Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies
All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · Nobody knows why Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life.
One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
These deaths and others raise troubling questions about the public sex-offender registries which every state has. And they highlight the fact that many states list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose little risk to the community.
When Mark Perk read about the men murdered in Maine, he thought the same fate might have befallen him. "They put my name and address on there," Perk says. "Anyone can find me. Yeah, it scared us."
Perk is on Illinois' sex-offender registry for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. She's now his wife and the mother of their two children. Perk says he knows he broke the law -- but he says he's no child molester. He's just treated like one.
"My wife and I get pulled over constantly because our license is registered to a sex offender," he says.
Perk says he has received telephone calls from people calling him a child molester and threatening his life. "People pull by the house all the time, staring in the windows," he says.
It's easy to find Perk because of Megan's Law. Congress passed it in 1996 after 7-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and killed by a man living on her street. At the time, her parents did not know that her killer was a convicted sex offender.
Megan's Law requires states to share information on sex offenders with the public. But it leaves it up to the states to decide how.
About half the states have taken the path of Maine and Illinois: They simply post most of their registered sex offenders on the Internet. And they require the public be notified when any offender moves into a neighborhood -- regardless of the nature of their offense.
The Web sites don't distinguish between hard-core predators and people who may show little risk for committing future crimes, such as those convicted of a having a relationship with an underage partner.
In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that this broad-brush approach is perfectly legal. That ruling has left Perk listed along with a rapist and a sexual predator on the registry for his neighborhood south of Chicago.
"It's absolutely disgusting what they're doing to children -- these pedophiles," Perk says. "But how do you think I feel having my face and name next to these guys? I'd like to kill them myself."
He has to follow the same rules: He can't live near a school or go to a park. He says police spend as much time monitoring him as they would a violent predator.
But the laws Perk complains about are enormously popular with politicians, law enforcement and victims' groups.
Diane Gelbach runs a program for sexual-assault victims out of Massachusetts. In her thinking, if predators network by sharing photos and names of their prey, why shouldn't the public network, too?
"The balance of power has been against victims of these crimes," she says. "I just see registries as a logical outworking of people trying to keep people safe."
But do they work?
"We don't know," says Wayne Logan, a law professor who's looked at how the registries and the community-notification requirement in Megan's Law have played out. It is clear the registries help the police keep track of offenders.
But Logan says the few studies that have been published aren't clear on whether these laws deter sex offenders. And there are clear data showing that sex offenders -- no matter how they're defined -- are being tossed out of their homes and their jobs across the country.
Gary Plauche shoots Jeffrey Doucet in the head killing him and gets off scot-free.
Watch the video clip of the premeditated murder below:
Most of the posters there have to be the most immature asses on earth. Though most people might feel like killing someone who did what Jeffrey Doucet did, actually doing it is a crime. Gary Plauche took a human life. Vigilantism is wrong. Jeffrey Doucet was going to be punished by the courts. Doucet may have molested Plauche's son, but he didn't murder him. What about Jeffrey Doucet family? Maybe now Doucet's dad should murder Plauche. Plauche should have gotten a lenient 5 years in prison instead of 5 years probation, which simply meant no punishment at all. Nobody can have a license to kill; nobody is above the law.
KANSAS STATE–Dismissed C Tyler Hughes from the men’s basketball team after it became known that his name appears in a registered sex offender database. What does the right to play basketball have to do with being on a sex offender database?
Sex Offender Murder Suspect Kills Self
April 17, 2006
An undated family photo of Stephen Marshall, of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, provided by the Maine Department of Public Safety on April 16, 2006. (AP)
“We will try to establish what is the link between these three men but as of tonight there's no known connection.”
Stephen McCausland, spokesman
Maine Department of Public Safety
The daylong manhunt that stretched through three states ended when police pulled over the bus Stephen A. Marshall was riding to Boston and the 20-year-old Canadian turned his gun on himself as officers boarded.
Marshall died late Sunday before he could answer questions about whether he knew the Maine victims — sex offenders whose deaths prompted officials to take down the Maine Sex Offender Registry Web site. The site lists the photos, names and addresses of more than 2,200 sex offenders.
“We will try to establish what is the link between these three men but as of tonight there's no known connection,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said.
The sex offenders — Joseph L. Gray, 57, of Milo, and William Elliott, 24, of Corinth — were shot to death in their central Maine homes, officials said.
Marshall, who lived in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, had come to Houlton, Maine, for the first time to meet his father, McCausland said.
He was driving his father's pickup, which was spotted leaving the scene in Corinth around 8:15 a.m., about five hours after the shooting in Milo was reported. The truck was later abandoned near an ice arena in Bangor, Maine.
Calling Marshall a “person of interest” in the shootings, Maine State Police alerted Boston authorities that he may be heading toward the city, McCausland said.
Police cornered Marshall on a Vermont Bus Lines coach that he had boarded in Bangor, Procopio said. Sitting 13 rows behind the driver, he pulled a .45 caliber handgun when officers boarded the bus and shot himself in the head.
When paramedics arrived, they found a second handgun in Marshall's possession, Procopio said.
No one else on the bus was injured, Procopio said, but five passengers who were splattered with blood were taken to area hospitals to be examined.
A sex offender registry Web site in Washington state was cited in the deaths of two convicted child rapists last summer. Michael Anthony Mullen, 35, said he targeted the pair and posed as an FBI agent to gain entry to their home after finding them on the online Whatcom County, Wash., sex offender list.
Mullen pleaded guilty in March to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to more than 44 years in prison. Whatcom County continues to list sexual offenders on the Internet.
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SEATTLE - A 35-year-old Washington state man was charged with double murder Thursday after telling police that he had decided to hunt down and kill two sex offenders listed in an online sex offender registry.
Michael Mullen told police that he decided to find and murder sex offenders in Bellingham, 90 miles north of Seattle, after the high-profile arrest of a sex offender in Idaho in July.
“He provided information about the murders that only the person responsible should have known,” the Bellingham Police Department said in a statement.
Mullen, who turned himself in Monday, killed two men who were roommates in a house in Bellingham on Aug. 27, possibly as revenge for being molested as a child, police Lt. Craige Ambrose said.
“He had claimed being abused as a juvenile during our interview with him,” Ambrose said.
Mullen asked police, “Can I have a speedy trial?” during a preliminary hearing Tuesday, according to court officials.
‘I would like to
“I would like to plead guilty,” he said at the hearing.
Sex offenders in most U.S. jurisdictions are required by law to register with local police when they take up residence, and such information is often provided on a Web site for community residents.
The prosecutor’s office for Whatcom County said that Mullen would face arraignment on Sept. 16.
Police learned on Aug. 27 that Victor Vazquez, 68, and Hank Eisses, 49, had been killed by a man posing as an FBI agent, according to a public notice.
Police believe Mullen confessed to the murders in an online journal on AOL before turning himself in. In one Internet archive, someone identifying himself as Michael Mullen claims responsibility for the murders and adds “they are not the last to be executed unless things change for the better.”
Spurred by Idaho
Mullen also told police that he began looking for sex offenders after Joseph Duncan, a convicted sex offender, was arrested on July 2 in Idaho for abducting an 8-year-old girl and her 9-year-old brother after killing their mother, brother and mother’s boyfriend.
“Mullen also said that he had planned the murders for some time and that on July 13, 2005, he had accessed the Whatcom County sheriff’s sex offender Web site and from that, selected at least one of the two victims,” the statement added.
Mullen is being held in Whatcom County Jail with bail set at $1 million.
Megan's Law listing may have led to slaying
Lake County Sheriff
By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 10, 2007
LAKEPORT, CALIF. -- Convicted rapist Michael A.
Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's
deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan
mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with
Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.
Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30.
In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.
"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."
Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."
In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.
Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."
"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."
Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.
A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.
"He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."
The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.
Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.
Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.
According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.
His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach.
Those were the charges that were listed on the Megan's Law website.
"I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet," said Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele on behalf of the defense in two 2007 trials about whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero.
Both ended in hung juries. Dodele was freed Oct. 16
and was hoping to start over in the crowded little
mobile home park, where neighbors described him as
open and friendly.
"The family is just sick," Steen said. "They finally got him back. They all thought he had made such great progress, and then this happened. It's pretty bad."
At 10:14 a.m. Nov. 20, an anonymous woman called 911 to report that a man was bleeding from his hands and directed medical personnel to Dodele's space at the mobile home park, according to a written statement from the Sheriff's Department.
When deputies arrived, they found Dodele's body.
The dead man's "immediate neighbors and other residents" sent the deputies to Oliver's home, the statement said, because "he had been seen recently leaving Dodele's residence with what appeared to be blood on his hands and clothing."
There was blood on a car in front of Oliver's house and at the front door of the concrete-block duplex. Inside, deputies reportedly found Oliver with blood on his hands and clothing and "injuries to his hands, consistent with having been in a physical altercation."
Authorities will not divulge exactly what Oliver said when he was arrested.
Steen wrote a letter to a local paper decrying Dodele's death "simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry."
Shortly after the letter was published, Steen said, a woman describing herself as Oliver's wife called to complain.
"She said, 'We have a child who was molested, and my husband is very upset to have a child molester living nearby'," Steen recounted, noting the irony that Dodele's crimes all involved adult women.
Steen said she had not talked to police about the phone call. Oliver said that the woman with whom he lived in the trailer park was his girlfriend, and the two were not married.
Attempts to reach the woman failed. One neighbor said she had moved away after the slaying.
Oliver is being held without bail, a police statement said, because he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego and was on parole when Dodele was killed.
Speaking from behind a thick glass divider in the visiting area of the Lake County Correctional Facility, Oliver said his son had been molested, but he declined to give the details of his son's assault or to give the child's name.
Although he spoke of "the action I took," he would not describe what happened in the aging mobile home the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.
Oliver would not comment on whether Dodele had ever approached his son.
But Oliver said he saw the older man looking at the boy.
"It was more than watching," Oliver said. "You could see his eyes. He was fantasizing, plotting. Later on down the line, who knows how many other children he could have hurt."
Research indicates that, in general, the older rapists get, the lower their risk of re-offending, said L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, chairwoman of the California Coalition on Sex Offenders, a group of treatment providers, probation and parole officers.
In addition, she said, sex offenders who target grown women over the course of many years are unlikely to victimize children.
But when told that Dodele's victims were women and not children, Oliver seemed unfazed. "There is no curing the people that do it," he said.
Oliver's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7.
Asked about what he thinks will happen to him, he said, "It's hard to tell at this point. There's no doubt I'm looking at a numerous amount of years. I'm not a lawyer. We haven't gone over the evidence."
But he also said that he "would never change who I am or what I do because of what society thinks is right or not right. I have always been who I am and always will be."