Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
In the last several years, criminologists have really begun to focus on the topic of women and crime, this interest has inspired Amy and I to create a podcast devoted entirely to true stories about women and crime. Twice a month, we will discuss individual stories of women who have been victims of crime or perpetrators.
Sometimes these two women in the same way will also choose cases in which women have been falsely accused, exonerated, or women who work in the criminal justice system has brought them notoriety by staying true to our criminal justice roots. We will tell you the full stories of these women, but we will also explain the cause of the events that happened and whether the criminal justice system got it right or not. No matter what, this podcast will focus on women and crime all of the time.
So stay tuned. Women and crime is coming soon. Amy and I are excited to share with you our new podcast, Women in Crime, and now we hope you enjoy this full length episode. And if you like it, please remember to subscribe. This is episode two, the Imette St. Guillen story. Hi, Meghan. Hi, Amy. Good to see you. Good to see you. I'm so excited to share my story today. Thank you all for listening.
I've been super excited for you to share your story as well.
I don't usually get to talk that much now. And I know that you picked a case that interests us both.
Oh, so this case actually is very personal for me and has captivated me for years. So this goes back to 2006. So I was a graduate student at John Jay College living in Manhattan. And during this time there was a woman, Imette St. Guillen, who was the victim of a very brutal rape and murder. And it turns out she, too, was a graduate student at John Jay College at the same time as me. Now, she was in a different program.
I did not know her personally. However, it hit very close to home because we were both living in the city. Actually, we share almost the same exact birthday, including year random fact.
The other brutal irony of this case is that Imette was studying criminal justice and she became a victim of one of the most heinous crimes I had heard in a long time.
Something else interesting about this case, Megan, is do you want to know who her family's lawyer was in the in the civil proceedings? Who, Mr. Joe Tacopina, stop it. So for those of you who are direct appeal listeners, you'll understand the importance here. But Joe Tacopina was Melanie McGuire's attorney. We spent the last two years of our lives talking about the Melanie McGuire case.
So that was just a really there were two really a few interesting parallels.
So that's also a coincidence, right? I mean, the Tacopina that's I mean, that's very coincidental. You had no idea before, right? No.
I thought I knew a lot about this case and I had no idea.
And secondly, I just wanted to add that I, too, was a graduate student at John Jay College at the same time.
And you were in the same program as met? I was in forensic psychology. You were in criminal justice? That's correct. That's what I meant. Was in yet.
Correct. I did not know her personally. But this also hit home for me.
Yeah. And I don't know if you recall that. I recall during this time a lot of our professors were on Nancy Grace and, you know, talking to the media. And it was it was a huge deal as it should have been. So Imette St. Guillen, she was a Boston native who moved to New York City to study, as we said, criminal justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
She was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was out celebrating her soon to be twenty fifth birthday. So on the evening of February 24th, 2006, Imette was out with her best friend, Clare, and some other friends, and her best friend and her were the last two out. They were at the Pioneer Bar in downtown Manhattan around three thirty a.m. her friend decided it was time to call it a night. Amet insisted on staying out. As we've all been there.
You don't want to go home yet. You're having a great time. You know, her friend was a big part of the case and she testified. And, you know, you really feel for this woman because she says she begged to come home with me. You know, she knew it wasn't she didn't want her best friend staying out by herself. She held down a cab. They had a little argument. Survivors out. Yeah, it really, you know, it's really too bad.
So against her friend's wishes, at some point, Clare said, you know, she's a grown woman. I can't force her. So Clare heads home. She had texted with at about a half hour later and she told her, you know, I'm going to be headed home now. So I think Clare felt better at least, and that was going to be headed home.
However, 17 hours later, police received an anonymous phone call alerting them to a dead woman's body found on the side of a remote street in east New York, Brooklyn. It's a desolate area right along the side of the Belt Parkway. So I'm sure you're familiar. I am.
I didn't realize her. I didn't realize she was actually found in Brooklyn. I thought it was Manhattan. Nope.
She her body was found in Brooklyn. Of course, at this time when they found the body, they did not know who this woman was. This woman was found naked, wrapped in a comforter. Her hands and feet were tied. A sock had been shoved down her throat. Her head was wrapped in packing tape and part of her hair had been cut off. A later autopsy would reveal that she had been beaten and sexually assaulted before being officiated. You know, as I mentioned, the anonymous tip that was called in, of course, the first thing they did was who called in this tip.
The call was made from a pay phone. Yes, pay phones were around then outside of a diner in Brooklyn, right in this area. And unfortunately, the surveillance cameras were not operating that evening.
I tend to just be someone who saw her body.
Of course, it could have been. But for the investigators, they said, well, why don't we start there? Because the person was anonymous. So, you know, they thought, where do we start? This woman was found with no identification on her. She didn't match any of the missing people, you know, that they knew about. However, it did not take very long for the media had put out a news story fairly quickly that next morning that said there's this unknown woman body that was found on the side of the Belt Parkway.
One of a Met's family members hadn't heard from her. This was only like less than 24 hours. But they said, you know, let me just call it can't hurt. And, you know, they called her down to the station and unfortunately, she IDed the body, so.
And that was it. Then you're saying she was dead within 24 or 48 hours? Yes. But very interestingly, the what led them all of this kind of came together because the family member who had called Imette had just gotten home from Florida. Her and Claire went to visit a Mets mother and sister in Florida the evening before they went out. They had just gotten home and the woman whose body was found had tan lines and it was in February. And so the police said this is somebody who either isn't from around here who just or who just went away.
And when a Mets family member had called, she mentioned something about Amet having been in Florida and something about that said to the investigator, this might be someone we want to talk to.
So initially, investigators were baffled. They had no suspects at all. However, the case broke wide open within just a few weeks. And what happened was a key witness came forward with crucial information. So, of course, it did not take the police long to figure out where she was that evening. And they knew that she ended up at a bar called the Falls in lower Manhattan. I don't know about you, Megan, but I have been there quite a few times.
Get out. Yes. And actually, I think if I show you pictures of it, you would you were there to maybe possible.
I don't remember the. I don't know if that says it was a very popular hot spot, so when Claire left, they were at the Pioneer Bar, but Amet had continued on and she went to the falls. They they could tell by credit card receipts that at the fall she bought two rum and coke and she was by herself. But she was by all accounts, she was pretty heavily intoxicated. At this point. Her blood alcohol limit was twice that of the legal limit.
So at this point, you know, she was still drinking and they wanted her to leave. They were closing the bar. It was 4:00 a.m. last call. She wasn't leaving.
So, OK, so the police went to talk to everyone at the bar, of course, because that's where she was last seen. And initially they went to talk to the owner, Danny Dorrian. Does that name sound familiar to you at all? Not Dorian's bar. You know, Dorians, Red Hand, Dorians on the Upper East.
Yes, that was the center for the Jennifer Levin case.
Very interestingly, a Danny Dorrian was the bar manager at the Falls, which was the, you know, the bar where Matt was last seen. And Danny Dorrian is also part of the Dorian family, which Dorians Red Hand is named after him. And that was the notorious nightspot where preppy killer Robert Chambers hooked up with Jennifer Levin more than 20 years ago.
So there's just a lot of interesting things going on. And the reason why that becomes a little bit important here is because initially when the police had spoken to Danny Dorrian, he said, I don't know, I didn't see Imette. Sorry, I have no information for you. However, he came forward and said, I'm sorry, I did not tell you, but I had asked the bouncer to escort a very intoxicated Amet out of the bar in the early morning hours of the 25th.
And I also, quote unquote, may have heard a muffled scream shortly thereafter, but yeah.
So Dorian did admit that he initially withheld this information from investigators. And you want to know why? I was just going to ask because he did not want to get involved because of what went on with that case with the preppy killer. His family had faced a huge backlash and they got unwanted press at that point. So in a Brooklyn courtroom, Danny Dorrian had said, yes, I told them certain things and I left certain things out. I could just imagine some of the repercussions, lawsuit, police and bad press.
So unfortunately, because of this delay, though, police are really frustrated because there's crucial evidence that may have been destroyed in that time.
Well, yeah. I mean, the best way to solve the quicker you solve these cases, the quicker you get the information, the better. Yeah, I can't believe the irony that he was involved in the Jennifer Levin Robert Chambers case as well, or at least one of his. Yes, exactly. Not involved. But it's just it's an interesting and that plays into this at some point later on, we'll get to that. So once Dorian came forward and said I asked this bouncer to escort her out, they were able to name has him as 41 year old Darryl Littlejohn.
And very quickly, Darryl Littlejohn became their primary suspect at the time of the investigation. Littlejohn was on parole for an armed robbery and he had an extensive criminal record. Now, Megan, you're going to really love this tactic here used by the police, the authorities. They didn't have enough evidence, of course, to get Littlejohn on anything about Amet at this point. This is very early on, however, they were quickly able to establish that Littlejohn had a parole violation.
They were going to say that it was Malvasia to you because he broke his 9:00 p.m. curfew and they were quickly able to confirm through many accounts that he was working while he should have been at his home in Queens. OK, so this goes a little broader because besides the fact that he you know, they could revoke the parole very easily there because he broke his curfew. He also lied about where he was working when you were on parole. You should not be working at a nightclub as a bouncer.
He told them he was working for an insurance agency. So his parole officer actually did not even know that he was working there.
And as a former parole officer, I can tell you some of these violations would lead immediately to revocation of parole. Yep. So that they're quite serious.
Yeah. So they were able to hold him on that, luckily, because they were able to really get this case moving while he was in custody.
Now, the other side of that, though, is that the bar never did a background check. They did not even require him to get a security license for his employment as a bouncer, which was a violation of New York state law at the time. So this is why Dorian was trying to hide some things, because he knew they weren't really doing things by code. So other than Dorian's initial statement that little John is the one who escorted Amet out and likely was the last person to be seen with her, other evidence against Littlejohn started mounting pretty quickly.
First, what they were able to do was trace his cell phone to the area in Brooklyn where a body was found. So at 6:00 a.m. the morning in question, they have Littlejohn's phone not only pinging off towers where a Mets body was found, but he also got an incoming call. And you got to imagine he's pissed that that person called because that really blew things up. They were saying that something about the cell phone ping, it made it more accurate.
And he actually picked up the phone, so we actually had a conversation, they have his cell phone where her body was found, but prior to that, it was at his house in Queens. Then it went to where her body was found. Then it went back to his house in Queens. This was pretty big, but of course, this was not enough for them to arrest him. This was just property, right? Did he talk to them?
Yeah, they actually the interview is online and the initial interview, of course, he claims he didn't know who she was, never seen her before. And then it becomes yeah, I escorted her out, but then we parted ways. Right. Because this is what happens. OK, around the same time, an eyewitness noted seeing a van in the vicinity of the body in the early mornings in question, and this van happened to match Littlejohn's. But again, none of this was enough to get him.
What about a search warrant or do they search this place anyway because he's on parole? So parole officers. Yes. And often they just invite police officers.
And the investigators were happy that they did not have to wait long for a search warrant because, like you said, he was on parole. So that pretty much gave them free reign. Interestingly, a search of his home and vehicles did not yield much. And it was surprising to investigators and a little bit frustrating because they thought they could move quicker when the searches didn't. They didn't think the searches yielded much. But we'll find out in a few minutes that it actually yielded a little more than they realized.
They did find next to the victim's body. There was a snow brush found. Of course, when you're processing a crime scene, you don't know what's innocuous and what's not. So they take everything. And luckily, they they took this no brush in for processing because they found Littlejohn's DNA touch DNA on the handle. Got it. Again, not enough for them to do anything. Still, the investigators said it was a little bit difficult. Again, things moved quick, but for them, the clock was ticking because apparently they could only hold him for so long on the parole revocation.
Things started moving a little quicker. And this is where things got really interesting is adhesive tape found on the victim contained fibers that were, quote unquote, consistent with carpet fibers found in Littlejohn's home. Remember I said when they searched his home, they didn't find anything. However, they went back to the evidence and then they were able to match it back to his house. They also found rabbit and mink fur samples and they were able to tie that back to Littlejohn's home because he had his mother used to live there.
And there were coats that the hairs matched.
But as we know, hair comparison, it's not a slam dunk. You're not you're still not. That's still not enough. They know they're on to something, but they don't have enough for an arrest warrant at this point. Now, this is where things get interesting. The blanket that the victim was found wrapped in contained hairs. They found they found some random hairs. The hairs did not match Littlejohn. However, they were able to tell that there was a familial match.
There were some characteristics that matched on the hairs. Remember, we're talking about early 2000. Things were a bit different.
You're saying a familial match to Littlejohn?
Yes, but it was not his. So they went to they found out that his mother was in a nursing home in South Carolina. They drove to South Carolina and took a DNA swab from her. And that matched the root of the hair that they found on the blanket. Wow. The more random part is they found an unknown semen sample, a decomposed semen sample on the blanket that did not match Littlejohn.
So I'm sorry the blanket came from where did the blanket come from? That's what they're trying to they're trying to that they think that it comes from him. So it's got his mother's hair and an unknown semen sample. OK, so right now they're trying to connect Littlejohn to this because there's a lot of circumstantial evidence, but they don't have any forensic evidence at this point. Right. So on the blanket, they found this pubic hair. They were able to match it to his mother.
It was not his it was his mother's. Then they thought there was an unknown semen stain that was heavily decomposed, although it did not have a full DNA profile, they were able to get a partial DNA profile and it did not match Littlejohn. However, the investigators realized Littlejohn has a brother.
I was just going to say, OK, so this is either a friend or a brother who's, you know, well, it couldn't be a friend because the DNA was a partial match.
OK, so they they start doing some work and they find out his brother died in 1994. You just say a very dirty blanket. So that was my first thing. Like, that's disgusting. So the crazy part, do you know how they were able to match this? Because little brother died in custody when he was serving time for the rape and murder of a woman when he died in custody? They did an autopsy. And from the autopsy, they saved tissue.
So they matched the tissue from the brother's autopsy with the partial DNA that came from the blanket. Ten year old over to actually close to 12 year old semen stain. This is what really is just I mean, this is unbelievable science.
It's also are you going to talk at all? I'm just curious because I had no idea about the brother. You going to talk at all about their like their their upbringing, because now we're talking. About a brother who's a rapist and I mean, yeah, like anything any red flags. Yeah. So that's a great question, but I'm going to put that on hold for now. But I do want to get back to that because we're still barely scratching the surface here, OK?
One of the strongest pieces of evidence and what pushed the charges along was that they found trace blood evidence on the plastic ties that were used to bound the victim. So they had a complete DNA match between again, this was like they said, it was the size of a nail pin, a very small trace DNA evidence. However, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly during this press conference said that the odds of it not being Littlejohn were one in a trillion.
They used what's called low copy number DNA, which was a newer procedure at the time. But during this same press conference, there were also two additional eyewitnesses who came forward who allegedly saw someone who matched Littlejohn's description. He was seen loading a female into his van outside of the falls and then drove away very fast. On March 22nd of the same year, 2006, Littlejohn was indicted by a grand jury and he pled not guilty. Many of them as friends and family, were in attendance.
And her best friend, the one she was with that night, did speak saying that, you know, a saw the best in people and she wanted the best for the people she loved. And there was a media frenzy around this case. It was extremely high profile at this time. Things like this didn't happen in the city. We're not talking about the city in the 80s. Right.
You know, New York City was saying this is like post Giuliani here. Yeah.
So just what do you think this case was? You know, we're looking like we're moving forward and things are quieting down now. You know, we're going to maybe, you know, he's indicted. We'll wait for trial. No. While watching coverage on TV, a 20 year old woman recognizes the van in question. So you know how the media will camp out outside like suspect Holmes high reporting from blah, blah, blah there in front of Littlejohn's home in Queens.
And in the background is a van in the driveway. Woman's watching this and says, I know that van well. In 2005, this woman was abducted by somebody impersonating an officer who handcuffed her and pushed her into a van. And luckily, she was able to escape. She jumped out of a moving van and the perp drove away. She was never able to identify him. And it was a cold case. However, during this news footage, she said, I know that van.
She calls the investigators going off of the tip. The investigators got a warrant to search the van Littlejohn's van and found the victim, the woman who called in her DNA in the van and also on a seized pair of handcuffs. Wow. OK, they're solving a second.
First of all, they're showing he's also a serial killer, but solving a crime, there's more.
OK, within a few days, another young woman comes forward with a similar story.
A man dressed as a law enforcement officer approached her, another young woman in her 20s. He asked her for I.D., handcuffed her and abducted her. Unfortunately, she was not as lucky as the last victim, although luckier than Imette. She you know, she was not able to escape. She was brutally raped. But then the attacker dropped her off. After she was brutally assaulted. The offender kept her clothes and gave her different clothes to put on.
OK, so this case was unsolved and the clothes this woman was wearing is put into evidence. And it was a cold case. You want to guess what happens?
They link it to little so they get the shirt out of evidence. This T-shirt and Littlejohn's mother's DNA is on the T-shirt, the mother's DNA again, the mother's DNA. And the mother has been in a nursing home in South Carolina. She's old. It's just linking him again. It must be like it must have been his mother's shirt. So the police are able to start now making a case that we're looking at someone who might be a serial offender here.
Right. The other interesting thing that they were able to do is the police before these two women came forward, they had a very strong case that Littlejohn was the one who disposed of a Mets body. However, they did not have any proof that tied him to the murder. And after these two women came forward, they started feeling like, OK, now we can move this case forward, that not only was he the disposer of the body, we probably have our offender because this is a similar M.O. We're seeing the same thing happen.
But it is a serial predator.
He yeah, he is. While awaiting trial for a Mets murder, he had a trial in 2007 for the 2005 abduction and rape. These two women I was just explaining. So he was found guilty and sentenced for 25 years to life. OK, so for both charges. For both charges. OK, so this is prior to a mistrial. Littlejohn is already sentenced 25 to life. So he while he starts serving his 25 to life for those two abductions, rape and attempted rape, a mistrial finally comes around in May 2009.
And I'm going to assume that the jury in that trial never hear anything about his prior convictions because that bias is the jury, correct?
Very interestingly, they did, and that was grounds for his appeal. So you're so smart. Megan, hold that thought. I'm sorry.
I'm not going to go over a lot of the evidence from trial because we talked about the evidence that the police used to build the case against him. But I do what I do want to mention is that the prosecution, their opening statements and their main case was that Littlejohn was a sex fiend and they cited the two prior cases and the mountain of circumstantial evidence, all the stuff we did, you know, that we talked about the only additional, I guess you could say, bombshell that was brought up during trial is Littlejohn's ex-girlfriend testified that he asked her to lie the night of the crime.
Say I was you know, if anyone asks, I was with you. We went to visit your mom at the nursing home and she, of course, testified. And also they had several past victims other than these two women. There were other women who came forward that were victimized by Littlejohn as well. Was he ever convicted of a sex offense?
I know you said he was on parole for robbery, but, you know, a lot of drug charges and he had armed robbery charges. But it seems like he was up until this point he was getting away with those crimes. The defense claims, which is quite laughable, I believe the investigation was racially charged and that Littlejohn was the scapegoat because he was a black man with a lengthy record. And I do want to say there are several black men with criminal records who become the scapegoat.
But I think it's hard to say in this case. That's what was happening. The defense says that he was being framed to protect the highly powerful and highly connected David Dorian.
Yeah, well, actually, I was going to go there because I didn't say, well, I bet they're going to say something about, oh, look at this guy was connected to a very other famous well, he was also very that the Dorian family has strong ties to the Giuliani family. And because there was the elections coming up, they claim that this was all a big conspiracy.
I mean, the evidence shows that it's laughable.
But I'm going to say, when you've got nothing. Oh, he's got nothing to defend his client. Yeah, no, I doubt I totally agree.
They were grasping at straws. The fact that Dorian initially lied to the police, something Dorian said at the beginning, that he was pretty banged up because he had gotten in a fight with his girlfriend or something. And they were like, oh, that means, you know, he had defensive wounds, like they were just taking anything they could throw out of their suspect. Take the heat off of your own. Exactly.
Interestingly, the media love this idea of a nerd defense. Have you ever heard of the nerd defense? Because this was news to me. No. OK, so the nerd the defense is apparently a tactic used to make the defendant appear less menacing. So little John was never known to wear glasses. But if you look at the trial, he was wearing glasses along with, you know, a nice buttoned up look. So the media had a field day with this saying that the defense was using the nerd defense.
I just thought that was interesting. So I've never heard it called the nerd defense, but I've seen it used before.
You know, Jodi Arias. They also kind of darkened her hair. All of a sudden she was wearing these kind of, you know, conservative clothes and glasses. So I've seen it.
I just never heard it called. He expressed zero remorse and claimed his innocence till, you know, up till this day. But not surprisingly, it took the jury less than seven hours to come back with a guilty verdict. He was found guilty of first degree murder. He was sentenced to life without parole to be served consecutively with his previous 25 to life. So I know he touched on this in an earlier episode, but consecutively means one after the other, which means if it was concurrent, then he would be able to serve 25 to life for all the crimes together.
But the judge was not doing that here. So Littlejohn is serving to 25 to life sentences, so he's never getting out. So, no, he is never getting out. He is serving his time at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York. Very interestingly, a lot has happened since as if this case couldn't get better. Like what? OK, so let's let's talk a little bit about Imette St. Jean's legacy, OK? Because there's quite a legacy that lives on.
This case led to major changes in state and city law. Her death was the catalyst for legislation and policy change in New York, which also led to New York City is a Mets law which was passed in 2017, which mandates more stringent background checks for barroom bouncers. And they did pass that nationally. So a federal program tracks ex cons and this was all part of a Metsola. So there's really quite a bit going on. So bars in New York are now required to do background checks on all of their employees and clubs who hire felons can be shut down.
I don't necessarily agree with this part because not all felons are created equally. Right? I think I know. You know. That's right. We can talk you and I can talk for hours about this. So I know sometimes one person ruins it for everyone. And that's what's happening here of. Course, we don't want a Darryl Littlejohn working as a bouncer, but I think you and I both know many convicted felons who are very would be very safe doing that kind of job.
I think the problem also becomes we just don't want a Darryl Littlejohn in society at all. Exactly. So no matter what position he was in, it doesn't necessarily mean exactly.
If he was working as a cab driver, then those laws would have changed. It just it was the catalyst, right. Additionally, all clubs and bars are required to have security cameras at their entrances because there was no security camera at the entrance of the falls, which would have easily helped us see what really happened, at least who she left the bar with. Right on a more positive note. Also, there's a scholarship fund that John Jay that gives I think it's close to fifteen thousand dollars in a Mets name.
And a Mets family is very her sister particularly is very politically involved and, you know, is very involved in legislation. And like I said, there's been a lot of I don't want to say good that came out of it because there's never enough good. But, you know, at least there has been one that didn't die in vain or at least positive outcomes that followed it.
So what you're trying to say, as you mentioned before, was it OK that the previous crimes were brought up during trial?
Yeah, they're usually you're not allowed to have the previous crimes. You know, they it unduly prejudice prejudice against the jury.
So the reason they were allowed was because the HMOs were similar and they claim that it was important to establish a pattern of behavior. One of the other part of the appeals is in the trial. They also allowed the testimony of previous alleged crimes in which he was never charged for all.
That's going to be an appeal issue there. Yeah, so that I understood a little more. Right. Like, if you want to establish an M.O., the two cases that he was tried first find, but they were bringing up other alleged crimes and people testifying. However, the appellate court affirmed the life sentence imposed by the Brooklyn Supreme Court justice. So in 2013, the court, although they acknowledged that errors were present in the previous trial, they denied Littlejohn's request to.
They say it was harmless error, that kind of thing, I believe. So I don't remember exactly what the wording was, but that was the essence of it, I think is that and I kind of agree with that, to be honest.
Well, also, if people have listened to our other show or direct appeal, you would know that prevailing on an appeal, even when you think there are obvious issues, is so much harder than anyone thinks or anyone knows. Absolutely.
And just to end on a little bit of a lighter note, because this is such a gruesome case, Littlejohn is dating right now. He's on a site called Friends Beyond the Wall. It's an online dating site for those who are incarcerated, posing in a tight wife beater shirt. And he says there's a lot to love, all 210 pounds of all masculinity. He claims he is open minded, optimistic and never judgmental of other people's shortcomings. I guess he wants someone who's not judgmental of his shortcomings.
He also titled his profile Dark Chocolate, stating that he has more filling, less calories and guilt free.
You're kidding me. No, no, I am not kidding you. So if you are if you are interested, you could go to friends on the wall Dotcom and look up Darryl Littlejohn.
Have you ever heard of this before? I've never heard of these or I've heard of people getting on dating websites. Yet most of the prisons that I know there's not this unrestricted use of the Internet. You have to specifically know, like I'm using email to this person, it has to be approved. How are they accessing these seemingly social.
So there's a few ways you can have, like a middleman doing it for you, like a family or friend on the outside, OK, who's like doing it on your behalf, like someone can contact. Like if you click on the if you click like email now, maybe it goes to like a family or friend and then they set up the two people. However, you know, inmates do have access to email now. Yes. So this right here, it's not like he's going on the website.
Someone else must have set it up for him. But the people that want to email him, it can email him directly. I see. You see what I mean? So, yeah, he can't go on friends beyond the walls and make a profile. That's what I would imagine. I would imagine. I don't know what's going on in New York. I know more about what goes on in New Jersey. But either way, I think it's you know, I think it's interesting.
I don't know that I mean, I do know that inmates have to find ways to stay connected to the outside world and to also for good behavior purposes. I know that they need incentives. Yeah, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, the profile is ridiculous.
I also you I always wonder and we know a lot now probably about the women who were going to be interested there in, you know, this we know this from looking at all these infamous murderers who get married while they're in prison. Women love something about the convicted murderer. It doesn't make sense to me. I don't know. It's still a psychology that I don't understand.
I remember seeing this. It always struck me like in the Richard Ramirez case. You know, he was I mean, he the brutal attacks on women and then the female fans at his, you know.
Yeah, I couldn't get over it. So it's crazy. You know what what does he have to offer again?
Oh, he's optimistic. And two hundred ten pounds of pure masculinity. He was how old when he was sentenced.
Let's be it in his maybe 45, 46, OK, maybe you're getting 50. Yeah. Oh, yeah, he'll be there. I mean, the judge was saying, like, this guy will not see the light of day. There are two other things I just want to point out. I want to talk a minute about victimology and victim blaming, OK? Because while researching this case, it really struck me how certain media outlets felt the need to harp on the fact that she was twice the legal limit.
She was out by herself. She should have known better. She was a criminal justice student. And I understand victimology. In order to help us understand why things happened, of course, you need to look at the victim's lifestyle and the victim characteristics. But there's I know there's a fine line between trying to understand that and blaming the victim. I don't think it's fair to say that, yes, she was two times the legal limit. Yes, she was a young female.
Yes. You know, there was even some articles I talked about what she was wearing, of course. And I'm still shocked that that happens. Yeah. I just don't know that I don't know if if that's part of the conversation because it's a cautionary tale or if it's victim blaming. I think it's all in the discourse in the way it's framed as well. Like if you are reading it and you're understanding it as an analysis of why some of the characteristics involved in this crime may have contributed to her crime, then you can understand it in terms of the science of it.
But when there's a media slant that seems to buy the actual terminology and by the way it's described indicate that she is to blame or she's somewhat blameworthy because these factors and then I think we can look at it as victim blaming, although there is I mean, there's a really fine line. It's really hard. You have to look at the characteristics. Certainly there were certain traits that made her more vulnerable than others. So, you know, it's really hard to do these things.
And I don't know about you, but it's so haunting to me as someone who studies criminology, it's like in you know, the media had a field day with this, too, like she was learning to catch killers and she became the victim of a killer. You know, like they it was so sensationalized because there was, you know, the fact that she was beautiful, she was young. The fact that she was studying criminology and ended up being a victim was really something that they stuck on.
And like I said, I don't know about you, but as a criminologist, I think about that. And that makes me shudder, like being in that situation and just like knowing so much about it, it's just having that personal note for you as well.
I mean, they're calling it this huge irony also. But, you know, she was a criminal justice student.
She's still a student. She's learning. She's young. You know, she and I think it's important to note she wasn't a seasoned profiler out there with experience with serious criminals all of the time.
But even if she was like as someone who knows, like, I would still go to a bar at night and you know what I'm saying? Like, it's just human nature to, you know, to just do things in life and not think that this could happen to you. I don't think maybe her being studying criminal justice means she should have been maybe like you were saying, like more where I was.
I see what you're saying. Yeah. To be honest, in the beginning of my career, I would have said no. But now I just assume everyone wants to murder me. Yeah, me too.
Like pretty everyone does want to murder. You know, I think it might be true. And I really make that assumption. I do know. But I think that also comes with that's why I said the part about her being seasoned. It comes with a lot more time and experience, of course. Yeah. I have a question before. Yeah, well, before we end at some point today. But what was the significance of her hair?
Did he cut her hair or just do you know so it nobody knows. Like there was a lot of speculation like on Nancy Grace. She had a criminal profiler, a forensic psychiatrist. And, you know, they were saying to do with, of course, like making the victim less human like this and that. But honestly, it seemed to me that it could have just been as part of like a struggle. It didn't seem like it was like a clean cut, like there was.
It was. So some places reported it as like it was actually like cut really short because she had long hair, other ones. It's like it was just ripped out. Like I didn't really touch on it much because it wasn't in the trial transcripts. And I don't trust like the media was not clear on it.
Got it. You know, because when I teach serial killers. Yeah. We do say like some well, we do know that sometimes taking her as a trophy.
Exactly. But if you're I mean but they searched the stuff and they didn't find any of her belongings.
So also you're saying it could have been the result of a struggle? Could have been. I don't know. That could be the case for sure.
But that is interesting because he does seem like a serial offender. But, you know, it matches that M.O. But it's interesting, he he didn't keep anything like they searched his stuff and they didn't find all of her belongings were gone. They never recovered any of her belongings and your pocketbook, phone, clothes, everything.
He probably dumped all them. Yeah. Yeah, dumped him. I look at all the water in Aruba. They're gone. You had mentioned Joe Tacopina represented a Metz family in a civil suit. Is that correct?
Yes. So and that's family sued three state agencies for gross negligence. So they sued the parole board and they sued the division of parole and they sued the Department of Corrections. They filed for one hundred million, but they settled for one hundred thirty thousand. A later suit from the family was also filed against Littlejohn and also against the false bar. Settlement was for an undisclosed amount. But I guess the question is, who's whose fault was this? Was it the parole board?
So the default will always be to blame Pearl, of course, and that's that's common and it's understandable because but the parole board for letting him out to begin with, because he served 12 years. So the default, if there's a parole board default, will be to blame the boy, not the parole officer. That's what so so if there's a parole board, that's the first line. But sometimes, remember, people are paroled by an automatic mechanism when they hit a certain time when there's no parole board to blame, we'll go right to the parole officer and look at times, it can be a parole officers fault, but then you don't know anything about the the case overload that parole officers have, especially in New York.
You know, simply they they can't always cover the spread is really the truth. So there's always a default to go to parole. And in some cases, it's justified. I don't know about this case in particular. They settled for something small.
I couldn't believe that they filed for a one hundred million and settled for 130000.
I'm sure it's not about the money for the family. That's not about the money. Yeah, it probably had nothing to do.
And I think for them, a bigger win was getting those laws passed and getting the scholarship. And, you know, I would imagine that that meant more to them.
I assume they also wanted someone to say that they're sorry and that they were blameworthy. You know, they wanted they wanted an agency to take some accounts. Someone has to. I thought it was interesting that they also, you know, sued the bar. They sued little. You know, I think they just want the accountability.
It sounds like a systematic failure in any regards, but also maybe not one person's.
Yes, I think it's hard to say. I mean, it's Littlejohn's fault, right? Sorry. So. No, I know.
Yeah. So little John then. I mean, obviously we think he is he's exactly where he should be for life.
I don't you know, it should be interesting. It is interesting, though, because it was a bit of circumstantial forensics, if you think about it. Yes. Usually I'm one to say if they're circumstantial evidence, I'm I'm to be honest, when I was first looking into this case, I'm thinking, oh, I don't know. You know, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence, but I didn't see any hard evidence. But then once you get the circumstantial forensic evidence, OK, now we have a stronger case, I think, and the most obviously two.
And also when you begin to accrue a mountain of it, you know, it's circumstantial.
But when it starts to build and build and build, you know. So do we know anything about why Littlejohn became this type of honest here?
I was trying because, as you mentioned, his brother was also serving time for a murder and rape. And it was a quite a brutal crime as well. Right. And so you got to start wondering, like, is there something in that upbringing, nature, nurture? You know, we do know that family members who are offenders are more likely to have family members who are offenders. Right. But is that because of some genetic predisposition or is it because they were in the same environment?
I couldn't find anything about him.
That sometimes happens where we don't have the. Yeah, enough of the background information where we can actually establish, aha, this is the mother.
I would hope that there maybe there will be an interview with him in the future or something. I would love to not like. It's excusable regardless, but it does help us understand.
OK, well you've pulled out of quite a few bombshells on this one.
I'm going to say I knew of the case, but I didn't know all of this case.
So and in order to compile this story, I used information from The New York Times, The New York Post, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle People, Dotcom, Dateline, Investigation Discovery and CBS.
OK, thanks everyone for listening. That officially concludes Episode two, the Imette St. Guillen story.
Thanks to. Women in Crime is written and hosted by Megan Sacks and Amy Schlosberg, our producer and editor is James Varga. Our music is composed by dessert media.