Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge ‘Serial Killer[s]?’ Update

Wess Haubrich

That headline is strangely operative on two, fully separate fronts.

What the hell is happening in the Louisiana capitol?

A simple answer: simply mass hysteria combined with one – allegedly real – murdering psychopath.

What is False

Law enforcement wants to set the record straight.

Some patently false information has been circulating about a suspected serial killer after two women were found in or near the Mississippi River. Posts circulating here and here allege, “Serial killer in Baton Rouge. Police say he bumps women’s cars and then when you pull over pulls a gun and tells you to get in his car. 3 women have been found in the Mississippi river.”

These cases are not connected. In March of this year, Raemel Richardson was found in the river. It is believed she was shot in a domestic dispute with her boyfriend who has since been arrested.

The second was of a college student at LSU named Kori Gauthier, who was found in the river on April 13. Investigators found “no criminal activity or foul play” in her case.

These Facebook posts are the products of mass hysteria. As humans tend to do, we look for connections and meaning, even where nothing of the sort exists. Let’s honor the dead by not messing with the true account of their final days and hours. Please don’t share the false posts.
Bruce Cofield, alleged first victim of Kenneth

What is True

The third case is one the author has already reported upon here – that of 27-year-old Kenneth Gleason.

You may remember Gleason (a white man) as the suspect who allegedly fired three 9mm rounds into the house of the only black family on his quiet corner of Baton Rouge in September of 2017. According to the state of Louisiana, he also brutally slew two black men on the streets of the capital, both with different brands of 9mm fired from the same weapon and shell casings that had his DNA on them.

The state, for whatever reason, during Gleason’s trial has really rammed home the idea of him being a “serial killer”. The author made the case in his original piece that if the state is to be believed, Gleason would be a spree killer. Not a serial killer. A ‘serial killer in the making’? Perhaps. One now? No.

The Nazi Connection

Gleason’s Google search history may offer a glimpse into his motive if indeed he is guilty of these crimes.

Special Agent Jeff Methvin of the FBI testified that Gleason had searched for “genocide,” “white nationalism”, and “gun silencers” that September 2017. He also allegedly ordered a silencer that never arrived.

Gleason is accused of murdering Bruce Cofield on the night of September 12, 2017. The morning of the 13th, the prosecution showed that his Google searches included, “best Nazi generals”, “The Most Dangerous Game” (a short story by Richard Connell and film about hunting humans for sport, the Zodiac Killer hinted at it being his favorite in his notorious 408 cipher), and “preliminary hearing” (obviously relating to criminal law).

Gleason’s last alleged victim, Donald Smart, was gunned down the night of September 14 as he walked to work at a local café. The next morning, Gleason allegedly searched two local news sites for stories on the crime and googled the Zodiac Killer and serial killers.

On September 16, 2017, Gleason searched Louisiana’s license plate laws, how to obtain a fake plate and the criminal penalty for not having a plate. A witness has testified to seeing Gleason remove the plate from his red Ford Focus and duct tape over the vehicle’s identifying marks, all in the parking lot of a local security company.
Donald Smart, alleged second victim of Kenneth

For the Defense

It is important to note – as the state did before Special Agent Methvin was allowed to testify – that the state does not have to prove motive as it relates to the charge of Murder in the First Degree. They nevertheless have a right to do so.

Lawyers for Gleason argued that his searches were irrelevant and would only prejudice the jury. They also pointed out that these were not all his searches for the period. Special Agent Methvin agreed with the defense that Gleason’s search history was “very, very eclectic” and “vast in scope” including everything from saints to painters too.

The state countered, saying, "The timing of these searches is very important."

Watch this space for more on Gleason’s trial as it progresses.

If you can, give to the Donald Smart Memorial GoFundMe page here.

Journalist and dogged student of all things forensic, Wess Haubrich, examines the nitty, gritty details you didn’t know about famous (and not so famous but equally weird) crimes and their unseen motivations. Thanks for reading!

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Former editor, now dogged-maverick journalist and researcher covering the crime beat. I examine the weird, absurd, and downright infamous in American crime both here and at Real Monsters podcast. Contact:


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