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River Parishes Serial Killer Part 2 | The Hunt For Daniel Blank

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In this episode of Bloody Angola: A True Crime Podcast by Woody Overton and Jim Chapman we bring you inside the hunt for the River Parishes Serial Killer Daniel Blank who terrorized the Parishes of Ascension, St James, and St John Parish in 2007 & 2008.

#DanielBlank #Serialkiller #louisiana #riverparishesserialkiller #bloodyangolapodcast #truecrime

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TRANSCRIPT

BLOODY ANGOLA PODCAST RIVER PARISHES SERIAL KILLER PART 2

Jim: Hey everyone, and welcome back to Bloody-

Woody: -Angola.

Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Jim: And I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: And I'm Woody Overton.

Jim: We're in Part 2-

Woody: Part 2, baby.

Jim: -of the River Parishes.

Woody: Serial killer.

Jim: Yes. Just real quick, where we left off in Part 1. Of course, Victor Rossi, October 17th of 1996, was murdered. On April 9th of 1997, Lillian Philippe was found murdered. On May 18th of 1997, Barbara Bourgeois was found murdered. On May 9th of 1997, Sam and Luella Arcuri found murdered. May 14th of 1997, Joan Brock found murdered. And July 7th of 1997, the attempted murder of Leonce and Joyce Millet. And on November 14th of 1997, Daniel Blank finally arrested in Onalaska, Texas. So we're going to pick up from that point. They bring him back to Louisiana.

Woody: This is after he confessed, y’all.

Jim: And look, these are small town detectives, and they got a serial killer in the back of that vehicle. And one of the comments that the detective made was when they pulled into the parish, you had droves of people on both sides of the road and give you goosebumps and they're cheering. And these detectives, this meant something to this community, what these guys have done. So, they start, obviously you get back, and now you've got this guy off the street and you're starting to piece things together at this point.

Woody: Just because you make an arrest doesn't mean the case is over by a long shot. You're going to continue to work and gain more evidence to get the prosecution ultimately.

Jim: And especially one like this, where there was no physical evidence. I don't know if I'd say he was smart enough, but for whatever reason, he didn't leave behind fingerprints, he didn't leave behind DNA, which was amazing considering the brutality of these killings.

Woody: I would imagine he was gloved up.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: He wasn't a dummy.

Jim: No.

Woody: Doesn't mean he was formally educated. He was smart.

Jim: That's right. And so, they do, they start investigating it. And guess what they do?

Woody: Here we go, y'all. Not only was he arrested, but his girlfriend was arrested. And we'll go to an article, it says Destrehan. Y'all, that's another town in St. John, I believe. The article from the AP Wire says, "Investigators have arrested the woman who lived with Daniel Blank in Texas, saying she drove the accused serial killer to the homes of the people he killed and robbed in Louisiana River parishes. Cindy Bellard, 35, was taken into custody late Monday evening at her sister's home in Destrehan. Bellard, who moved with Blank and their children to Onalaska, Texas, in late July knew his intent, authorities said. Sheriff Jeff Wiley--" and I'm going to interrupt real quick. I've worked a lot of cases with Jeff Wiley. I think he's a state senator or something now like that. But he's retired from sheriffing and he's a great guy. But it says, "Sheriff Jeff Wiley said she was booked into the Ascension Parish jail one count of principal to first degree murder, two counts of principal to attempted first degree murder, and principal to aggravated burglary."

"Blank, 35, was booked last week on charges of beaten and stabbing to death six River Parish residents from October 1996 to July 1997. He tried to kill two more people in an attacking Gonzales, authorities said. Authorities said Blank, who robbed to support a gambling addiction, has confessed. It was that gambling habit that eventually cemented the case against Black, Wiley said. In Texas, where Blank was picked up for questioning last Thursday, Polk County Sheriff Billy Ray Nelson Jr, said authorities had been tipped to Blank's lavish spending at Louisiana casinos, including one where Blank was throwing around $100 bills as if he were a wealthy man."

"One of the houses where he killed, he stole $100 bills, Nelson said. Nelson said authorities weren't expecting a confession when they searched his auto repair shop and home last Thursday. But about eight hours into interrogations, Blank began giving details of the crimes, launching into half-hour accounts of each attack, Nelson said. In one incident, he told investigators how he had killed a woman in her backyard and then dragged her into her home, Nelson said. In some cases, Blank told authorities he lurked around the victim's homes for hours before killing them. What he said was just so creepy, Nelson said. Wiley said Blank would hang around the victims’ homes in the dark of late night or early morning, hoping the occupants would eventually leave. Unfortunately, the people didn't leave, Wiley said. Leonce and Joyce Millet, both 66, of Gonzales, survived an attack in their home last July. The victims in the other attacks were Victor Rossi, 41, of St. Amant, Barbara Bourgeois, 58, of Paulina, Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales, Sam Arcuri, 76, and Louella Arcuri, 69, of LaPlace, and Joan Brock, 55, of LaPlace."

"Wiley said Blank often used weapons he found inside his victims’ homes. Wiley said he didn't know if Bellard would be connected to Blank's alleged crimes in other parishes. Efforts to contact other authorities Monday night were not successful. Wiley said Bellard was questioned when Blank was arrested in Onalaska. Bellard told investigators that she and the children were returning to Louisiana to stay with her sister and brother-in-law in Destrehan. Investigators always had a strong suspicion that Bellard had helped Blank, Wiley said, adding that it was impossible for her to have lived with Blank for several years without knowing of his crimes. In some cases, Blank stole victims' cars to transport stolen safes, which he took to his home in Paulina to break open, Wiley said. He said two of the safes have been recovered, one in St. John and one in Ascension. She's living with a man, spending a significant amount of money with very little income, Wiley said. He's gambling, buying a house, tools, setting up a business. Someone living with him had to wonder where all that money was coming from."

Jim: Right.

Woody: Great article.

Jim: And I'll tell you, that to them was also a piece of a puzzle because remember, no physical evidence. So, if you're thinking like I'm thinking, and I'm sure Woody's thinking, you can look at this girlfriend two ways. You can look at her as a suspect or you can look at her as a witness. And they had more value in her as a witness. They were concerned. They were concerned because although they had just tons of circumstantial evidence and people do get found guilty strictly on circumstantial in some cases, but it's a roll of the dice. So, what do they do? They go to her, and they say, “Look, we'll go ahead and we'll drop these charges against you. We'll drop them all. But you got to agree to testify against--”

Woody: You got to give up the juice. And certainly, she had to know.

Jim: Absolutely. And so, what does she do? She says, “Hell yeah.”

Woody: Because, y’all, look, principle two, it means you're just as guilty. And she's looking at every charge that he's looking at and give her the out. But I'm sure it was the prosecutors that are like, “Hey--" First of all, they have to agree to drop charges if she testifies. But they needed her to testify.

Jim: That's right. They needed it desperately in this case. So, she agrees. She says, “I will testify.” And they say, “You testify, we'll drop the charges and it'll be all over with.” Whether you agree with that or not, this is a case where I see that they needed that person. So, we're going to fast forward a little bit and we're going to bring you to December 12th of 1998. And this is in the middle of the trial. And I found this interesting because this centers around the lie detector test. And so, I'm going to read you this article.

"FBI Agent Testifies Suspect Blank Failed Lie Detector Test. An FBI agent testified in court Wednesday that accused multiple murderer, Daniel Blank, failed a lie detector test on the day he was arrested in Texas. Near the end of a day-long hearing on a motion to suppress the video and audio tape confessions of Blank, Assistant District Attorney Charles "Chuck" Long asked FBI Agent David Sparks of Houston, Texas why he questioned Blank after administering the polygraph test to him in Onalaska, Texas, on November of 1997."

Sparks said he wanted to find out why Blank "had problems" with the test. "Did you find out?" Long asked. "No, he didn’t tell me why he failed the test," Sparks replied. Defense Attorney Glenn Cortello immediately objected, arguing the results of polygraph examinations are not admissible in court. Long countered that Cortello and his co-counsel, Andy Van Dyke, contended in their motion to suppress evidence that police officers lied to Blank about the results of the test in order to get him to confess. Therefore, Long said he had the right to show Blank failed the test and there was no reason for detectives to lie to him about the results."

"23rd Judicial District Judge John L. Peytavin did not immediately rule on the issue. Ascension Parish Sheriff Detective Mike Toney and St. John the Baptist sheriff’s Detective Todd Hymel testified at length Wednesday about the 12 hours they questioned Blank about six slayings, and two attempted murders. In Ascension, Blank is charged with murdering Victor Rossi, 41, of St. Amant and Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales, and attempting to murder Leonce and Joyce Millet, both 66 at the time they were assaulted in their home on the outskirts of Gonzales. In St. John Parish, he is charged with the killings in LaPlace of Joan Brock, 58, and Sam Arcuri, 76, and his wife, Louella, who was 69.

Woody: Y'all, they're trying the cases in Ascension Parish first, even though there's six victims, because they were in different parishes, that's a different jurisdiction, they have to try them separately.

Jim: Yeah, he's got to answer for all those crimes separately. And then so the very next day, something happens. I guess Daniel Blank was getting a little bit nervous. The prosecution is putting on a heck of a case.

Woody: Mm-hmm. And this was published on December 11th in 1998. It says, “Suspect in murders attempts to escape by John McMillan of the River Parishes Bureau. Mild-mannered accused multiple murderer, Daniel Blank, Thursday broke out a window in a second floor restroom of Ascension Parish courthouse in Donaldsonville and leaped to the ground below, where he was a free man for less than a minute."

Jim: Now, y'all, take that in. You just had the River Parishes serial killer break out a window and escape.

Woody: Right.

Jim: So, what are you going to tell you how the hell that happens?

Woody: "Within 30 to 45 seconds, he was apprehended and back in custody, Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley said, departmentally, we've responded in a quick fashion, but it shouldn't have happened. There was a security breach here to an extent. Blank, who usually registers no emotion in his court appearances and is described by his attorneys as very quiet, was being brought into the courthouse for a hearing when the escape attempt occurred. The hearing was on a motion to prevent the use of a videotape confessions he made to six River Parish slayings and two attempted murders. Wiley said four correctional officers brought the small, slightly built defendant into the courthouse from the Ascension Parish prison."

It's funny, I'm going to interrupt so y'all, understand this. The Ascension Parish prison is actually outside of Donaldsonville. Ascension's Parish is actually split. The Mississippi River splits it right in half. It has a Sunshine Bridge is what they call it, that goes over to where that-- and I've been in that prison many, many times.

"Handcuffs, leg shackles, and a bulletproof vest were removed from Blank in an anteroom between the two courtrooms on the second floor of the old courthouse building to make him presentable for court, Wiley said. After those items were removed, he told officers he had to defecate bad, Wiley said. Two of them walked him back to an area that's used as a juror room or judge's chambers that has a bathroom. They made a decision to let him take care of his business, Wiley said. The officers partially closed the bathroom door and Blank sat down on a toilet in a stall. In rapid fashion, he leaps up and slams the bathroom door shut and locks it and grabs an old antebellum window shutter and breaks the glass and leaps out, Wiley said.

Jim: All right, I'm going to stop you real quick. You're an officer and this dude's taking a shit, the door slams and locks. What's going through your mind?

Woody: Oh, fuck, I'm about to lose my job.

[laughter]

Woody: Let me tell you what. I had so many bad guys, especially during the interrogations, etc., a lot of times, they get nervous and had to take a shit right before they give me a confession. And you better believe every one of them, I stood in there with a stall open and I listened to them shit, and I watched some shit because I wasn't taking my eyes off of him. I mean, this dude killed six people, man, and attempted to kill two more, right? [crosstalk]

Jim: He just shut and locked the door on you.

Woody: He slammed, that's the “oh, shit” moment.

Jim: Unshackled.

Woody: Unshackled. Yeah. You could poop with the shackles on, but they just fucked up on that one, no doubt about it. He breaks the glass, y'all, and he jumps out. And the sheriff said Blank landed on the roof of a one-story building adjacent to the courthouse and then jumped to the ground. Sheriff's deputies outside the courthouse spotted him and chased him down.

Jim: I could imagine, seeing this dude jump on the ground and they're like, “Ah, that's a serial killer.” Oh, my God.

Woody: “Ah, that's a serial killer.” "He didn't get far, Wiley said. Blank was then put in the prison van and taken back to jail, Wiley said. The sheriff then called District Judge John L. Peytavin, who was conducting the hearing, and the judge asked that Blank be brought back to court to complete the proceedings. The judge’s order was carried out and the hearing, with Blank present, was conducted. The judge said he would study the motion to suppress Blank’s confessions before issuing a ruling." Y’all, this isn't a trial. This is one of the many motions to suppress and all kinds of stuff that the defense tries to do. It's a free shot for the defense to find out what the prosecution has, but our article continues.

"Later, Blank was examined at Prevost Hospital in Donaldsonville where it was discovered he had a broken heel bone, the sheriff said. Blank was being treated for his injury at a state hospital that he declined to name. "I don’t want to blame it, the escape, on an antiquated courthouse, but we’ve always been at a disadvantage in that old courthouse," Wiley said. "It has no bars on the windows. The reality is, we have no inmate bathrooms, no inmate-holding facility, but the primary cause was our inattention." "You don’t partially close the door on a murder suspect,” the sheriff said. "We had sufficient personnel. "Our options were to tell him "You can’t use the bathroom," but we’re all sensitive to his constitutional rights and they made the call to let him. They should have reshackled him or stayed on each side of him while he used the toilet," Wiley said." The sheriff said he met with the warden of the parish prison and the supervisor of the detail guarding Blank and, "I’m looking at some administrative changes."

[laughter]

Somebody’s ass getting fired. "Nobody was intentionally derelict, but I’ve got to make sure the people involved in guarding Blank are more attentive. The security detail will not be involved with such a defendant in the future," Wiley said. "I hate this for the community and for the victims’ survivors," the sheriff said. "The last thing the public should have to worry about is this guy escaping. They should be able to rest comfortably knowing that my department is on top of it. What happened leaves a little bit to be desired. It shouldn’t have happened," Wiley said. Blank’s next court appearance is scheduled Wednesday when Judge Peytavin will hear arguments regarding evidence that can be presented during the sentencing phase of the trial should he be convicted."

Jim: Now two things, y’all, it's obviously not funny. Thank God he was caught. I'm pretty sure somebody probably got shitcanned over that deal. [crosstalk] Could you imagine being the one to have to call the sheriff?

Woody: Oh, my God.

Jim: I mean, I bet they were all like, “I ain't calling.”

Woody: I mean, we had it happen-- [crosstalk]

Jim: And that's what my second part of this was going to be.

Woody: Gerald Bordelon and John Priest escape, the two worst we had in Livingston Parish Jail at the time. And they left them out on a walkway, like for their outside time, the walkway just has that chain link fence. And they had a maintenance cart they left on the hallway and the maintenance cart had a pair of pliers. So, when the guys in the control room aren't paying attention and there's nobody watching them from other side, they got the pliers and snipped the damn fence, and ran and jumped over and got out.

Jim: And, y'all, one of these individual's on death row right now.

Woody: Well, one of them is dead on death row. He's the last person executed in South Louisiana. John Priest lured homosexual men into things and robbed them but the last one he robbed-- he just got out of jail that day. He robbed him and then pulled all his teeth and then set him on fire so his body couldn't be identified.

Jim: Wow.

Woody: Yeah. And he's a bad dude. That dude's evil. He's doing multiple life sentences, but--

Jim: He's in Bloody Angola.

Woody: He's in Bloody Angola, sure is. We might have to do a story one day.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: Because he was a bad-- He's a young kid too. Just fucking evil as fuck. So, yeah, pretty sure you want to have your hands on this cat at all time.

Jim: Oh yeah. Whoever that was didn't last long. I'm sure now in any trial the defense is going to-- you might as well expect it, they're going to do profiles, or rather they're going to get with psychiatrists. And these psychiatrists [crosstalk] yes, do these evaluations. And Daniel Blank was no different. And during the trial, as is standard with pretty much all your violent murder cases, he undergoes this evaluation with a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with what's known as schizoaffective paranoia disorder.

Woody: That’s bullshit.

Jim: [laughs] Now, if you're wondering what that is, it's a mental health disorder that is marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, and mood disorder symptoms such as depression or mania. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder, both of which include symptoms of schizophrenia. There are bipolar type, which includes episodes of mania and sometimes major depression or depressive type, which includes only major depressive episodes. And it affects people differently. According to psychiatrists, it was also discovered that he had a learning disability that hampered his verbal ability as well as his understanding of abstract concepts, which is a fancy kind of like psychobabble jargon, basically saying he didn't know how to deal with his emotions like a normal person. Well-

Woody: Whatever.

Jim: -cry me a fucking river. I don't give a shit. You killed six people.

Woody: Every death penalty case we do, they put on these so-called experts and they come up with the same shit every time. What they're trying to do is ultimately, if he's found guilty, they're going to say, “Hey, look, here's a mitigating circumstance why he shouldn't be put to death because he doesn't think like the rest of us.” And the death penalty phase, series 1 through 10, they did the same thing. They brought in two different neuropsychologists and then a psychiatrist and they said the same shit and whatever.

Jim: Well, here's the way, if I were a prosecutor, kind of poke bullshit in this whole thought process is in regard to his cognitive ability. I would say he probably had some upper-level cognitive skills because that's-- cognitive ability, y’all, is the ability to problem solve basically. This guy was a master mechanic.

Woody: Yeah.

Jim: That's all about problem solving.

Woody: Not only that, he didn't leave any trace of himself at the crime scenes. That shows planning and that he was smart, like I said earlier.

Jim: That's right. And he wasn't book smart, as a matter of fact, he only made it to the eighth grade. His reading was on a third-grade level, they say, but his IQ was an 85, which is on the lower side of normal. And IQ test, you know.

Woody: Yeah, I'm sure that if I'm facing a death penalty, I can play dumb on an IQ test too.

Jim: So, they go through the trial, y’all, and eventually they come back with a verdict. What we're going to read you now is the verdict for the Joan Brock case. Well, he was sentenced to death this. So, Woody?

Woody: Article is on April 11th of 2000. Says, "The jury took less than 45 minutes Monday to sentence Daniel Blank to death for the slaying of LaPlace housewife, Joan Brock, on May 14th, 1997. Saturday, it took the same jury seven hours to find Blank guilty of the same murder. Wearing the same wrinkled, blue work shirt, tan pants and tennis shoes that he wore throughout the six-day trial, Blank showed no emotion as both decisions were read to him."

"On the other hand, during the reading of the death penalty decision, several of the jurors were weeping. “I feel better now,” said Douglas Brock, widower of Joan Brock, as he walked out of the St. John the Baptist Parish courthouse in Edgard. “I really do feel better.” Brock’s murder is one of the six attributed to Blank in a 10-month killing spree in 1996 and 1997. He allegedly broke into people’s houses to steal money to feed a video poker gambling habit. During the burglaries, six people died. Blank has already been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales. It took 40th Judicial District Judge, Sterling Snowdy, and attorneys 26 days to pick an impartial jury in Avoyelles Parish." Y’all, they had to move it because of the publicity of trial. Avoyelles way up river.

"Snowdy has ordered the jury selection in Marksville because he wanted to get a jury that was not tainted by the publicity surrounding all the homicides. The prosecution, led by St. John Parish Assistant District Attorney George Ann Graugnard, presented the jury with more than 25 pieces of evidence and 13 witnesses to prove the state’s case against Blank. The centerpiece of the prosecution’s attack was a four-hour videotape of Blank’s confession. Contained in the tape, a sometimes-sobbing, sometimes-cool Blank told detectives Todd Hymel of the St. John Sheriff’s Office and Mike Toney of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office how he climbed over the fence of the Brock residence in the Riverlands subdivision and hid for several hours in the backyard waiting for the Brocks to leave that morning. "

"When he thought the house was empty, Blank then tried several doors to gain entry into the house. Finding the back door unlocked, he entered and went straight to the bedroom where he knew the Brocks kept a safe. As he was dragging the safe out of the house, he heard a sound, walked outside and surprised Joan Brock in the backyard. She screamed and in response, Blank stabbed her four times with a butcher knife he found in her kitchen. Blank then tried to drag Brock’s body into the house, but he couldn’t manage it. He then rolled the safe out to his car in the garage, put the safe in the car, found the car keys in the kitchen and fled. Blank took over $30,000 and jewelry from the safe."

“She was a nice woman,” said a sobbing Blank in the videotape. “I had nothing against her. She was a sweet woman.” Blank, who was looking for money to feed his gambling habit, had worked for Douglas Brock as a mechanic several years before the murder. He felt that Brock had double-crossed him out of backpay, and he knew that there was money in the house. Blank’s defense attorney, Glen Cortello tried to persuade the jury that Blank could not have lifted the 260-pound safe by himself. However, in a dramatic demonstration, Detective Hymel, dressed in a white jumpsuit lifted the safe easily and placed it on a small cart."

Jim: Smart.

Woody: Right. That counteracts that. Later, in her closing statements, Graugnard said that Blank could also have easily levered the safe into the car by placing it against the back seat and lifting it up.

Jim: I don't mean to interrupt you, but this just occurred to me. This is someone who is used to lifting heavy things, engines and things like that. I'm not saying he picked up engines by himself, but he's used to lifting deadweight.

Woody: Yeah, and also, he went there to get that son of a bitch and he's going to get it out one way or another. And you'd be surprised what you can do after you just murdered somebody. The defense’s only witness was FBI polygraph expert, David Sparks, who interviewed Blank before he made his confession to Hymel and Toney. Cortello argued that Sparks had coached Blank in the details of the murder prior to the videotaped confession. Sparks admitted to telling Blank the time and date of the murder, and a description of the Brock house. Sparks added he told Blank where the body was discovered and the position of the body. He also told Blank what had been stolen from the house and that the safe had not been recovered.

But on cross-examination, Graugnard showed that Sparks had not told Blank other important details about the case, such as the amount of money and the jewelry in the safe, where the car keys were, or how weeds and cigarette ashes were found in Brock’s car after it was recovered. Douglas Brock had testified that he had just cleaned the car before the murder and that no one in his family smoked. During his taped confession, Blank gave specific instructions to the detectives where to find the safe he had dumped into the bayou about a mile from Sorrento. He also drew a detailed map of the Brock house with descriptions of his actions. In the backyard, near the house, he wrote, “Here is where I killed her with a large knife.”

In closing arguments, Graugnard told the jury that there was specific intent when Blank killed Brock. “When he heard her and saw her shadow, why didn’t he just leave through the front door?” Graungnard asked the jury. “No, there was specific intent. He was not going to leave that house without the money. He went out back and surprised Joan Brock. He hacked her four times with a 20-inch weapon.” Cortello’s closing centered on the confession, insisting that the confession had been coerced from Blank, and that Hymel had “hypnotized” Blank into confessing. “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to connect my client to the crime except for the statement,” said Cortello. On rebuttal, Graugnard told the jury, “Not to be fooled by the smoke. Blank made his confession voluntarily without any pressure from detectives.”

During the penalty phase of the trial, several psychiatrists were brought in to testify that Blank does have a mild learning disability and brain dysfunction, but neither of the doctors said that these two factors would impair Blank from committing the crime, or from knowing the difference between right and wrong. They said that there was no evidence of any psychosis. During the penalty phase after conviction, the Brock family testified that the loss of Joan Brock had a devastating effect on their family. The jury was also told at that point about the other five homicides attributed to Blank, which shocked most of the jury since Snowdy had ordered that no mention of the other crimes could be mentioned during the evidentiary phase of the trial.

Blank still faces trial for the first-degree murders of Victor Rossi of St. Amant, Barbara Bourgeois of Paulina; and Sam and Louella Arcuri of LaPlace. After sentence was passed, Joan Brock’s daughters were asked if the sentence of death had helped their state of mind. Stephanie Brock Sanchez said, “We feel a little better about things. But it will never be the same,” added Stacey Brock Sardenga. “We don’t have a mother anymore.”

Jim: Wow.

Woody: That's powerful. And again, y’all, what happened, like the psychiatrist and the other crimes cannot be admitted as evidence of this dude being a badass during the guilt phase of the trial. And once just the facts on that murder after that, when you go into the death penalty phase, that's when the guns come out. You can get to any prior criminal history, acts and statements and the facts showing that, “Hey, this dude gets out, they're going to do it again.”

Jim: That’s right. And so, he did get sentenced to death. And eventually, just to fast forward there, he was convicted and sentenced to death in that murder of Joan Brock, Lillian Philippe, he was also sentenced to death by lethal injection for the Arcuris. He took a plea on those and pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to two irrevocable life sentences. So, when all the dust settled there, he was convicted of everything he did, including two death sentences. But there was a problem. Anytime you're dealing with the judicial system and especially when you get sentenced to the death penalty, you can believe there's going to be 20 years of appeals, and relooking at evidence and fighting it.

Woody: One of the reasons he took a plea on the other cases is because he figures it's easier to fight two death penalty charges than it is to fight six. And he was able to concentrate on those.

Jim: So, he gets sentenced to Bloody Angola. He's serving his time.

Woody: He's on death row.

Jim: He's on death row. He's doing his appeals, as is sadly standard these days. And on February 17th of 2016, he was granted a stay of execution. And I'll just read you the quick article on that.

A stay of execution has been granted for convicted serial killer, Daniel Blank, by the Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday. Convicted serial killer, Daniel Blank, 53 as of that time, was scheduled to be executed on March 14th. However, officials with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections stated they do not have the drugs necessary to carry out the execution. A stay of execution is court ordered to temporarily suspend the execution of a court judgment or other court order. And it goes into all of the people that he killed, but they were having a problem with the drugs that they still supposedly have a problem with, and so--

Woody: Won't be a problem anymore. Jeff Landry just got elected governor and he's very pro-death penalty.

Jim: That's right.

Woody: He's about to end all that.

Jim: So, he's still appealing, and he got that stay of execution. And one of the things that he tries to work on these appeals is they were basically trying to say he was misled into why they wanted to meet in the first place, the police. Remember in the prior episode we told you that they went, meaning the detectives, went to Texas to formally interview him, I guess you could say, and they released some of that transcript. And so, I'll read you a little bit of that because it's interesting and we'll get Woody's thoughts on it.

The detective says, “Do you think we traveled this distance to speak to you about casino winnings, do-do you think legitimately that's why we're here?" Daniel Blank says, “Well basically you wanted to know where I got all my money from and that's why I gave him the papers,” meaning the papers documenting money won at the casino. The detective then says, “Well, we want both, both of us took a good number of notes and we've been speaking to you for about an hour and a half now.” And Daniel Blank says, “Uh-huh.” And the detective says, “Every single question that we asked you, we knew the answer to. And we do that for one reason, to see if you're going to lie to us.” Sound accurate, Woody Overton?

Woody: Absolutely.

Jim: So, sounds like this detective knew what he was doing. Daniel Blank says, “Right.” And the detective continues, "There is a few points that you did and there is a few things that you did withhold from us. We're not going to ask you a question that we don't know the answer to already.” Daniel Blank says, “Yeah.” And the detective says, “We've been doing this for far too long and we're pretty good at what we do.” And Daniel says, “Right.” And the detective says, “We're not going to come here half stepping and I'm not going to travel five hours and come speak to you without having all my ducks in a row.” The detective then says, “Okay, you have absolutely no idea why we're here to speak to you, is that what you're telling us?” And Daniel says, “Well, you want to know where I get my money from.” And the detective says, “Have you ever been questioned or spoken to by any other sheriff's office in the past for any crimes that have taken place?” And Daniel says, “Oh, I was called in about that deal about Rossi.” And the detective says, “Rossi homicide?” And he says, “Yeah.”

That's just kind of an example of how he was playing dumb. He knew, he knew exactly why they were there. He's the guy that killed these people, but he's totally playing stupid. But that's also a great example of detective work that they were letting him know we already know the answers to the questions--

Woody: They're establishing psychological control over him and preparing to cut off any denials, etc. And that's one of the things you do. You got to immediately cut off his denials. Now you give him enough rope to hang themselves and say whatever, but then they were like, “Hmm, you weren't there. Bull shit.”

Jim: So then, they continue on. And then it's the FBI agent. And if you'll remember in the last episode, he not only interrogated Daniel Blank, but he also did the polygraph. So, the FBI agent is talking to him, and he says, “You bet it's okay. But something occurred, and you decided you wanted more in your life. You thought you could take it the easy way. You thought you could get some money from somebody.” And Daniel Blank says, “No.” And then, the FBI agent says, “And then, something happened.” And Daniel says, “Un-un.” And then, the FBI agent says, “And when you went in there--” and he's talking about Joan Brock's residence, “when you went in there-- oh, don't shake your head. I know you don't deny it. Okay?”

Woody: He's cutting off the denials.

Jim: Yeah. “So, the investigation has been going on for six months, son. Okay? This didn't happen yesterday. We didn't just come down here in the middle of nowhere. We want to know what's going on. We already know what's going on. What we're trying to figure out is why. Because why this occurred is important.” “I don't know." Daniel Blank says. And then he says, “I want you to tell me, Daniel. Don't sit there and shake your head now. Come on. Let's be honest with each other, okay? Let's be honest with each other. It's time to have a meeting of the minds, okay? It's time for you to sit down and accept what you've done. Accept what you've done and let it go, okay?” And Daniel Blank says, “How can I accept something I ain't done?” And he says, “Yeah, yeah, but you have. You did, okay? And when you say you can't accept something you hadn't done, that's good, okay? Because that means in reality, you're going to say, ‘I can't accept I didn't do it because I did do it.’ That's what you're trying to tell me in your own streetwise way, that's what you're trying to tell me. Something happened. Something occurred in your life 16 months, 18 months ago, something made you snap all the way to here. I don't think it was drugs. I think it was something you said, I have to take care of my family, and I have to take care of my family now, and the time has come for me to take care of my family. You decided that you would take the easy way out. You didn't plan on hurting anybody, did you?”

Woody: Right. And giving chances.

Jim: So, what do you think about that?

Woody: Genius. Exactly what I said that you got to cut off any denials. You're establishing rapport. You're not totally going aboard his ass yet because you don't want to scare him off. Look, a good homicide interrogation doesn't even start until after five hours. That's when you start to get the juice, you start to break people down. I mean, people don't realize how long it takes them. One of the things I would have said was at a certain point, if you stick in and you get them to change the story, blah, blah, blah, and you stick in, I'd be like, “You know what, homie? The next time I ask you a question, if you feel like you have to lie to me, then don't say a fucking word. Because then you're going to insult my intelligence, and then I'm going to have to insult you.”

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: And as you're giving that thing, “Let's stay on the same page. I can help you, but don't keep fucking with me.”

Jim: Right. Exactly. And another thing came out in these appeals, and that was-- obviously in the appeal, one of the things that the police are trying to say is, “We knew he did it because he knew details that we never released to the public. Only the killer would have known about that. And when we interrogated him, he brought them up.” So, Woody's going to read, y'all, a part of the interrogation where he's talking about Ms. Philippe's death and exactly what took place in that death that I thought you may find interesting.

Woody: Right. So, Daniel Blank says, “Then, I went back in and turned the light back on and started looking some more, and I didn't find anything, so I gave up on it. I turned the light off. And when I come out, that's when I saw something swinging at me.” And the detective says, “You saw something swinging at you?” And Blank says, “Well, I saw a shadow of something. The light was off. The only light on was, I think, the bathroom light. And when I saw something coming at me with the shadow of the bathroom light and just put my arm up and then I grabbed it and pushed her.” And Detective says, “When you say you saw something swinging at you, was it a person?” Blank, “Yeah, it was the woman swinging something at me. I don't know if it was a lamp. I didn't see it. I just grabbed it. And it could have been a lamp, it could have been a trophy. It kind of felt more like a trophy. I don't know, it could have been one of them little skimpy lamps. I don't know. Well, that's when I pushed her. And then she comes at me with I don't know if it was a knife or one of them letter openers or something. I don't remember what it was. I didn't see it.” Detective says, “She had it in her hand?” Blank says, “Yeah, that's when I hit her with the thing I had in my hand, and then I grabbed it and I cut her with the knife. I don't remember where I cut her or how I did it, it just happened so fast. I just freaked out then and I left after that.”

Detective, “All right, so you're saying while you was in the closet, you heard some noise and you turned the light out in the closet?” Blank says, “Right.” Detective says, “And then, you wait a little while and you turn the light back on?” Blank says, “No, I turned the light off when I heard a noise and then I kind of opened the closet door and peeked out, and I didn't see anything or didn't hear anything. And I waited a couple of seconds and then I closed the door back and turned the light back on. And then, when I was ready to get out after I had looked around and they had all kinds of stuff in there, I kind of emptied the drawers out and stuff like that and didn't find anything. And I just decided to leave.” Detective says, “Okay.”

And Blank says, “And then when I come out, that's when I turned the light off and opened the door and come out, that's when she was standing there and she had something in her hand and swung it at me.” And the detective says, “And you took it away from her?” Blank says, “I put my hand up like that and it hit me on arm and then I grabbed it and pushed her back onto the bed. And then she grabbed something off of the coffee table, and it could have been a knife or could have been one of them letter overs. I don't remember.” Detective, “Okay, so when she went to grab this, you had this trophy?” Blank says, “She come up.” The detective says, “Or lamp in your hand?” And Blank says, “Yeah, she come up, and all I seen was like a shadow because there was no light. And the light was where I shined in front of the bathroom and the bathroom door wasn't all the way open, it was kind of cracked. And well, then she come back at me with the knife and I tried to grab it, but I couldn't see her arm to grab it. And I just kind of ducked to the side and I hit her with the thing that I had in my hand.”

Detective says, “What part of the body did you hit?” He says, “I think it hit her in the head. I ain't sure. I think that's where I hit her.” The detective says, “And what does she do?” Blank says, “Well, after that, I pushed her and then I grabbed her hand with a knife, and I know I cut her. I don't know where.” But detective says, “Was she standing up when you cut her or—” then Blank interrupts and says, “No, she was laying on the-- I think when I pushed her, she was laying across the bed or at the edge of bed. And after that, I did that and then I left.” And detective says, “But you hit her with the knife too then?” Blank says, “Yeah.” And detective says, “Okay. You left.” Blank says, “I grabbed her arm or hand or something and went back with it. And then, I took the knife and I ain't positive, but I think I hit her twice with it. I ain't sure. I don't remember. It just happened so fast, and I was just scared and I just took out and left.”

Jim: Now, you're going to know all those details, and you didn't do it.

Woody: That tells me this guy's smart. He's actually replaying it in his mind. It's not like he's reading the script. He's like, “Oh, yeah, that's right, because the bathroom light was on." It wasn't this light. It was the bathroom light. "And then I saw something coming at me and it tried to freak me out and I grabbed it, and I don't know if it was a lamp or it was a trophy, maybe,” but he's not totally clear on everything. But he knows enough, like I said, “So, she was standing when you stabbed her?” And he's like, “No, she was laying on the bed.” Why would you say that?

Jim: Right.

Woody: Why would you make that up?

Jim: The detective questioning him, he already knows where she was stabbed and all these things. I would imagine what you're doing at this point is trying to build a case. [crosstalk] You're proving that he knew.

Woody: Confirm the evidence that you have.

Jim: Yeah. So, good job by them. One other thing that came up on the appeal, and a good thing to ask you, Woody, is the polygraph itself. And Daniel Blank tried to say that he didn't know he could get out of a polygraph.

Woody: [crosstalk] You have polygraph rights, they have to read it to you before every exam.

Jim: There you go. And here was just a short conversation that took place between him and the detectives when they asked him to submit to a polygraph. Daniel Blank, “What choice do I have?” Detective, “Well, it's your choice.” And then the other detective says, “It's your choice.” And Daniel Blank says, “If I refuse it, then what?” And the detective says, “That's your prerogative. I mean, this is something that we ask you before, if you're responsible for committing to these homicides, and you stated no.” And Daniel Blank says, “I mean, if I refuse it, then what are y'all going to do to me?” And the detective says, “Well, I got to be honest with you, if you're looking from an investigative standpoint, it doesn't look too good. But that's only my opinion. I mean, that's just my opinion.” Daniel Blank says, “Well, what I'm saying is if I refuse to take the polygraph, what are you going to do? You're going to arrest me?” And the detective says, “You're not under arrest.” You have that conversation, it's recorded. That proves that they're telling you they're not threatening to arrest you.

Woody: They never threatened.

Jim: We're just saying it don't look good if you refuse.

Woody: [crosstalk] it didn't, they weren't lying about that. Let me tell you something. Getting people passed, giving permission for a polygraph is probably the hardest thing today, especially the guilty people. Now, there's two kinds of people that take the test. The ones who take it because they know they can pass it and the ones who take it like Daniel Blank, because they know their ass is in a crack and they're hoping by some miracle that they'll show a no deception indicated.

Jim: That's right. Long story short, he exhausts his appeals and now he's in a position where he is just awaiting his death-

Woody: Oh, it's coming.

Jim: -in Bloody-

Woody: -Angola. And he's on the row. And guess what? He was one of the ones that did this recent clemency push or whatever-- push for clemency hearings. But time is up. The new sheriff's in town per se with Jeff Landry coming in because he's the one that's been fighting the governor about, and the governor basically in the end came out and said he didn't believe in executions and all that.

But I'm going to give a shoutout to investigators. Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Ascension Parish. Look, great guy. I actually did my internship for my polygraph license. They had a certified polygraph examiner by this time, Greg Landry. And Jeff Wiley had to prove it, I had to go over there every week and stuff and work with one of his detectives who was a polygraph guy. Look, Ascension Parish sheriff’s house, one of the best equipment wise and training wise and everything else. And Mike Toney has been there forever. He's got to be retired now, but I knew him and worked cases with him. But he was the lead investigator on the case for Ascension Parish.

And then, Willy Martin who is the sheriff of St. James Parish, great guy, shoutout. And Sid Berthelot was the first respondent officer of St. James Parish, shoutout to him. And Todd Hymel was the lead investigator for St. John Parish, shoutout. I mean not that often they get to work these. And CJ Destor was the investigator for St. John Parish who assisted and Dowell Brenn, the investigator for Gonzales police. I don't believe he's there any longer. And Dan Funk, who was the FBI special agent. These guys caught probably one of the most prolific serial killers you never heard about.

Jim: Absolutely. So, shoutout to just amazing detective work by a lot of those guys and something very admirable. If you know any of those guys, and they're still around and would like to do an interview with us, we'd love to have them on, sit down and talk to them.

Woody: I think Sheriff Wiley is a senator now-- a senator or congressman or something. Not meant congressman, but I saw him at the Chamber of Commerce when I did the Chamber of Commerce.

Jim: Oh, did you?

Woody: He was with Jason [unintelligible 00:54:09].

Jim: Okay. Well, it’d be great if we get him on.

Woody: And Jason said, “You remember Jeff Wiley?” I said, “Sheriff, yeah, I remember.” I told him about the polygraph thing, he laughed and he was [unintelligible [00:55:34] case and all the big cases [crosstalk] but he's since retired and moved on.

Jim: We want to remember the victims of these cases. And I'm sure there's a lot of family out there that are listening to this right now. Matter of fact, I know one in particular that her cousin was involved in this. So, shoutout to you. And Victor Rossi, Barbara Bourgeois, Lillian Philippe, Sam Arcuri, Louella Arcuri, Joan Brock, all murdered, but you're in our thoughts and prayers and your families.

Woody: It's a ripple of fagging time, someone's murdered, people just hear the headlines of the murder victims, but every one of them have families.

Jim: Yeah. And Leonce and Joyce Millet, who were not killed, they were survivors. And I'm sure they have family still out there.

Woody: Yeah. And Patreon members, thank you again for your support. Y'all, go to patreon.com and type in Bloody Angola. We've got a bunch of different levels, a bunch of different ways that things that you can get for showing us support the Patreon. If you can't be a Patreon member, we get it, we love and appreciate all you all. Please go leave us reviews and like and share and help us continue to grow. Hey, and we are for, 2023, Bloody Angola won the best history podcast in the world.

Jim: In the world.

Woody: Because of y'all. You rock.

Jim: Because of y'all. That's right. And we appreciate that so much. So until next time, I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: I'm Woody Overton.

Jim: Your host of Bloody-

Woody: -Angola.

Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Woody and Jim: Peace.


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In this episode of Bloody Angola: A True Crime Podcast by Woody Overton and Jim Chapman we bring you inside the hunt for the River Parishes Serial Killer Daniel Blank who terrorized the Parishes of Ascension, St James, and St John Parish in 2007 & 2008.

#DanielBlank #Serialkiller #louisiana #riverparishesserialkiller #bloodyangolapodcast #truecrime

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TRANSCRIPT

BLOODY ANGOLA PODCAST RIVER PARISHES SERIAL KILLER PART 2

Jim: Hey everyone, and welcome back to Bloody-

Woody: -Angola.

Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Jim: And I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: And I'm Woody Overton.

Jim: We're in Part 2-

Woody: Part 2, baby.

Jim: -of the River Parishes.

Woody: Serial killer.

Jim: Yes. Just real quick, where we left off in Part 1. Of course, Victor Rossi, October 17th of 1996, was murdered. On April 9th of 1997, Lillian Philippe was found murdered. On May 18th of 1997, Barbara Bourgeois was found murdered. On May 9th of 1997, Sam and Luella Arcuri found murdered. May 14th of 1997, Joan Brock found murdered. And July 7th of 1997, the attempted murder of Leonce and Joyce Millet. And on November 14th of 1997, Daniel Blank finally arrested in Onalaska, Texas. So we're going to pick up from that point. They bring him back to Louisiana.

Woody: This is after he confessed, y’all.

Jim: And look, these are small town detectives, and they got a serial killer in the back of that vehicle. And one of the comments that the detective made was when they pulled into the parish, you had droves of people on both sides of the road and give you goosebumps and they're cheering. And these detectives, this meant something to this community, what these guys have done. So, they start, obviously you get back, and now you've got this guy off the street and you're starting to piece things together at this point.

Woody: Just because you make an arrest doesn't mean the case is over by a long shot. You're going to continue to work and gain more evidence to get the prosecution ultimately.

Jim: And especially one like this, where there was no physical evidence. I don't know if I'd say he was smart enough, but for whatever reason, he didn't leave behind fingerprints, he didn't leave behind DNA, which was amazing considering the brutality of these killings.

Woody: I would imagine he was gloved up.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: He wasn't a dummy.

Jim: No.

Woody: Doesn't mean he was formally educated. He was smart.

Jim: That's right. And so, they do, they start investigating it. And guess what they do?

Woody: Here we go, y'all. Not only was he arrested, but his girlfriend was arrested. And we'll go to an article, it says Destrehan. Y'all, that's another town in St. John, I believe. The article from the AP Wire says, "Investigators have arrested the woman who lived with Daniel Blank in Texas, saying she drove the accused serial killer to the homes of the people he killed and robbed in Louisiana River parishes. Cindy Bellard, 35, was taken into custody late Monday evening at her sister's home in Destrehan. Bellard, who moved with Blank and their children to Onalaska, Texas, in late July knew his intent, authorities said. Sheriff Jeff Wiley--" and I'm going to interrupt real quick. I've worked a lot of cases with Jeff Wiley. I think he's a state senator or something now like that. But he's retired from sheriffing and he's a great guy. But it says, "Sheriff Jeff Wiley said she was booked into the Ascension Parish jail one count of principal to first degree murder, two counts of principal to attempted first degree murder, and principal to aggravated burglary."

"Blank, 35, was booked last week on charges of beaten and stabbing to death six River Parish residents from October 1996 to July 1997. He tried to kill two more people in an attacking Gonzales, authorities said. Authorities said Blank, who robbed to support a gambling addiction, has confessed. It was that gambling habit that eventually cemented the case against Black, Wiley said. In Texas, where Blank was picked up for questioning last Thursday, Polk County Sheriff Billy Ray Nelson Jr, said authorities had been tipped to Blank's lavish spending at Louisiana casinos, including one where Blank was throwing around $100 bills as if he were a wealthy man."

"One of the houses where he killed, he stole $100 bills, Nelson said. Nelson said authorities weren't expecting a confession when they searched his auto repair shop and home last Thursday. But about eight hours into interrogations, Blank began giving details of the crimes, launching into half-hour accounts of each attack, Nelson said. In one incident, he told investigators how he had killed a woman in her backyard and then dragged her into her home, Nelson said. In some cases, Blank told authorities he lurked around the victim's homes for hours before killing them. What he said was just so creepy, Nelson said. Wiley said Blank would hang around the victims’ homes in the dark of late night or early morning, hoping the occupants would eventually leave. Unfortunately, the people didn't leave, Wiley said. Leonce and Joyce Millet, both 66, of Gonzales, survived an attack in their home last July. The victims in the other attacks were Victor Rossi, 41, of St. Amant, Barbara Bourgeois, 58, of Paulina, Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales, Sam Arcuri, 76, and Louella Arcuri, 69, of LaPlace, and Joan Brock, 55, of LaPlace."

"Wiley said Blank often used weapons he found inside his victims’ homes. Wiley said he didn't know if Bellard would be connected to Blank's alleged crimes in other parishes. Efforts to contact other authorities Monday night were not successful. Wiley said Bellard was questioned when Blank was arrested in Onalaska. Bellard told investigators that she and the children were returning to Louisiana to stay with her sister and brother-in-law in Destrehan. Investigators always had a strong suspicion that Bellard had helped Blank, Wiley said, adding that it was impossible for her to have lived with Blank for several years without knowing of his crimes. In some cases, Blank stole victims' cars to transport stolen safes, which he took to his home in Paulina to break open, Wiley said. He said two of the safes have been recovered, one in St. John and one in Ascension. She's living with a man, spending a significant amount of money with very little income, Wiley said. He's gambling, buying a house, tools, setting up a business. Someone living with him had to wonder where all that money was coming from."

Jim: Right.

Woody: Great article.

Jim: And I'll tell you, that to them was also a piece of a puzzle because remember, no physical evidence. So, if you're thinking like I'm thinking, and I'm sure Woody's thinking, you can look at this girlfriend two ways. You can look at her as a suspect or you can look at her as a witness. And they had more value in her as a witness. They were concerned. They were concerned because although they had just tons of circumstantial evidence and people do get found guilty strictly on circumstantial in some cases, but it's a roll of the dice. So, what do they do? They go to her, and they say, “Look, we'll go ahead and we'll drop these charges against you. We'll drop them all. But you got to agree to testify against--”

Woody: You got to give up the juice. And certainly, she had to know.

Jim: Absolutely. And so, what does she do? She says, “Hell yeah.”

Woody: Because, y’all, look, principle two, it means you're just as guilty. And she's looking at every charge that he's looking at and give her the out. But I'm sure it was the prosecutors that are like, “Hey--" First of all, they have to agree to drop charges if she testifies. But they needed her to testify.

Jim: That's right. They needed it desperately in this case. So, she agrees. She says, “I will testify.” And they say, “You testify, we'll drop the charges and it'll be all over with.” Whether you agree with that or not, this is a case where I see that they needed that person. So, we're going to fast forward a little bit and we're going to bring you to December 12th of 1998. And this is in the middle of the trial. And I found this interesting because this centers around the lie detector test. And so, I'm going to read you this article.

"FBI Agent Testifies Suspect Blank Failed Lie Detector Test. An FBI agent testified in court Wednesday that accused multiple murderer, Daniel Blank, failed a lie detector test on the day he was arrested in Texas. Near the end of a day-long hearing on a motion to suppress the video and audio tape confessions of Blank, Assistant District Attorney Charles "Chuck" Long asked FBI Agent David Sparks of Houston, Texas why he questioned Blank after administering the polygraph test to him in Onalaska, Texas, on November of 1997."

Sparks said he wanted to find out why Blank "had problems" with the test. "Did you find out?" Long asked. "No, he didn’t tell me why he failed the test," Sparks replied. Defense Attorney Glenn Cortello immediately objected, arguing the results of polygraph examinations are not admissible in court. Long countered that Cortello and his co-counsel, Andy Van Dyke, contended in their motion to suppress evidence that police officers lied to Blank about the results of the test in order to get him to confess. Therefore, Long said he had the right to show Blank failed the test and there was no reason for detectives to lie to him about the results."

"23rd Judicial District Judge John L. Peytavin did not immediately rule on the issue. Ascension Parish Sheriff Detective Mike Toney and St. John the Baptist sheriff’s Detective Todd Hymel testified at length Wednesday about the 12 hours they questioned Blank about six slayings, and two attempted murders. In Ascension, Blank is charged with murdering Victor Rossi, 41, of St. Amant and Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales, and attempting to murder Leonce and Joyce Millet, both 66 at the time they were assaulted in their home on the outskirts of Gonzales. In St. John Parish, he is charged with the killings in LaPlace of Joan Brock, 58, and Sam Arcuri, 76, and his wife, Louella, who was 69.

Woody: Y'all, they're trying the cases in Ascension Parish first, even though there's six victims, because they were in different parishes, that's a different jurisdiction, they have to try them separately.

Jim: Yeah, he's got to answer for all those crimes separately. And then so the very next day, something happens. I guess Daniel Blank was getting a little bit nervous. The prosecution is putting on a heck of a case.

Woody: Mm-hmm. And this was published on December 11th in 1998. It says, “Suspect in murders attempts to escape by John McMillan of the River Parishes Bureau. Mild-mannered accused multiple murderer, Daniel Blank, Thursday broke out a window in a second floor restroom of Ascension Parish courthouse in Donaldsonville and leaped to the ground below, where he was a free man for less than a minute."

Jim: Now, y'all, take that in. You just had the River Parishes serial killer break out a window and escape.

Woody: Right.

Jim: So, what are you going to tell you how the hell that happens?

Woody: "Within 30 to 45 seconds, he was apprehended and back in custody, Ascension Sheriff Jeff Wiley said, departmentally, we've responded in a quick fashion, but it shouldn't have happened. There was a security breach here to an extent. Blank, who usually registers no emotion in his court appearances and is described by his attorneys as very quiet, was being brought into the courthouse for a hearing when the escape attempt occurred. The hearing was on a motion to prevent the use of a videotape confessions he made to six River Parish slayings and two attempted murders. Wiley said four correctional officers brought the small, slightly built defendant into the courthouse from the Ascension Parish prison."

It's funny, I'm going to interrupt so y'all, understand this. The Ascension Parish prison is actually outside of Donaldsonville. Ascension's Parish is actually split. The Mississippi River splits it right in half. It has a Sunshine Bridge is what they call it, that goes over to where that-- and I've been in that prison many, many times.

"Handcuffs, leg shackles, and a bulletproof vest were removed from Blank in an anteroom between the two courtrooms on the second floor of the old courthouse building to make him presentable for court, Wiley said. After those items were removed, he told officers he had to defecate bad, Wiley said. Two of them walked him back to an area that's used as a juror room or judge's chambers that has a bathroom. They made a decision to let him take care of his business, Wiley said. The officers partially closed the bathroom door and Blank sat down on a toilet in a stall. In rapid fashion, he leaps up and slams the bathroom door shut and locks it and grabs an old antebellum window shutter and breaks the glass and leaps out, Wiley said.

Jim: All right, I'm going to stop you real quick. You're an officer and this dude's taking a shit, the door slams and locks. What's going through your mind?

Woody: Oh, fuck, I'm about to lose my job.

[laughter]

Woody: Let me tell you what. I had so many bad guys, especially during the interrogations, etc., a lot of times, they get nervous and had to take a shit right before they give me a confession. And you better believe every one of them, I stood in there with a stall open and I listened to them shit, and I watched some shit because I wasn't taking my eyes off of him. I mean, this dude killed six people, man, and attempted to kill two more, right? [crosstalk]

Jim: He just shut and locked the door on you.

Woody: He slammed, that's the “oh, shit” moment.

Jim: Unshackled.

Woody: Unshackled. Yeah. You could poop with the shackles on, but they just fucked up on that one, no doubt about it. He breaks the glass, y'all, and he jumps out. And the sheriff said Blank landed on the roof of a one-story building adjacent to the courthouse and then jumped to the ground. Sheriff's deputies outside the courthouse spotted him and chased him down.

Jim: I could imagine, seeing this dude jump on the ground and they're like, “Ah, that's a serial killer.” Oh, my God.

Woody: “Ah, that's a serial killer.” "He didn't get far, Wiley said. Blank was then put in the prison van and taken back to jail, Wiley said. The sheriff then called District Judge John L. Peytavin, who was conducting the hearing, and the judge asked that Blank be brought back to court to complete the proceedings. The judge’s order was carried out and the hearing, with Blank present, was conducted. The judge said he would study the motion to suppress Blank’s confessions before issuing a ruling." Y’all, this isn't a trial. This is one of the many motions to suppress and all kinds of stuff that the defense tries to do. It's a free shot for the defense to find out what the prosecution has, but our article continues.

"Later, Blank was examined at Prevost Hospital in Donaldsonville where it was discovered he had a broken heel bone, the sheriff said. Blank was being treated for his injury at a state hospital that he declined to name. "I don’t want to blame it, the escape, on an antiquated courthouse, but we’ve always been at a disadvantage in that old courthouse," Wiley said. "It has no bars on the windows. The reality is, we have no inmate bathrooms, no inmate-holding facility, but the primary cause was our inattention." "You don’t partially close the door on a murder suspect,” the sheriff said. "We had sufficient personnel. "Our options were to tell him "You can’t use the bathroom," but we’re all sensitive to his constitutional rights and they made the call to let him. They should have reshackled him or stayed on each side of him while he used the toilet," Wiley said." The sheriff said he met with the warden of the parish prison and the supervisor of the detail guarding Blank and, "I’m looking at some administrative changes."

[laughter]

Somebody’s ass getting fired. "Nobody was intentionally derelict, but I’ve got to make sure the people involved in guarding Blank are more attentive. The security detail will not be involved with such a defendant in the future," Wiley said. "I hate this for the community and for the victims’ survivors," the sheriff said. "The last thing the public should have to worry about is this guy escaping. They should be able to rest comfortably knowing that my department is on top of it. What happened leaves a little bit to be desired. It shouldn’t have happened," Wiley said. Blank’s next court appearance is scheduled Wednesday when Judge Peytavin will hear arguments regarding evidence that can be presented during the sentencing phase of the trial should he be convicted."

Jim: Now two things, y’all, it's obviously not funny. Thank God he was caught. I'm pretty sure somebody probably got shitcanned over that deal. [crosstalk] Could you imagine being the one to have to call the sheriff?

Woody: Oh, my God.

Jim: I mean, I bet they were all like, “I ain't calling.”

Woody: I mean, we had it happen-- [crosstalk]

Jim: And that's what my second part of this was going to be.

Woody: Gerald Bordelon and John Priest escape, the two worst we had in Livingston Parish Jail at the time. And they left them out on a walkway, like for their outside time, the walkway just has that chain link fence. And they had a maintenance cart they left on the hallway and the maintenance cart had a pair of pliers. So, when the guys in the control room aren't paying attention and there's nobody watching them from other side, they got the pliers and snipped the damn fence, and ran and jumped over and got out.

Jim: And, y'all, one of these individual's on death row right now.

Woody: Well, one of them is dead on death row. He's the last person executed in South Louisiana. John Priest lured homosexual men into things and robbed them but the last one he robbed-- he just got out of jail that day. He robbed him and then pulled all his teeth and then set him on fire so his body couldn't be identified.

Jim: Wow.

Woody: Yeah. And he's a bad dude. That dude's evil. He's doing multiple life sentences, but--

Jim: He's in Bloody Angola.

Woody: He's in Bloody Angola, sure is. We might have to do a story one day.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: Because he was a bad-- He's a young kid too. Just fucking evil as fuck. So, yeah, pretty sure you want to have your hands on this cat at all time.

Jim: Oh yeah. Whoever that was didn't last long. I'm sure now in any trial the defense is going to-- you might as well expect it, they're going to do profiles, or rather they're going to get with psychiatrists. And these psychiatrists [crosstalk] yes, do these evaluations. And Daniel Blank was no different. And during the trial, as is standard with pretty much all your violent murder cases, he undergoes this evaluation with a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with what's known as schizoaffective paranoia disorder.

Woody: That’s bullshit.

Jim: [laughs] Now, if you're wondering what that is, it's a mental health disorder that is marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, and mood disorder symptoms such as depression or mania. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder, both of which include symptoms of schizophrenia. There are bipolar type, which includes episodes of mania and sometimes major depression or depressive type, which includes only major depressive episodes. And it affects people differently. According to psychiatrists, it was also discovered that he had a learning disability that hampered his verbal ability as well as his understanding of abstract concepts, which is a fancy kind of like psychobabble jargon, basically saying he didn't know how to deal with his emotions like a normal person. Well-

Woody: Whatever.

Jim: -cry me a fucking river. I don't give a shit. You killed six people.

Woody: Every death penalty case we do, they put on these so-called experts and they come up with the same shit every time. What they're trying to do is ultimately, if he's found guilty, they're going to say, “Hey, look, here's a mitigating circumstance why he shouldn't be put to death because he doesn't think like the rest of us.” And the death penalty phase, series 1 through 10, they did the same thing. They brought in two different neuropsychologists and then a psychiatrist and they said the same shit and whatever.

Jim: Well, here's the way, if I were a prosecutor, kind of poke bullshit in this whole thought process is in regard to his cognitive ability. I would say he probably had some upper-level cognitive skills because that's-- cognitive ability, y’all, is the ability to problem solve basically. This guy was a master mechanic.

Woody: Yeah.

Jim: That's all about problem solving.

Woody: Not only that, he didn't leave any trace of himself at the crime scenes. That shows planning and that he was smart, like I said earlier.

Jim: That's right. And he wasn't book smart, as a matter of fact, he only made it to the eighth grade. His reading was on a third-grade level, they say, but his IQ was an 85, which is on the lower side of normal. And IQ test, you know.

Woody: Yeah, I'm sure that if I'm facing a death penalty, I can play dumb on an IQ test too.

Jim: So, they go through the trial, y’all, and eventually they come back with a verdict. What we're going to read you now is the verdict for the Joan Brock case. Well, he was sentenced to death this. So, Woody?

Woody: Article is on April 11th of 2000. Says, "The jury took less than 45 minutes Monday to sentence Daniel Blank to death for the slaying of LaPlace housewife, Joan Brock, on May 14th, 1997. Saturday, it took the same jury seven hours to find Blank guilty of the same murder. Wearing the same wrinkled, blue work shirt, tan pants and tennis shoes that he wore throughout the six-day trial, Blank showed no emotion as both decisions were read to him."

"On the other hand, during the reading of the death penalty decision, several of the jurors were weeping. “I feel better now,” said Douglas Brock, widower of Joan Brock, as he walked out of the St. John the Baptist Parish courthouse in Edgard. “I really do feel better.” Brock’s murder is one of the six attributed to Blank in a 10-month killing spree in 1996 and 1997. He allegedly broke into people’s houses to steal money to feed a video poker gambling habit. During the burglaries, six people died. Blank has already been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Lillian Philippe, 71, of Gonzales. It took 40th Judicial District Judge, Sterling Snowdy, and attorneys 26 days to pick an impartial jury in Avoyelles Parish." Y’all, they had to move it because of the publicity of trial. Avoyelles way up river.

"Snowdy has ordered the jury selection in Marksville because he wanted to get a jury that was not tainted by the publicity surrounding all the homicides. The prosecution, led by St. John Parish Assistant District Attorney George Ann Graugnard, presented the jury with more than 25 pieces of evidence and 13 witnesses to prove the state’s case against Blank. The centerpiece of the prosecution’s attack was a four-hour videotape of Blank’s confession. Contained in the tape, a sometimes-sobbing, sometimes-cool Blank told detectives Todd Hymel of the St. John Sheriff’s Office and Mike Toney of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office how he climbed over the fence of the Brock residence in the Riverlands subdivision and hid for several hours in the backyard waiting for the Brocks to leave that morning. "

"When he thought the house was empty, Blank then tried several doors to gain entry into the house. Finding the back door unlocked, he entered and went straight to the bedroom where he knew the Brocks kept a safe. As he was dragging the safe out of the house, he heard a sound, walked outside and surprised Joan Brock in the backyard. She screamed and in response, Blank stabbed her four times with a butcher knife he found in her kitchen. Blank then tried to drag Brock’s body into the house, but he couldn’t manage it. He then rolled the safe out to his car in the garage, put the safe in the car, found the car keys in the kitchen and fled. Blank took over $30,000 and jewelry from the safe."

“She was a nice woman,” said a sobbing Blank in the videotape. “I had nothing against her. She was a sweet woman.” Blank, who was looking for money to feed his gambling habit, had worked for Douglas Brock as a mechanic several years before the murder. He felt that Brock had double-crossed him out of backpay, and he knew that there was money in the house. Blank’s defense attorney, Glen Cortello tried to persuade the jury that Blank could not have lifted the 260-pound safe by himself. However, in a dramatic demonstration, Detective Hymel, dressed in a white jumpsuit lifted the safe easily and placed it on a small cart."

Jim: Smart.

Woody: Right. That counteracts that. Later, in her closing statements, Graugnard said that Blank could also have easily levered the safe into the car by placing it against the back seat and lifting it up.

Jim: I don't mean to interrupt you, but this just occurred to me. This is someone who is used to lifting heavy things, engines and things like that. I'm not saying he picked up engines by himself, but he's used to lifting deadweight.

Woody: Yeah, and also, he went there to get that son of a bitch and he's going to get it out one way or another. And you'd be surprised what you can do after you just murdered somebody. The defense’s only witness was FBI polygraph expert, David Sparks, who interviewed Blank before he made his confession to Hymel and Toney. Cortello argued that Sparks had coached Blank in the details of the murder prior to the videotaped confession. Sparks admitted to telling Blank the time and date of the murder, and a description of the Brock house. Sparks added he told Blank where the body was discovered and the position of the body. He also told Blank what had been stolen from the house and that the safe had not been recovered.

But on cross-examination, Graugnard showed that Sparks had not told Blank other important details about the case, such as the amount of money and the jewelry in the safe, where the car keys were, or how weeds and cigarette ashes were found in Brock’s car after it was recovered. Douglas Brock had testified that he had just cleaned the car before the murder and that no one in his family smoked. During his taped confession, Blank gave specific instructions to the detectives where to find the safe he had dumped into the bayou about a mile from Sorrento. He also drew a detailed map of the Brock house with descriptions of his actions. In the backyard, near the house, he wrote, “Here is where I killed her with a large knife.”

In closing arguments, Graugnard told the jury that there was specific intent when Blank killed Brock. “When he heard her and saw her shadow, why didn’t he just leave through the front door?” Graungnard asked the jury. “No, there was specific intent. He was not going to leave that house without the money. He went out back and surprised Joan Brock. He hacked her four times with a 20-inch weapon.” Cortello’s closing centered on the confession, insisting that the confession had been coerced from Blank, and that Hymel had “hypnotized” Blank into confessing. “There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to connect my client to the crime except for the statement,” said Cortello. On rebuttal, Graugnard told the jury, “Not to be fooled by the smoke. Blank made his confession voluntarily without any pressure from detectives.”

During the penalty phase of the trial, several psychiatrists were brought in to testify that Blank does have a mild learning disability and brain dysfunction, but neither of the doctors said that these two factors would impair Blank from committing the crime, or from knowing the difference between right and wrong. They said that there was no evidence of any psychosis. During the penalty phase after conviction, the Brock family testified that the loss of Joan Brock had a devastating effect on their family. The jury was also told at that point about the other five homicides attributed to Blank, which shocked most of the jury since Snowdy had ordered that no mention of the other crimes could be mentioned during the evidentiary phase of the trial.

Blank still faces trial for the first-degree murders of Victor Rossi of St. Amant, Barbara Bourgeois of Paulina; and Sam and Louella Arcuri of LaPlace. After sentence was passed, Joan Brock’s daughters were asked if the sentence of death had helped their state of mind. Stephanie Brock Sanchez said, “We feel a little better about things. But it will never be the same,” added Stacey Brock Sardenga. “We don’t have a mother anymore.”

Jim: Wow.

Woody: That's powerful. And again, y’all, what happened, like the psychiatrist and the other crimes cannot be admitted as evidence of this dude being a badass during the guilt phase of the trial. And once just the facts on that murder after that, when you go into the death penalty phase, that's when the guns come out. You can get to any prior criminal history, acts and statements and the facts showing that, “Hey, this dude gets out, they're going to do it again.”

Jim: That’s right. And so, he did get sentenced to death. And eventually, just to fast forward there, he was convicted and sentenced to death in that murder of Joan Brock, Lillian Philippe, he was also sentenced to death by lethal injection for the Arcuris. He took a plea on those and pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to two irrevocable life sentences. So, when all the dust settled there, he was convicted of everything he did, including two death sentences. But there was a problem. Anytime you're dealing with the judicial system and especially when you get sentenced to the death penalty, you can believe there's going to be 20 years of appeals, and relooking at evidence and fighting it.

Woody: One of the reasons he took a plea on the other cases is because he figures it's easier to fight two death penalty charges than it is to fight six. And he was able to concentrate on those.

Jim: So, he gets sentenced to Bloody Angola. He's serving his time.

Woody: He's on death row.

Jim: He's on death row. He's doing his appeals, as is sadly standard these days. And on February 17th of 2016, he was granted a stay of execution. And I'll just read you the quick article on that.

A stay of execution has been granted for convicted serial killer, Daniel Blank, by the Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday. Convicted serial killer, Daniel Blank, 53 as of that time, was scheduled to be executed on March 14th. However, officials with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections stated they do not have the drugs necessary to carry out the execution. A stay of execution is court ordered to temporarily suspend the execution of a court judgment or other court order. And it goes into all of the people that he killed, but they were having a problem with the drugs that they still supposedly have a problem with, and so--

Woody: Won't be a problem anymore. Jeff Landry just got elected governor and he's very pro-death penalty.

Jim: That's right.

Woody: He's about to end all that.

Jim: So, he's still appealing, and he got that stay of execution. And one of the things that he tries to work on these appeals is they were basically trying to say he was misled into why they wanted to meet in the first place, the police. Remember in the prior episode we told you that they went, meaning the detectives, went to Texas to formally interview him, I guess you could say, and they released some of that transcript. And so, I'll read you a little bit of that because it's interesting and we'll get Woody's thoughts on it.

The detective says, “Do you think we traveled this distance to speak to you about casino winnings, do-do you think legitimately that's why we're here?" Daniel Blank says, “Well basically you wanted to know where I got all my money from and that's why I gave him the papers,” meaning the papers documenting money won at the casino. The detective then says, “Well, we want both, both of us took a good number of notes and we've been speaking to you for about an hour and a half now.” And Daniel Blank says, “Uh-huh.” And the detective says, “Every single question that we asked you, we knew the answer to. And we do that for one reason, to see if you're going to lie to us.” Sound accurate, Woody Overton?

Woody: Absolutely.

Jim: So, sounds like this detective knew what he was doing. Daniel Blank says, “Right.” And the detective continues, "There is a few points that you did and there is a few things that you did withhold from us. We're not going to ask you a question that we don't know the answer to already.” Daniel Blank says, “Yeah.” And the detective says, “We've been doing this for far too long and we're pretty good at what we do.” And Daniel says, “Right.” And the detective says, “We're not going to come here half stepping and I'm not going to travel five hours and come speak to you without having all my ducks in a row.” The detective then says, “Okay, you have absolutely no idea why we're here to speak to you, is that what you're telling us?” And Daniel says, “Well, you want to know where I get my money from.” And the detective says, “Have you ever been questioned or spoken to by any other sheriff's office in the past for any crimes that have taken place?” And Daniel says, “Oh, I was called in about that deal about Rossi.” And the detective says, “Rossi homicide?” And he says, “Yeah.”

That's just kind of an example of how he was playing dumb. He knew, he knew exactly why they were there. He's the guy that killed these people, but he's totally playing stupid. But that's also a great example of detective work that they were letting him know we already know the answers to the questions--

Woody: They're establishing psychological control over him and preparing to cut off any denials, etc. And that's one of the things you do. You got to immediately cut off his denials. Now you give him enough rope to hang themselves and say whatever, but then they were like, “Hmm, you weren't there. Bull shit.”

Jim: So then, they continue on. And then it's the FBI agent. And if you'll remember in the last episode, he not only interrogated Daniel Blank, but he also did the polygraph. So, the FBI agent is talking to him, and he says, “You bet it's okay. But something occurred, and you decided you wanted more in your life. You thought you could take it the easy way. You thought you could get some money from somebody.” And Daniel Blank says, “No.” And then, the FBI agent says, “And then, something happened.” And Daniel says, “Un-un.” And then, the FBI agent says, “And when you went in there--” and he's talking about Joan Brock's residence, “when you went in there-- oh, don't shake your head. I know you don't deny it. Okay?”

Woody: He's cutting off the denials.

Jim: Yeah. “So, the investigation has been going on for six months, son. Okay? This didn't happen yesterday. We didn't just come down here in the middle of nowhere. We want to know what's going on. We already know what's going on. What we're trying to figure out is why. Because why this occurred is important.” “I don't know." Daniel Blank says. And then he says, “I want you to tell me, Daniel. Don't sit there and shake your head now. Come on. Let's be honest with each other, okay? Let's be honest with each other. It's time to have a meeting of the minds, okay? It's time for you to sit down and accept what you've done. Accept what you've done and let it go, okay?” And Daniel Blank says, “How can I accept something I ain't done?” And he says, “Yeah, yeah, but you have. You did, okay? And when you say you can't accept something you hadn't done, that's good, okay? Because that means in reality, you're going to say, ‘I can't accept I didn't do it because I did do it.’ That's what you're trying to tell me in your own streetwise way, that's what you're trying to tell me. Something happened. Something occurred in your life 16 months, 18 months ago, something made you snap all the way to here. I don't think it was drugs. I think it was something you said, I have to take care of my family, and I have to take care of my family now, and the time has come for me to take care of my family. You decided that you would take the easy way out. You didn't plan on hurting anybody, did you?”

Woody: Right. And giving chances.

Jim: So, what do you think about that?

Woody: Genius. Exactly what I said that you got to cut off any denials. You're establishing rapport. You're not totally going aboard his ass yet because you don't want to scare him off. Look, a good homicide interrogation doesn't even start until after five hours. That's when you start to get the juice, you start to break people down. I mean, people don't realize how long it takes them. One of the things I would have said was at a certain point, if you stick in and you get them to change the story, blah, blah, blah, and you stick in, I'd be like, “You know what, homie? The next time I ask you a question, if you feel like you have to lie to me, then don't say a fucking word. Because then you're going to insult my intelligence, and then I'm going to have to insult you.”

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: And as you're giving that thing, “Let's stay on the same page. I can help you, but don't keep fucking with me.”

Jim: Right. Exactly. And another thing came out in these appeals, and that was-- obviously in the appeal, one of the things that the police are trying to say is, “We knew he did it because he knew details that we never released to the public. Only the killer would have known about that. And when we interrogated him, he brought them up.” So, Woody's going to read, y'all, a part of the interrogation where he's talking about Ms. Philippe's death and exactly what took place in that death that I thought you may find interesting.

Woody: Right. So, Daniel Blank says, “Then, I went back in and turned the light back on and started looking some more, and I didn't find anything, so I gave up on it. I turned the light off. And when I come out, that's when I saw something swinging at me.” And the detective says, “You saw something swinging at you?” And Blank says, “Well, I saw a shadow of something. The light was off. The only light on was, I think, the bathroom light. And when I saw something coming at me with the shadow of the bathroom light and just put my arm up and then I grabbed it and pushed her.” And Detective says, “When you say you saw something swinging at you, was it a person?” Blank, “Yeah, it was the woman swinging something at me. I don't know if it was a lamp. I didn't see it. I just grabbed it. And it could have been a lamp, it could have been a trophy. It kind of felt more like a trophy. I don't know, it could have been one of them little skimpy lamps. I don't know. Well, that's when I pushed her. And then she comes at me with I don't know if it was a knife or one of them letter openers or something. I don't remember what it was. I didn't see it.” Detective says, “She had it in her hand?” Blank says, “Yeah, that's when I hit her with the thing I had in my hand, and then I grabbed it and I cut her with the knife. I don't remember where I cut her or how I did it, it just happened so fast. I just freaked out then and I left after that.”

Detective, “All right, so you're saying while you was in the closet, you heard some noise and you turned the light out in the closet?” Blank says, “Right.” Detective says, “And then, you wait a little while and you turn the light back on?” Blank says, “No, I turned the light off when I heard a noise and then I kind of opened the closet door and peeked out, and I didn't see anything or didn't hear anything. And I waited a couple of seconds and then I closed the door back and turned the light back on. And then, when I was ready to get out after I had looked around and they had all kinds of stuff in there, I kind of emptied the drawers out and stuff like that and didn't find anything. And I just decided to leave.” Detective says, “Okay.”

And Blank says, “And then when I come out, that's when I turned the light off and opened the door and come out, that's when she was standing there and she had something in her hand and swung it at me.” And the detective says, “And you took it away from her?” Blank says, “I put my hand up like that and it hit me on arm and then I grabbed it and pushed her back onto the bed. And then she grabbed something off of the coffee table, and it could have been a knife or could have been one of them letter overs. I don't remember.” Detective, “Okay, so when she went to grab this, you had this trophy?” Blank says, “She come up.” The detective says, “Or lamp in your hand?” And Blank says, “Yeah, she come up, and all I seen was like a shadow because there was no light. And the light was where I shined in front of the bathroom and the bathroom door wasn't all the way open, it was kind of cracked. And well, then she come back at me with the knife and I tried to grab it, but I couldn't see her arm to grab it. And I just kind of ducked to the side and I hit her with the thing that I had in my hand.”

Detective says, “What part of the body did you hit?” He says, “I think it hit her in the head. I ain't sure. I think that's where I hit her.” The detective says, “And what does she do?” Blank says, “Well, after that, I pushed her and then I grabbed her hand with a knife, and I know I cut her. I don't know where.” But detective says, “Was she standing up when you cut her or—” then Blank interrupts and says, “No, she was laying on the-- I think when I pushed her, she was laying across the bed or at the edge of bed. And after that, I did that and then I left.” And detective says, “But you hit her with the knife too then?” Blank says, “Yeah.” And detective says, “Okay. You left.” Blank says, “I grabbed her arm or hand or something and went back with it. And then, I took the knife and I ain't positive, but I think I hit her twice with it. I ain't sure. I don't remember. It just happened so fast, and I was just scared and I just took out and left.”

Jim: Now, you're going to know all those details, and you didn't do it.

Woody: That tells me this guy's smart. He's actually replaying it in his mind. It's not like he's reading the script. He's like, “Oh, yeah, that's right, because the bathroom light was on." It wasn't this light. It was the bathroom light. "And then I saw something coming at me and it tried to freak me out and I grabbed it, and I don't know if it was a lamp or it was a trophy, maybe,” but he's not totally clear on everything. But he knows enough, like I said, “So, she was standing when you stabbed her?” And he's like, “No, she was laying on the bed.” Why would you say that?

Jim: Right.

Woody: Why would you make that up?

Jim: The detective questioning him, he already knows where she was stabbed and all these things. I would imagine what you're doing at this point is trying to build a case. [crosstalk] You're proving that he knew.

Woody: Confirm the evidence that you have.

Jim: Yeah. So, good job by them. One other thing that came up on the appeal, and a good thing to ask you, Woody, is the polygraph itself. And Daniel Blank tried to say that he didn't know he could get out of a polygraph.

Woody: [crosstalk] You have polygraph rights, they have to read it to you before every exam.

Jim: There you go. And here was just a short conversation that took place between him and the detectives when they asked him to submit to a polygraph. Daniel Blank, “What choice do I have?” Detective, “Well, it's your choice.” And then the other detective says, “It's your choice.” And Daniel Blank says, “If I refuse it, then what?” And the detective says, “That's your prerogative. I mean, this is something that we ask you before, if you're responsible for committing to these homicides, and you stated no.” And Daniel Blank says, “I mean, if I refuse it, then what are y'all going to do to me?” And the detective says, “Well, I got to be honest with you, if you're looking from an investigative standpoint, it doesn't look too good. But that's only my opinion. I mean, that's just my opinion.” Daniel Blank says, “Well, what I'm saying is if I refuse to take the polygraph, what are you going to do? You're going to arrest me?” And the detective says, “You're not under arrest.” You have that conversation, it's recorded. That proves that they're telling you they're not threatening to arrest you.

Woody: They never threatened.

Jim: We're just saying it don't look good if you refuse.

Woody: [crosstalk] it didn't, they weren't lying about that. Let me tell you something. Getting people passed, giving permission for a polygraph is probably the hardest thing today, especially the guilty people. Now, there's two kinds of people that take the test. The ones who take it because they know they can pass it and the ones who take it like Daniel Blank, because they know their ass is in a crack and they're hoping by some miracle that they'll show a no deception indicated.

Jim: That's right. Long story short, he exhausts his appeals and now he's in a position where he is just awaiting his death-

Woody: Oh, it's coming.

Jim: -in Bloody-

Woody: -Angola. And he's on the row. And guess what? He was one of the ones that did this recent clemency push or whatever-- push for clemency hearings. But time is up. The new sheriff's in town per se with Jeff Landry coming in because he's the one that's been fighting the governor about, and the governor basically in the end came out and said he didn't believe in executions and all that.

But I'm going to give a shoutout to investigators. Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Ascension Parish. Look, great guy. I actually did my internship for my polygraph license. They had a certified polygraph examiner by this time, Greg Landry. And Jeff Wiley had to prove it, I had to go over there every week and stuff and work with one of his detectives who was a polygraph guy. Look, Ascension Parish sheriff’s house, one of the best equipment wise and training wise and everything else. And Mike Toney has been there forever. He's got to be retired now, but I knew him and worked cases with him. But he was the lead investigator on the case for Ascension Parish.

And then, Willy Martin who is the sheriff of St. James Parish, great guy, shoutout. And Sid Berthelot was the first respondent officer of St. James Parish, shoutout to him. And Todd Hymel was the lead investigator for St. John Parish, shoutout. I mean not that often they get to work these. And CJ Destor was the investigator for St. John Parish who assisted and Dowell Brenn, the investigator for Gonzales police. I don't believe he's there any longer. And Dan Funk, who was the FBI special agent. These guys caught probably one of the most prolific serial killers you never heard about.

Jim: Absolutely. So, shoutout to just amazing detective work by a lot of those guys and something very admirable. If you know any of those guys, and they're still around and would like to do an interview with us, we'd love to have them on, sit down and talk to them.

Woody: I think Sheriff Wiley is a senator now-- a senator or congressman or something. Not meant congressman, but I saw him at the Chamber of Commerce when I did the Chamber of Commerce.

Jim: Oh, did you?

Woody: He was with Jason [unintelligible 00:54:09].

Jim: Okay. Well, it’d be great if we get him on.

Woody: And Jason said, “You remember Jeff Wiley?” I said, “Sheriff, yeah, I remember.” I told him about the polygraph thing, he laughed and he was [unintelligible [00:55:34] case and all the big cases [crosstalk] but he's since retired and moved on.

Jim: We want to remember the victims of these cases. And I'm sure there's a lot of family out there that are listening to this right now. Matter of fact, I know one in particular that her cousin was involved in this. So, shoutout to you. And Victor Rossi, Barbara Bourgeois, Lillian Philippe, Sam Arcuri, Louella Arcuri, Joan Brock, all murdered, but you're in our thoughts and prayers and your families.

Woody: It's a ripple of fagging time, someone's murdered, people just hear the headlines of the murder victims, but every one of them have families.

Jim: Yeah. And Leonce and Joyce Millet, who were not killed, they were survivors. And I'm sure they have family still out there.

Woody: Yeah. And Patreon members, thank you again for your support. Y'all, go to patreon.com and type in Bloody Angola. We've got a bunch of different levels, a bunch of different ways that things that you can get for showing us support the Patreon. If you can't be a Patreon member, we get it, we love and appreciate all you all. Please go leave us reviews and like and share and help us continue to grow. Hey, and we are for, 2023, Bloody Angola won the best history podcast in the world.

Jim: In the world.

Woody: Because of y'all. You rock.

Jim: Because of y'all. That's right. And we appreciate that so much. So until next time, I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: I'm Woody Overton.

Jim: Your host of Bloody-

Woody: -Angola.

Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Woody and Jim: Peace.


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