephen R. Wiley is an accountant by education, and
the former SAC of the criminal division in the Los Angeles office.
Louis M. Reigel, another accountant and former deputy chief financial
officer for the FBI, is SAC of the New Orleans office.
Are we witnessing a revolt
of the number crunchers, or is there some more substantive reason
for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to have a hair across its
ass about Patricia Cornwell? Well, maybe they have tired of the
ledger books, but odds are their peevishness might just have to
do with the infamous "Play-Doh" Bomb Caper.
Former FBI Agent Eugene
Bennett believed that his wife had an affair with Patricia Cornwell
in 1992, that this affair led to the dissolution of his marriage
and rendered him a prime candidate for St. Elizabeth’s. In
her defense, former FBI Agent Marguerite Bennett claimed only two
intimate meetings with the author, and indicated that her husband
had not raised the subject of lesbianism until after she announced
she wanted a divorce. Whatever the case, the Court of Appeals for
the Commonwealth of Virgina offers the following account of subsequent
"On the night of
June 23, 1996, appellant convinced Reverend Edwin Clever to meet
with him alone at Clever's church under the false pretense of wanting
to make an anonymous donation. When Clever arrived, appellant had
already gained access to the locked building and abducted the minister
at gunpoint, handcuffing his arms and legs together and placing
a pouch containing explosives around the minister's waist. [Author’s
note: This was Bennett’s expert use of "Play-Doh."]
Claiming that he was investigating a financing scam involving the
church's bank accounts, appellant threatened to harm Clever's children
unless he telephoned Mrs. Bennett and convinced her to come to the
church that night. ... Clever telephoned Mrs. Bennett at home and,
following appellant's instructions, asked her to come to the church
to assist him in handling a crisis that had arisen. Mrs. Bennett,
a member and lay counselor of the church, agreed to meet him.
"When Mrs. Bennett
entered the church, she saw appellant, who was wearing dark clothing
and a ski mask and was carrying a gun. Mrs. Bennett recognized her
husband when he ran toward her saying, "Margo, don't fight
me on this." Spraying him with pepper spray, Mrs. Bennett retreated
into an office, pulled a gun from her purse, and hid behind a desk.
"While in the office,
appellant warned Mrs. Bennett that Clever had explosives around
his waist and they would all die if she did not emerge from her
hiding place and talk with him. Mrs. Bennett refused, fearing for
her life. During the encounter, appellant repeatedly "bobbed
around the corner" of the door, aiming his gun at Mrs. Bennett
and taunting her to engage in a shootout. At one point, appellant
told Mrs. Bennett he was going to take the couple's children and
leave the country. Eventually, Mrs. Bennett was able to call 911
from the office, and appellant fled the church."
Tacky. This is not a
tale that inspires confidence in our federal constabulary. Substantive?
Hardly. But who knows what tweaks an accountant’s inner beast?
As for Englade, as noted in earlier articles, the pasture beckons.
If you missed Patricia
Cornwell’s case analysis on ABC’s "Primetime"
(most of which was filmed before the arrest of the suspect in the
case), find someone with a tape and borrow it. Cornwell’s assessment
is scathing and accurate. Oh, with one exception. The DNA test that
linked the murders of Gina Green and Murray Pace was paid for by
the state and not the county coroner.
John Philpin, 2003 All Rights Reserved -- Do not reproduce in any
form or circulate without permission.
on the Baton Rouge
Criminal Profiler and author John Philpin
Kari & Associates
PO Box 6166
Olympia, WA 98507
Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006