Baltimore Homicide Detective Guilty of Nine Murders
Written by Karen
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thank you for your support, Rachel! OK, you asked for it. I created instead of working today. I decided to do the newspaper article challenge from, the website, is it? There's something in here for Hayley, and for Vali (I will get the Buffy to you this weekend), and for everyone who hates Sheppard/Ballard/Falsone. I haven't edited it, so it could probably be improved. Feedback and suggestions appreciated, but be gentle! It's my first time. (My evil son put my mail in this color & I haven't figured out how to fix it yet!)
BALTIMORE HOMICIDE DETECTIVE GUILTY OF NINE MURDERS
Hair Looks Terrific
Baltimore, Maryland, July 21---
A former homicide detective was convicted today of the murders of nine people in and around Baltimore. She awaits trial on additional murder charges in 14 states. Rene Sheppard, 31, had been a detective in Baltimore's Homicide Division for just over a year at the time of her arrest.
"She's a strange girl," says Michael Kellerman, life partner of homicide detective Meldrick Lewis, and a private investigator who helped to build the case against Sheppard. "Every time I saw her, she had a can of mousse in her holster. It was creepy."
Sheppard, a former Miss Dundalk, used her competition in beauty pageants to conceal her crimes, sources say. "When we investigated her past, we found a number of unsolved murders which occurred when Rene Sheppard was in the area for a beauty pageant," says Michael Giardello, the FBI liaison for the Baltimore police department. "At this time, we have identified forty-three murders which we believe Rene Sheppard may have committed.
Sheppard killed "whenever and wherever the opportunity presented itself," says Baltimore's District Attorney, Edward Danvers. "Texas, Tennessee, Georgia.; anywhere there was a beauty pageant, this woman would find a victim."
Clyde Willis, sheriff of Mule Squat, Arkansas, says his town was hit particularly hard. " We lost three of our prettiest girls, and two good sheep. For last year's [pageant], we had to enter my grandmother, a dress dummy, and a goat. The goat ate the flowers, and the tiara didn't fit over its horns."
"It's really a tragedy when a town loses all of its beauty contestants," says Laura Ballard. Ballard, formerly a detective in Sheppard's department, was forced to resign late last year when she appeared in Nipples magazine, wearing only her badge and gun. "I mean, you have to have beauty contests if you want the children to grow up to be productive members of society." What went wrong with Rene Sheppard? Ballard reflects for a moment. "I think she needed a good push-up bra."
Sheppard competed in dozens of pageants every year, according to Giardello. Her weapons of choice included nail files, diffusers, hot oil treatments, and creme rinse. "The crime scene photos are horrible. One of the victims was stabbed ninety-three times with a manicure stick. Another was strangled with a Wonderbra," says Giardello. "Her silicon breasts were still in it!"
Sheppard left the beauty circuit in 1997 after discovering a wrinkle.
One month after she joined the department, Andrew Harper, Sheppard's upstairs neighbor, disappeared. His skeletal remains were found six months later, in a wooded area near Fort Washington. Several witnesses to murders Sheppard was investigating were also killed in her thirteen months in homicide.
"It's unbelievably ironic," Kellerman says. "She beats Douglas Randall to death with a Manolo Blahnik pump, and then she gets [assigned] the case." Sheppard arrested Kathie Lee Gifford for the murder; Gifford was convicted and is currently in prison, awaiting an appeal.
In Baltimore, Sheppard continued using eccentric instruments of death, despite having access to a gun. Court records show that one victim choked on a butterfly barrette, which Sheppard stuffed down his throat with a curling iron. Another victim died of blood poisoning after ingesting a lethal combination of Prozac, bath oil, and Jean Nate.
Sheppard was captured after police discovered her in the act of gutting Det. Paul Falsone with a rattail comb in a police station restroom.
Curiously, police allowed her completely disembowel Falsone before handcuffing her. "It would have been rude to interrupt her," says Det. John Munch, who made the arrest.
Sgt. Kay Howard, who transferred to homicide to head the investigation, says that murders of this type are not unheard of. "I've seen her kind before. You take a girl with too much hair, and not enough brains, put her in a competitive situation, and you've got to expect a little bloodshed."
Sheppard received life sentences for each of the nine murders. Cheers erupted in the courtroom when the sentences were read. Sheppard, who had to be removed from the courtroom repeatedly during the 26-day trial for shouting, "I'm a cop, dammit! Treat me like a cop!", was led from the courtroom in handcuffs. She will be incarcerated at Jessup Correctional Facility, where she can receive psychiatric treatment. Doctors had reportedly considered doing a full frontal lobotomy, but rejected the idea as fruitless after several EKGs indicated no brain activity. Sheppard has requested a cell with soft lighting and a full-length mirror.
After the trial, detectives congregate at the Waterfront, a popular bar owned and operated by Dets. Munch, Lewis, and Timothy Bayliss. Lewis and Kellerman cuddle at a corner table. An exhausted Howard falls asleep with her head in Munch's lap. Bayliss leans against the bar, reflecting on the day's events. For these weary men and women of the Baltimore Homicide Division, tomorrow will be another day of death and destruction. For Rene Sheppard, the bloodshed is over.