Ronald Dominique | Serial Killer
The Blue Bayou Serial Killer
American Serial Killer
Crime Spree: 1997–2006
Incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola
Ronald Dominique, the ‘Bayou Blue Serial Killer’ confessed to raping and killing 23 men in Southeastern Louisiana over a ten year period.
Dominique, who is gay, but adamantly denied that fact, frequented areas known for its gay bars. He would target young men who he thought would have sex for money. He would also approach homeless men or male prostitutes on the sidewalks or roadways and proposition them with lures of sex or drugs. Once alone with the men he would convince them to allow him to bind their hands. Then he would rape them and murder them, either by means of suffocation or strangulation. He would then dump the bodies in cane fields, dumpsters or remote bayous and ditches.
Ronald Joseph Dominique was born on January 9, 1964, in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He was the younger of two children. His parents were poor laborers who lived in a trailer park located on the outskirts of the city. Because of his family’s financial circumstances, Dominique lived out his childhood and adolescence in poverty. He graduated from Thibodaux High School in 1983. After leaving high school, Ronald entered the Nicholls State University, where he studied computer science. He dropped out, however, in the mid-1980’s never completing his courses.
During his school years, Ronald Dominique was known for his melancholic temperament, lack of communication skills and weight problems. These, coupled with low self-esteem and poor health, Ronald was often the target of bullying. Despite singing in the school choir, Ronald was considered an unpopular social outcast since he didn’t play sports, didn’t do drugs and did not, at that point anyway, drink alcohol.
Shortly before leaving school, Ronald discovered that he was gay and visited a local gay bar several times. However, some of his classmates had seen him there, resulting in relentless harassment, even though Dominique vehemently denied being homosexual.
On June 12, 1985, Dominique was arrested on charges of sexual harassment committed via the telephone, for which he had to pay a $75 fine. He was arrested for drunk driving in May of 1994, but was again only fined for the offense.
Because of his lack of education, Dominique was forced to engage in low-skilled labor for the following years and struggled to hold down even those jobs due to his disciplinary issues. Unwilling to keep a steady job for a long period of time, he survived by living off relatives and other people’s income, most notably his mother and older sister, living with each of them for a time.
August 25, 1996, a partially naked male youth jumped out of the window of Ronald Dominique’s sister’s residence, where Ronald was living at the time. The young man told neighbors that Dominique had raped and attempted to kill him. Dominique was arrested and his bail set at $100,000, but when the case was transferred to the court, the prosecutor’s office was unable to locate the alleged victim or establish his identity, eventually resulting in the case’s dismissal in November of that same year. Ronald Dominique walked away free.
On February 10, 2002, Dominique was arrested yet again, this time for assaulting a woman in Terrebonne Parish during a Mardi Gras festival. Ronald claimed that the woman had hit a baby stroller in one of the parking lots due to her dangerous driving, after which he began an argument with her, demanding an apology. After the woman apologized, he punched her in the face. He was charged, but the case was later dropped, after an agreement of reconciliation was reached between him and the woman, with whom he had made amends.
The Serial Killer Evolves
As a gay man, Ronald Dominique was unmarried and had no children, preferring instead to spend most of his free time in gay bars, often dressed in drag as singer Patti LaBelle, of whom he was a great fan. However, due to various circumstances, Dominique was unable to establish a serious relationship and was often looked down upon by the local gay community.
The Prey of a Killer
Ronald Dominique’s victims tended to be teenagers and men between the ages of 16 and 46, and not all of them were homosexual. Most of the victims however were African-American. He would often meet them during walks or drives in his pickup truck, as well as in gay bars, luring them with offers of alcohol, drugs, housing, or group sex with his supposed girlfriend.
After successfully convincing his potential victims to join him, Dominique would lure them into his trailer where he would overpower them, bind them and subsequently rape them. According to the investigators, after he was finished having his way with a victim, Ronald would strangle his victim, load their body into the back of his truck and dump them in a remote rural area in one of six nearby parishes.
The Bayou Blue Murders began in July of 1997, with Dominique’s first confirmed victim being a 19-year-old African American man named David Mitchell, who was picked up while hitchhiking alone from his grandmother’s house after attending a relative’s birthday party. His body was found on July 14 in a ditch along a highway, near a wooded area in St. Charles Parish, two days after he was last seen. Forensic research showed that there was ditch water in David’s lungs, and with no traces of physical trauma, drugs or alcohol, his death was initially ruled as accidental drowning. However, Mitchell’s father insisted that his son was an excellent swimmer and that he had been murdered, since the water level was low and the fact that Mitchell’s trousers had been lowered to his ankles when found.
Dominique’s next two murders also took place in the St. Charles Parish. The first was in December 1997, when he strangled 20-year-old Gary Pierre, who had recently been arrested for drug trafficking. Gary’s body would later be found fully clothed, with no signs of physical trauma or drugs found in his system.
The second killing occurred on July 31, 1998, when Ronald murdered 38-year-old Larry Ranson, a drug-addicted vagrant. Ranson was the first victim subjected to bondage by Dominique.
In early October of 1998, Dominique met 27-year-old Oliver LeBanks in Metairie. After his arrest, he claimed that the drug-addicted LeBanks offered him sexual services in exchange for money, after which Dominique had sex with him, then beat and strangled him. LeBanks’s body was later disposed of on the outskirts of Metairie, where it was found on October 4. During the autopsy, traces of Dominique’s semen was found on Oliver’s body. Relatives and friends of the LeBanks later confirmed that he had only recently resorted to leading a vagrant lifestyle after he had been fired from his job for using drugs.
In October of 1998, Ronald met 16-year-old Joseph Brown in Kenner and lured him into his truck, ostensibly to sell crack cocaine. After sharing it together, Dominique beat the teenager several times on the head with a blunt object and then strangled him with a plastic bag. A month later, 18-year-old Bruce Williams fell victim to Dominique in similar circumstances.
In May of 1999, Dominique was cruising around Kenner when he came across 21-year-old Manuel Reed, who offered to sell him drugs. Agreeing to the offer, Dominique let him into his truck, where he raped and then strangled Reed, later dumping his corpse in a dumpster in the city’s industrial zone, about a mile from where Brown’s body was found. Similar to LeBanks, semen traces were found which belonged to an unknown male.
A month later, Dominique killed 21-year-old Angel Mejia, a hobo with past convictions for drug possession. At first, the killer tried to dump Meija’s corpse in a dumpster, but after discovering that it was full he discarded it on the street.
After examining the corpse, the coroner concluded that the victim had been tied up with a rope prior to his death. While investigating the killings, law enforcement established that Mejia, Brown and Pierre all knew and lived in close proximity to each other.
In late August, Dominique met 34-year-old drug addict Mitchell Johnson, offering him drugs in exchange for sexual favors. He then took Johnson to the forest outside Metairie, where he bound, raped and strangled him to death. Mitchell’s fully nude body was discovered on September 1,1999.
In January 2000, Dominique claimed another victim, 23-year-old Michael Vincent, in Lafourche Parish. In early October, he became closely associated with 20-year-old Kenneth Randolph, Jr., a thrice-prosecuted child molester who lived near him in a trailer park. Dominique lured Randolph into his trailer, telling him that a girl wanted to have sex with him there, and then attacked and murdered him. He then took the body to a field outside the city, where the partially naked remains were found on October 6.
On October 12, 2002, in the late evening, Dominique met 26-year-old Anoka Jones, a financially strained petty criminal, on the streets in Houma. He attacked Jones, after which he tied him up, raped and strangled him. Dominique later dumped his body under a highway overpass, where it was discovered several hours later.
In late 2002, Dominique and his sister moved to the rural unincorporated community of Bayou Blue. There, he found a job as a specialist who checked electricity levels at a local power supply, which allowed him to periodically travel. Around this time, Dominique killed 19-year-old Datrell Woods, dumping both him and his bicycle in a reed field. Woods’ decomposed and partially naked body remained undiscovered until May 24, 2003.
In October 2004, Ronald Dominique lured 46-year-old Larry Matthews to his house with the promise of drugs, but during the process Matthews lost consciousness due to an overdose, after which Dominique raped and strangled him. He later dumped Matthews’s body twenty miles away from the crime scene. Nobody initially reported Matthews as missing since he was homeless and his identity later had to be established via fingerprints. Dominique’s next victim, his first Caucasian victim, would be 21-year-old Michael Barnett, whose body was found on October 24, 2004.
In February 2005, Dominique murdered 22-year-old Leon Lirett, an alcoholic vagrant who had previously lived with two other victims, Barnett and Anoka Jones, and was, in fact, considered the prime suspect in Jones’ murder, as he was the last person to see him prior to the former’s disappearance.
Two months later, in April, Dominique met 31-year-old August Watkins, a homeless man who he lured to his truck with promises of an overnight stay. After Watkins ended up in his trailer, Dominique gave him alcohol and offered him to have sex with a supposed female acquaintance, before tying him up, raping and strangling him.
After Watkins’s corpse was discovered, police began to realize that a serial killer was active in Kenner and Houma, since the murders in both areas demonstrated a strikingly similar modus operandi. Only then was the case handed over to the FBI.
A few days after killing Watkins, Dominique killed 23-year-old Kurt Cunnigham. Later that summer, he murdered 28-year-old Alonzo Hogan in St. Charles Parish and 17-year-old Wayne Smith in Terrebonne Parish, luring them both under the pretense of having sex with one of his female friends.
Unlike the previous victims, Hogan and Smith had no prior criminal convictions and weren’t known to use drugs. Hogan had been raped by Dominique pre-mortem, while no traces of semen were found on Smith’s corpse since his body had been disposed of in a canal. It was discovered only a few days later.
In September 2005, Dominique murdered 40-year-old Chris Deville, who was trying to hitchhike out of Napoleonville following Hurricane Katrina. He later dumped Deville’s corpse in a reed field. His skeletal remains were discovered the following month and identified by relatives, only thanks to ID cards and other personal belongings left beside the body.
In late November that same year, Ronald Dominique killed 21-year-old Nicholas Pellegrin in Lafourche Parish. During the investigation into his death, Pellegrin’s relatives told the police that shortly before his death, the deceased man borrowed $400 from local drug dealers and had missed the payment date, after which he began to receive death threats. Therefore, prior to Dominique’s capture and confession, Pellegrin’s death was wrongfully thought to be drug-related.
Dominique’s last confirmed victim was 27-year-old Christopher Sutterfield, a bisexual Ronald had met and began dating romantically. On October 14, while on a date together in Iberville Parish, Dominique hit Sutterfield on the head with a heavy object, causing him to lose consciousness. After finding his body, police interviewed Sutterfield’s relatives, friends and acquaintances, all of whom confirmed that they had last seen him with a man driving a black SUV, but were unable to describe the companion’s appearance.
In November 2006, Dominique came under police suspicion after Ricky Wallace, a resident of Bayou Blue, reported that Dominique had lured him to his trailer in mid-2006 with an offer to share drugs and have sex with a girl. After Wallace entered the trailer, according to his testimony, Dominique tried to convince him that his girlfriend enjoyed bondage, offering to tie Wallace up. Ricky refused, and soon after he was allowed to leave. His testimony was questioned at first because he was a drug addict and had repeatedly lied in the past, but nevertheless Dominique was questioned by police. While he was held at the station, Dominique agreed to donate a blood sample.
Over the next week, DNA testing matched Dominique’s profile with that of the elusive killer who had left behind semen traces on the bodies of Oliver LeBanks and Manuel Reed, resulting in an arrest warrant.
On December 1, 2006, Dominique was arrested at a homeless shelter. After said arrest, he told police that he knew it was a matter of time before he was captured and so he had moved out of his sister’s house in order not to inconvenience her.
Once at the police station, Dominique agreed to cooperate with investigators, readily confessing to 23 murders, describing them in details only known to the officers and of course the killer himself. As a result, charges were brought against him, but despite his confession Ronald Dominique refused to admit guilt in the attacks. He stated that most of his victims, due to their addictions and other factors, voluntarily agreed to be tied up, handcuffed, and treated in similar manners, since most of them would do anything for a buck. If the potential victim refused, he would let them go without harming them.
Ronald Dominique Gets Life
In September of 2008, Ronald Dominique plead guilty to first-degree murder, in order to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to eight life-sentences after confessing to raping and killing 23 male victims over a ten-year period. He also stated that he murdered his victims only because he had gone to prison once and did not want to end up there again. Nor did he want to go there for raping gay men. Instead he murdered them to assure their silence.
Ronald Joseph Dominique, the Bayou Killer, is currently serving life at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
source: murderpedia | Wikipedia | allthatsinteresting | nola.com |
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