Greg Bodker: On the last episode of Solvable…
Lt. Darren Versiga: The majority of our population is 20-25k maybe 30k is the population, now we have a lot of transient traffic, but here is my thing, how many killers can you have in a city that is that small?
Greg Bodker: We reviewed several unsolved homicide cases from southern Jackson County, Mississippi that investigators believe could be the work of one or more serial killers.
All of the cases occurred in the same area and around the same time our Baby Jane and her missing mother were reported.
But, like we mentioned at the end of the last episode, there may be an interesting connection between Baby Jane’s case and that of a self-professed serial killer known as “The Interstate Man”
His real name is Louie Lee Riddle Jr., often called, Lovie Riddle.
Amanda Reno: In case files from Toronto to Texas and peppered across numerous internet web sleuthing websites, Lovie Riddle’s name pops up.
Not just for his potential involvement in the case of Baby Jane / Delta Dawn and her mother, but for all sorts of crimes.
And that may be just how Lovie envisioned it.
We’ve recently been able to get our hands on excerpts of Lovie’s journals. These writings were found when he was arrested in Maine in the fall of 1988.
When officers got him in custody, they were initially only interested in Lovie for a felony sex offense, but while he was sitting in an interrogation room he declared he was actually responsible for as many as 30 murders and dozens of other violent crimes in two countries.
Greg Bodker: Five years before his arrest in Maine though, Lovie actually came on the police’s radar in Southern Mississippi.
Documents show that Jackson County Sheriff’s investigators brought him in for questioning in relation to the January 1983 murder of an 18-year-old woman name Karon Ann Pierce.
Karon was a young woman from nearby Gautier, Mississippi who’s horrifically mutilated body was found on January 11th, 1983. Just one month after Baby Jane / Delta Dawn was recovered from the Escatawpa River.
In a phone interview with us last year, investigator Hope Manning explained more about Lovie Riddle.
Hope Manning: We put him here during Delta’s murder, the other murder, and as a witness in the Karon Ann Pierce case.
In 1988, he was arrested for sexual battery. When he was arrested, in his vehicle he had 3 journals. And in those three journals, he talked about killing 13 people, and he gave descriptions. I ended up getting copies of all of those, everything the state police had at the time.
Greg Bodker: While police discussed Karon’s case with Lovie, he revealed potential clues in the case of Baby Jane /Delta Dawn.
Most importantly, he gave investigators a name, someone named, Spider.
Hope Manning: Lovie even said, that a biker by the name of Spider had actually thrown Delta over that bridge. He was in a biker club.
With the Delta case, he said that Spider had hooked up with a mom that had a child.
Spider did it, he wouldn’t name the motorcycle club, spider was involved in the club that allegedly killed Karon Ann Pierce.
Greg Bodker: Investigators were never able to corroborate any of Lovie’s information or statements about this “Spider” character, and not long after being questioned Alabama authorities requested he be transferred out of Mississippi to face charges for another crime in their state.
But that wouldn’t be the last time Jackson County law enforcement would hear from Lovie Riddle.
Not by a long shot.
*Prison shackles & door buzzing open*
Amanda Reno: In 1983, when Lovie Riddle was transferred to Alabama to face crimes there, it really left Jackson County, Mississippi sheriff’s investigators with a lot more questions than answers.
While they’d briefly had him under interrogation for the murder of Karon Ann Pierce he’d started talking about a totally unrelated case.
The death of Baby Jane / Delta Dawn and her missing mother.
At the time though, resolving 18-year-old Karon’s murder case was the top priority and all efforts by the investigators to corroborate what Lovie had said about Baby Jane was never able to be proven.
So, the sheriff’s office focused on securing a prosecution for Karon’s case.
Ultimately three men named Jessie Derrell Williams, Michael Norwood, and Terrell Evans were all convicted for their parts in Karon’s death.
They were all known to run in the same crowd as Lovie Riddle.
The following information is a detailed account of what transpired the night Karon Pierce was murdered.
We gathered the material from multiple court documents and websites that have compilations on the case.
The following information contains a very graphic review of the case. It contains details of a violent sexual assault and murder. For those of you whom this may trigger, we wanted to forewarn you.
*Bar music playing & bottles clinking*
On the night of January 11, 1983, Karon Ann Pierce went on a date to the Scoreboard Lounge in Gautier, Mississippi. Throughout the night, she consumed beer and drugs. Her date left the lounge early in the evening after Karon refused to go home with him.
Sometime after her date left Karon was gang-raped by several men at the bar.
After the attack, Karon and her rapists remained at the bar.
Toward the end of the evening, Jessie Derrell Williams, Michael Norwood, and Terrell Evans arrived.
Terrell began talking with Karon and eventually convinced her to go for a ride with Jessie, Michael, and himself.
*Car door shutting & driving off*
On the way out of town, they stopped at a convenience store, bought some beer, and continued on to a secluded spot off Interstate 10.
*Cigarette lighters flickering on*
Terrell testified that the group smoked marijuana and drank beer for an extended period of time.
He also said that after having several consensual sexual encounters, Karon declined Jessie’s last attempt of sexual intercourse with her.
Terrell then observed Jessie tackle Karon when she attempted to run away.
Shortly thereafter, Terrell saw Jessie standing over Karon’s bloody body with a knife in his bloodstained hand and his foot resting on her shoulder.
Terrell said that Jessie admitted stabbing Karon in the heart and cutting her throat. Terrell testified that after that he told his friend he was not going to leave the area until he was sure Karon was dead.
Karen’s body was discovered approximately ten days later by a hunter.
At trial, a medical doctor testified that not only had Karon been brutally slashed several times with a knife, she had also been strangled and stabbed in the heart. Her killers had also sliced her vagina and anus with a sharp knife.
The doctor testified that she likely bled to death from those wounds.
When the men were convicted it was determined that Jessie had stabbed her over thirty times.
Testimony from two witnesses indicated that he was enthralled by such butchering, that he smiled immediately afterwards and joked about it days later.
Jessie Derrell Williams was put to death by lethal injection on December 11, 2002.
According to multiple media sources, Thomas Terrell Evans and Michael Anthony Norwood both testified against Jessie Derrell Williams each of them spent less than three years in prison for their parts in the death of Karon Anne Pierce.
Greg Bodker: We realize that description is graphic, but it’s important to get an understanding of the group of people Lovie Riddle was associated with and the brutality they were capable of.
Like we mentioned at the start of this episode, Lovie was arrested in 1988 in Maine.
That’s when he started claiming he was a prolific serial killer.
At that point, all the men in Karon’s case had been convicted and the pressure was off Jackson County law enforcement to close that investigation.
So, Lovie’s claim that he was responsible for many more killings in the 70’s and 80’s and that he knew some person named Spider who was responsible for killing a baby and her mother in Mississippi really thrust him back into the attention of investigators working to solve Baby Jane / Delta Dawn’s case.
In a call I had with LT Darren Versiga with the Pascagoula Police Department, I asked him about Lovie Riddle and what he recalled.
Lt. Darren Versiga: Authorities turned their file over to us, Jackson County Authorities. Jackson County authorities started investigating that, and he actually got an indictment or was going to get an indictment for him. Then he recanted his story and there was not corroborating evidence then he just said, “I just made it up. I’m writing a book. I’m doing this. I’m doing that.” Telling fairy tales and so they had to dismiss it.
Amanda Reno: The most glaring thing about Lovie that investigator Hope Manning believed made him a highly suspicious person of interest in Baby Jane’s case was the fact that he had a lot of information in his journals about Delta Dawn’s death and what happened to her mother.
Information that he claimed some character named “Spider” was responsible for.
A lot of the information in his writings could not have been stuff that he looked up online in the 1980’s when there was no internet around to research facts or prior news coverage of the case.
Hope Manning: He admitted in interviews to committing those murders, even Delta Dawn, but then he recanted saying he had all that info because he was writing a book.
We had red flags everywhere, he implanted himself into these murders.
He kept implanting himself into the investigation.
Greg Bodker: We’ve gotten a chance to read through excerpts of Lovie’s journals, and what they contain is definitely interesting.
The victims he claimed this manifesto of sorts ranged from children to adults, including both men and women, and all of them had died by various means. Here is a voice actor reading through a few lines of Lovie’s journal entries. We’ve abbreviated the excerpts for the sake of time, however, there are inconsistencies in this version compared to what others have told us.
What we are about to read is taken verbatim from police reports.
Lovie’s Journal Entry Excerpts: Louie Lee Riddle Jr., Quebec, Canada.
Riddle stated that the outlaws were just the gophers for other people who obtained between $10,000 and $15,000 per child.
Riddle stated that sometime in 1986 he and another member of the outlaws.
Kidnapped a girl from either Quebec or Toronto Canada. Riddle described the girl as a 9-year-old who was beautiful with long dark hair.
They went to a supermarket and picked her out and when she drifted away from her mother, they snatched her and placed her in the van and took her to Houston or Spring, Texas.
The deal went sour, and he took her where all the others go when a deal goes sour. Meaning, he dumped the body where he dumps the others when the deals do not go through.
On May 9th, 1981, Riddle explained that he was involved in a homicide wherein the victim was a seventeen-year-old girl killed on the Fox Ferry Road in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Riddle stated that they picked up this girl along the road and took her to a creek where they raped her.
He talked of participating in the kidnapping of 35 plus children.
Riddle took the baby took the baby and threw it off of a bridge over the Escatawpa River in Pascagoula Mississippi…Riddle claims to have been sitting on his motorcycle at the bridge when the baby was thrown off…at the time the baby was thrown off the bridge, all it was wearing was a pair of pampers.
The female became very violent when she realized the baby was not with them and she started to scream at them.
Placed a .25 automatic pistol above her chin and shot and killed her.
Riddle recalls that a 3-year-old baby was later found floating in the river and was buried as Baby Jane as they could not identify the baby.
Greg Bodker: The HUGE difference between what Lovie initially told investigators in 1983 and what he later wrote in his journals was what his role was in tossing Delta Dawn’s little body over the bridge into the Escatawpa River, after hooking up with her mother.
Hope Manning: In his journals, he admitted that he’s the one that killed Delta and shot the mother with a 22 under her chin.
Did it sound believable? At the time, yeah.
So you never had a chance to rule him out as a suspect? No.
Greg Bodker: Career criminal Lovie Riddle’s claims and writings about killing Baby Jane and her missing mother were definitely bold.
But they were hard to prove.
Jackson County investigators spent a lot of time learning all they could about Lovie to vet whether or not he really was their killer or was just another person who wanted to brag about a crime they didn’t commit.
We did some digging of our too, for this show.
Louie Lee Riddle Jr,.also known as Lovie, was originally from Bay Minette, Alabama.
He has been in and out of prison for everything from fraud to sexual felonies.
He is a registered public sex offender who at one point in his criminal career dubbed himself “The Interstate Man.”
According to an article in The Bangor Daily News, Lovie dropped out of school at 10 years old but later earned his high school diploma while incarcerated during the 1990’s.
According to Assistant US Attorney Gail Malone who prosecuted one of his cases, his childhood was utterly neglectful, there were no boundaries for right or wrong.
Amanda Reno: While producing this show, we reached out to Lovie through an email address we found in public records.
He’s out of prison now.
We hoped that he may be interested in sharing his perspective on these cases and his bizarre journal entries. But when we asked him for an interview, he replied back simply asking— quote “Why?”—end quote.
As of this recording he has yet to respond to our last message.
Greg Bodker: We have no way of determining what involvement, if any, Lovie had in the crimes he journaled about, including the case of Baby Jane and her mother. Maybe one day he will publish the book about his life story that he’s told so many law enforcement agencies and judges he wants to write. Maybe in those pages, he’ll reveal a detail that opens a door for investigators.
In the meantime, we’re left waiting…
Which is exactly what Jackson County sheriff’s investigators had been doing, until they got a bombshell update from Othram labs in Houston.
The genetic genealogy results were in, coincidentally, at the same exact time, we were producing this show in Pascagoula.
Joe Bignell: We had gotten the name of the potential mother, we had a Facebook page, we dug deep into that Facebook page and started going through everything that was on there.
I believe what the lab told us was, we believe this is the mother, it is possible that she could be an aunt.
Amanda Reno: That’s next time on Solvable…