Death of a Serial Killer

As the investigation continues and more details emerge, it’s becoming apparent that the person responsible for Imette St. Guillen’s death, prematurely dubbed the “Mummy Maniac” by the media, is not a serial killer but a hardened criminal. I suppose there remains the possibility that he has gotten away with other prior murders or that he might kill again given the chance, but hopefully that will remain hypothetical. As yet, Darryl Littlejohn remains uncharged and considered innocent until proven guilty, however police are referring to him as a suspect — their only suspect. That’s strong terminology. Darryl Littlejohn is not just a person of interest; he’s a suspect.

Several things contributed to the misconception that Imette had become the prey of a sadistic serial killer. What was originally reported as lacerations to Ms. St. Guillen’s genitals is now described as tears. I know that lacerations can be cuts or tears, but the media gave the impression that the lacerations were the result of torture, indicating the former. In reality, they may be the result of a brutal rape. Much ado was made of the fact that Imette’s hair had been chopped off on one side of her head. Many speculated that it was either kept by the killer as a trophy or lopped off as an attempt to humiliate the victim during her torturous ordeal. It’s now believed that the hair was cut away because that portion of the tape binding her head contained the killer’s fingerprints. Lastly, Michael Dorrian, co-owner of The Falls, originally told police that Imette had left the bar around closing time, alone and of her own accord. Many believed that she had been randomly grabbed off the street by a twisted predator. Dorrian has since admitted through his attorney that he ordered Darryl Littlejohn to escort her from the bar when she refused to leave, having not finished her drink; Littlejohn did not return.

So what do the police have…that the public knows about anyway?

  • Littlejohn is the last person known to have been with the victim. According to witness accounts, he escorted the very intoxicated and disgruntled patron from the premises of The Falls through a side door just after closing time. The sounds of an argument and a muffled scream followed, and Littlejohn did not return to the bar afterward. However, the bar staff that heard the commotion did nothing to check it out, and at least one other witness later places Imette outside the establishment talking to the bouncer as he sat in the driver’s seat of a van.
  • Littlejohn had a scratch on the back of his neck when he returned to work the following evening. Imette’s fingernails were broken, indicating that she may have scratched her attacker.
  • Cell phone records place Littlejohn in the vicinity of the disposal site a couple of hours before police were led to the body by an anonymous 911 call made from a local payphone.
  • Forensics:
    • Police are still trying to match cat hairs found on tape and a bedspread that held the remains to cats kept in the basement of the building that houses The Falls, 218 Lafayette.
    • Imette’s face was bound with packaging tape; comparisons are being made to see if it can be linked to packaging tape found in the building above the bar and at Littlejohn’s residence.
    • Plastic ties similar to those used to bind Imette’s hands and feet were found at 218 Lafayette.
    • Police recovered a white blanket with what they believe to be a semen stain from the Lafayette street building. Police are awaiting results to determine if it matches the suspects DNA.
    • Police are awaiting the results of a DNA comparison of fingernail scrapings from the victim to a catalogued DNA sample from the suspect.
    • Police took castings of tracks or footprints in the dirt portion of Littlejohn’s driveway. Their warrant did not permit them to search the van parked in the driveway, but earlier in the week they seized a van from a Brooklyn auto repair shop, ostensibly as part of the investigation; the van was later returned to its owner.
  • Littlejohn has exhibited what may be considered suspicious behavior since Imette’s body was found:
    • He called a Daily News reporter Sunday morning to proclaim his innocence and protest his unfair targeting by the police because of his race.
    • He returned to The Falls on his day off, asking questions about Imette and expressing interest in the investigation.
    • He was the only male employee of The Falls who refused to voluntarily provide a DNA sample, scoffing at fellow employees who complied.

Darryl Littlejohn is in police custody, held on a parole violation — breaking curfew — while investigators continue to try to build a case against him or eliminate him as a suspect. According to some reports, police are confident that they have their man. Speculation remains that there may have been more than one person involved in Imette St. Guillen’s slaying. Police questioned another bar employee and examined his body for scratches; none were found. There have been rumors about the possible involvement of a woman, as well. In addition, investigators are considering the possibility that Imette may have been drugged at the bar and have requested toxicology reports from the medical examiner. ( I tend to doubt that scenario.)

I’m sure the people of New York are relieved to know that a serial killer named “the Mummy Maniac” isn’t in their midst. The assault and murder of Imette St. Guillen is no less horrific either way. I guess we should be thankful that those in charge of the investigation are more professional and methodical, and less inclined to dramatic flair, than some members of the media and many of us, amateur cybersleuths.

Update: 9:00 pm CT

MSNBC has reported some interesting developments in the investigation. Police have impounded a gray or silver mini-van found parked on a street near Darryl Littlejohn’s residence. The exterior of the van was dusted for prints before being hauled away. The rear seat of that van was found in the basement of Littlejohn’s home. It’s also been reported that there are stains in the Littlejohn home that may be connected to Imette St. Guillen. A reporter for the Boston Herald revealed that Mr. Littlejohn is currently being looked at by police for other crimes. Under probing from Rita Cosby, the reporter refused to reveal the nature of the crimes other than to say that they are very serious offenses. The same reporter stated that investigators are looking very hard at the anonymous 911 call, reviewing the recordings to try and determine if the voice matches Littlejohn’s or that of someone very close to him. There is concern that someone else may have involvement in or knowledge of the murder. The payphone used by the caller was previously dusted for prints, but it’s unclear whether any identifiable prints were recovered or if they’ve provided a match.

Update: 9:20 am, CT

The Boston Herald is reporting that Darryl Littlejohn is being investigated for at least three other rapes:

In the three attacks, the rapist identified himself as an immigration officer before pulling the women into the van and throwing a blanket over their heads so they could not identify him, the sources said. He then drove to an underground garage, where the women were raped and sexually assaulted.
No DNA evidence was recovered from the three attacks. The victims told investigators their attacker wiped them down after the rape with some sort of disinfectant swabs, the police sources said.
Investigators who searched Littlejohn’s residence in Queens from Monday evening into yesterday morning recovered alcohol swabs and plastic ties in his home, the sources said.

Darryl Littlejohn, the 41-year-old hardened criminal is looking more like a budding serial killer. Maybe the “Mummy Maniac” moniker will stick after all.

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