My Investigation Into the Jeff Davis 8 Murders
A look at the documents that informed the story
I’ve spent two years investigating the deaths of eight women in southwest Louisiana. You can read the feature story that came out of that investigation here.
Through numerous records requests under Louisiana’s Public Records Act to the Louisiana State Police, the Jefferson Davis Parish District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Jennings Police Department, I received thousands of pages of records ranging Sheriff’s Office incident reports and personnel files to District Attorney case files. Excerpts are now available here.
I also obtained hundreds of pages of criminal court records simply by visiting the Jefferson Davis Parish Clerk of Court in downtown Jennings and copying records.
My public records requests were often handled by high-ranking members of these law enforcement entities. Kevin Millican, then an assistant district attorney who also served as the city attorney for Jennings, managed my records requests to both the Jennings PD and the DA’s Office. Sheriff Ricky Edwards himself responded to my requests for records from his office.
Responses from Millican and Edwards were compliant with Louisiana’s Public Records Act which, as judges in Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal opined in a 2013 decision, “is intended to enforce the public’s fundamental, constitutional right to public records in the most expansive and unrestricted (emphasis mine) way possible.” Indeed, in just one response Assistant District Attorney Millican provided me with more than 1,000 pages of records.
During the course of my investigation, I also obtained everything from news transcripts (Dateline’s 1997 illegal traffic stops by sheriff’s deputies) to federal court records (the 2003 civil rights complaint filed by eight female Jennings police against the Jennings PD)to state watchdog agency reports (the Louisiana Board of Ethics investigation of Warren Gary’s 2007 purchase of Connie Silar’s Silverado).