Nearly two decades after multiple women alleged they'd been raped and trafficked by deputies at the Jefferson Davis Parish jail in Louisiana, their claims are finally gaining national attention. The allegations are examined in a five-part true crime documentary airing now on Showtime called Murder In the Bayou. The series, based on Ethan Brown's 2016 book, examines the unsolved murders of eight young women in and around Jennings, Louisiana, which occurred from 2005 to 2009, and the corruption and injustice that has overshadowed the investigation into their deaths.
Known as the Jeff Davis 8, the slain women had a shared history of drug dependency and sex work and had spent time in the Parish jail. The last known victim, Necole Jean Guillory, was a witness in a 2002 corruption case involving a sex trafficking ring at the jail and the final episode of Murder In the Bayou shows footage of a then 19-year-old Guillory providing testimony about police misconduct. Records from that investigation show “a pattern and practice of sexual assault by guards at the Jefferson Davis Parish Jail” says Brown, who is also an executive producer of the documentary.
Guillory had expressed to her mother that she feared for her life after she and several other women accused deputies of rape. Her body was found discarded along the side of Interstate 10 in Arcadia Parish, Lousiana, in 2009. Her murder remains unsolved.
In recent years, there has been a push to codify laws that prohibit officers from having sex with someone who has been arrested or is otherwise in custody, including one passed in Louisiana in 2008. Even so, the justice system tends to favor the testimony of law enforcement officers when they're implicated in allegations of rape. On Thursday, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, two ex-NYPD officers, received just five years probation for having sex with a teenager they'd arrested, handcuffed, and detained in the back of a police van.
While the Jefferson Davis Sheriff's office later settled at least two federal lawsuits stemming from the alleged rapes at the jail, none of the deputies were charged with sexual assault and at least one is still a police officer.