Jeff Davis

Jan 31, 2014 7:56 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Deputies address Jennings' 8 criticism

The Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's office is receiving criticism of its department and the way the Jennings' eight murders are being investigated.

A report on a New Orleans television station reviewed in detail the unsolved deaths. But deputies are defending themselves, and say they're more determined than ever to catch who is responsible.

Each of the unsolved murders involved women who at one time were in a high-risk life style. Because it's been so long without a break, some in the community have speculated police involvement.

"As far as I know, almost a hundred percent of the law enforcement employees in this parish have had their DNA obtained to put on file in case something was to come up with that, and any persons of interest that have come up, whether they were law enforcement or not, we've looked into them as completely as we could. And as far as we know at this time, we have no people involved in law enforcement that are persons of interest or suspects in any of these homicides," said Commander and Public Information Officer Christopher Ivey who works for the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff's office.

When the task force was formed, some of the officers involved would eventually be fired or arrested. However, not all because of work directly involved with the murders.

The former Jennings Police Chief Johnny Lassiter is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office. He tampered with money and drugs in the evidence room. In 2009, a deputy was fired for mishandling evidence as well. Additionally another deputy, Warren Gary, was fined by the ethics board for buying and selling a truck that could have had connections to one of the murders.

Ivey says a new sheriff is in town and questions that are being raised now about missteps in the investigation should be directed to officers who are no longer on the force. He says the current administration is moving forward with the goal of catching the killer.

"This is an on-going (investigation); all eight are on-going investigations that we, I can safely say, we do something on a least one of them almost every day. And we'll continue to until something breaks," said Ivey.

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