The same week true crime docu-series “Murder In The Bayou” premiered, Frankie Richard—a man authorities have said is a person of interest in the case—was once again behind bars.
Richard was arrested in an unrelated case on charges linked to narcotics possession and soliciting prostitution, according to local station KLFY.
The former strip club owner and suspected pimp and drug dealer in Jennings, Louisiana where the murder victims lived, was arrested at his home in Morse, Louisiana and taken to the Acadia Parish jail, KATC reports.
Morse Police received a call Sept. 11 saying that Richard was using heroin and had gone into convulsions inside his home, according to an arrest affadavit obtained by Oxygen.com. After arriving at the home, officers allegedly found a meth pipe and torch along with other drugs including crack cocaine, oxycodone, methamphetamine and Xanax.
A woman at the home also reported that Richard was her pimp and told officers that Richard had given her two Roxicodone pills in exchange for sex with men, the report said.
"She stated that Frankie would pimp her out for money," the affadavit said.
Law enforcement authorities have said Richard is a person of interest in murders of eight women, whose bodies were found in drainage canals and along rural backroads, but Richard has never been formally charged with any of the murders which are known collectively as the “Jeff Davis 8” or “Jennings 8.”
The victims included Loretta Lewis, Ernestine Daniels Patterson, Kristen Gary Lopez, Whitnei Dubois, Laconia “Muggy” Brown, Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, Brittney Gary and Necole Guillory.
Richard reportedly knew all eight women—who were said to be involved in drugs and prostitution—but has always maintained that he had nothing to do with the murders.
“I did not have anything to do with any of them girls’ death,” he said during the docu-series. “These girls lost their lives because they seen something, heard something knew something that they were not supposed to know.”
A Fixture In The Jennings “Underworld”
Richard has been a notorious figure in the Jennings’ “underworld” for decades, according to Ethan Brown who is an executive producer on the Showtime series and wrote an earlier book on the crimes.
Richard once owned a trucking company and then had a strip club before settling into a more unorthodox occupation.
“My most memorable way of making a living was selling pussy,” Richard admits in the series. “We sold pussy any and every f---ing way we could.”
But Richard shied away from the “pimp” label.
“I did not pimp them girls,” he said. “I introduced them to older men that wanted to spend some money on a young gal. I am making sure they are getting their money, making sure they are not getting hurt.”
However, many of the women who allegedly worked for Richard did get hurt—ending up dead along desolate areas of the small community of about 11,000.
“Frankie Richard was somebody who was known to associate with known prostitutes in the area, was known to be involved in the drug world in the Jennings area and also had a violent past,” Commander Ramby Cormier of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office said in “Murder in the Bayou.”
His niece and goddaughter Hannah Conner described her uncle as a “bad a—back in his day.”
“Uncle Frankie was like the guy you didn’t mess with,” she said in the series. “You know, he took care of business.”
Chad Richard recalled how nearly three decades ago, Frankie used to bring the strippers he had working for him back to his home and “brag” about how he would “trick them out for dope.”
“Frankie took pleasure in telling you the stories of things that he did to the people he did it to,” he said. “There is no remorse in Frankie.”
Jefferson Parish Chief Deputy Chris Ivey also said in “Murder in the Bayou” that Frankie Richard had been involved in “harming people if they needed to be harmed” and had frequent run-ins with law enforcement over the years.
Connection To The Victims
Frankie Richard’s name is repeatedly brought up by those in the town throughout the series—many of whom confirmed a connection between Richard and many of the victims.
“Basically Kristen, Loretta, Whitnei, they all hung around with Frankie,” Jessica Kratzer, a friend of multiple victims, said. “Frankie sold drugs. If they couldn’t get it from somebody, they got it from him.”
According to the series, Richard was even arrested at one point—along with Conner—for the murder of third victim Kristen Gary Lopez, 21, but the charges were dropped just a short time later.
“Poor little Kristen, I was not there. Did not have nothing to do with her death and if I was there, it wouldn’t have happened. Not without it happening to me too,” he said in the series.
According to Conner, the pair were taken in by authorities after a witness had claimed that Lopez was killed while riding around in a truck with Conner and Richard.
However, in a statement from Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office to the “Dr. Oz” show, the sheriff’s office said Richard was never arrested for the death of Lopez and was jailed instead on a rape charge that was later dropped by the district attorney.
“You apparently received bad information from the fiction novel by Ethan Brown,” they wrote.
They did, however, confirm that Richard remains a person of interest in the murders.
“Frankie Richard is still a person of interest in these investigations, we have not ruled him out of any of the cases,” they said.
Chad Chaisson said he last saw his sister Loretta at a local gas station shortly before she disappeared and claims he saw her getting into a car with Richard.
“Loretta never talked bad about Frankie when she got into the car with Frankie, she was happy with Frankie,” he said.
Her body would be discovered in a drainage canal a short time later on May 20, 2005.
Dubois body would be found in the middle of the road by Jamie Trahan—a local drug user who Chad Richard said used to do occasional jobs for Frankie Richard.
Other murders had possible connections to known associates of Richard’s, but at least one of the families has questioned whether Frankie Richard was really involved in her daughter’s death.
“It was said that Frankie Richard killed Brittney, had something to do with it,” Teresa Gary said in the docu-series. “Frankie Richard got a lot of blame in Jennings, Louisiana for a lot of things that happened and took place that he had no part of. It was convenient.”
Frankie Richard Today
Despite his current legal troubles—which are not said to be connected to the unsolved murders—Frankie Richard remains a part of the community.
“To this day, he’s still a free man. You still see him around town,” Loretta’s brother Nick Chaisson said in the series.
Frankie Richard has repeatedly denied any involvement with the killings and said that the women killed were his friends.
“Those girls was my friends, and I would never do nothing to hurt ‘em,” he said.
A deputy from Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed to Oxygen.com that Richard remains in custody.
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