Welcome to the second part of our exposé on Geraldo Rivera's exposé on Satanism in America. If you missed the first part of this article, you can find it here. When we last left Geraldo, he was busy accepting the statements of mentally ill teenagers and ignoring all voice of reason. Since he wasn't getting the type of sensational admissions from the likes of King Diamond, he decides to go across America to get a sufficient dose of confirmation bias.
Segment One Continues...
To try and prove that there is some kind of Satanic conspiracy afoot in America, Geraldo rushes down to the swamps of Louisianna to investigate acts of grave robbing.
Geraldo and a Southern Louisianna police officer (I guess? They're not clear on who this guy is) go to a site where graves had been robbed. The guy explains that the people responsible for these grave robberies often take the finger bones from the right hand to fashion into a necklace and that it is part of their "culture".
There are not tenants in Satanism that advocates the desecration of graves. Grave robbery in Louisiana is actually quite common and has nothing to do with Satanism. In New Orleans alone there are 31 historic cemeteries. They are frequent targets for fortune finders who loot these centuries-old graves for antiques.
Also upon closer examination, the scene is tightly edited. You never hear the officer (or whoever) even mention Satanists. In fact, it almost sounds like he is talking about practitioners of Voodoo, which is the only culture in the area where the use of bones is a common practice. So clearly this guy is jumping to a conclusion based on his obvious prejudice.
Hey Einstein, you know which hand regularly has rings on it? The right hand! Now, who would be interested in rings on the right hand? Oh right, grave robbers looking to sell antiques!! God, you're an officer of the law (I'm assuming), use some deductive reasoning for fuck's sake!
Unconcerned with mistaking Voodoo with Satanism, Geraldo then travels to the town of New Iberia, LA, where he showcases a bunch of graffiti that he claims is the work of Satanists.
At the time of this special, the population of New Iberia was around 32k, and the average household income (depreciating to 1988 rates) was about $12k. Hey what's there to do in New Iberia? A former plantation turned history museum, it's home of one of the oldest Tabasco sauce and an old mill. Hey Geraldo, considering the graffiti that you are showing includes the above goofy skull, and the word "OZZY", do you think maybe.. JUST MAYBE... The graffiti is the product of bored kids that live in a town with nothing to do?
He then lists off other instances of animal mutilation and Satanic graffiti, rhyming off a number of events that occurred in Maine, California, and other places in the United States. He doesn't mention any specific cases or dates. Just a montage of footage that could be anywhere and has no context. I decided to try and hunt for articles about rashes of Satanic graffiti that plagued these places mentioned. Other than the obvious serial killers who were going through the court system at the time. The only thing I could find was a story about pigs that were killed.
But hey, I think you can chalk this up to... wait for it, wait for it... bored teenagers. I'll give you a logical parallel, a lot of people like to use graffiti to make lame tags or the Wu-Tang logo, or whatever the young kids are into these days. The point is, we don't automatically assume there are roving gangs of Crips and Bloods running around a city. They're just bored kids with nothing better to do than mark up public property.
What else do you got for us Geraldo?
Teens committing acts of murder for Satan.
The Theresa Simmons Murder
The Way Geraldo Tells It:
The first item that Geraldo hits on, was a murder committed by Robert McIntyre, Malisa Earnest, and Terry Belcher. All three were tried and convicted to life in prison. It was stated that the trio also committed Satanic rituals on their victim. He goes on to say that they stabbed their victim to death, drank her blood, and danced around her dead body.
Looking this up, there three individuals were indeed sentenced for the crimes that Geraldo mentions. According to the tale, the trio took Theresa Simmons to a barn to listen to heavy metal and smoke pot. They then, apparently, committed Satanic rituals, allegedly taken from LeVay's Satanic Bible, and strangled Simmons to death. The cause of death was confirmed by the coroner.
What he doesn't go into is the fact that the two girls ran away from a group home they lived in, and were picked up by Belcher while hitchhiking. It was only Belcher claimed that he was a Satanist, claiming that he was a "high priest" with 11 followers. I should point out that Belcher was looking to get laid. The reason why the killed Simmons was because she was rejecting McIntyre's sexual advances. The case was appealed in 1992 and in 2000. The 1992 appeal with filed by Earnest and it pointed out that Malisa never got to testify on her behalf, and the prosecution made a number of inappropriate comments and at one point, tossed Theresa's clothing in the Malisa's face, causing her to go into hysterics. While the 2000 appeal was filed by McIntyre, it points out that one of the main witnesses for the prosecution was Terry Belcher himself, and that he was not a credible witness. The only "evidence" of Satanism they had were drawings (one was simply a knife stabbed through a heart) and Belcher's statements.
Now here's the thing, Terry Belcher was 16 at the time of the murder. Do you honestly think he would be a "high priest" of a Satanic cult? Honestly? Also, the fact that he claimed to have committed a ritual sacrifice from the Satanic Bible is absurd because there is nowhere in the book where it advocates or details any sort of human sacrifice. He also claimed to have drank the blood and eaten the eye-balls of animals, again not something that is in said Satanic Bible.
I wouldn't be surprised if Belcher used Satanism as a means to diminish his capacity in the murder. A common occurrence for criminals who make outlandish claims. It is a means to avoid taking full responsibility for their crimes.
The Gycelle Cote Murder
How Geraldo Tells it:
Well, he doesn't tell it. He simply goes with a soundbite from the local news about the conviction of Scott Whitehouse for the murder of 12-year-old Gycelle Cote. The report states that it finally puts to rest "talk about a Satanic cult in town". Very little is said about this case because if you pick it apart, it starts going against the narrative that Geraldo is attempting to form. That's why you don't hear the weasel give his two cents on the matter.
What Geraldo Didn't Say:
It was revealed in court that Scott Whitehouse was obsessed with a 15-year-old girl that he went to school with and sent her threatening letters. He did purchase a Satanic Bible and claimed that he was a Satanist. The trial focused on if this was admissible or not. Regardless, they played a recorded interrogation with Whitehouse and the police. Whitehouse stated that he enjoyed Satanism because you could do whatever made you felt good. However, he points out that Satanism doesn't advocate murder. Clearly, the guy used it as an excuse to indulge in LSD and marijuana. Another thing that came out in court was that one of the last letters he sent to the 15-year-old girl was one telling her to wear a purple outfit. On the day he murdered Gycelle Cote, the little girl was wearing a purple outfit.
There was zero evidence of a Satanic Cult as well. It was just Scott Whitehouse. He acted alone, and the forensics confirmed that.
If anything, Whitehouse was a serial killer in the making. He certainly has some of the characteristics. While we don't know what the 15-year-old looked like, I would suspect that poor Glycelle reminded Scott of this girl. Serial killers often select proxies for something they can't attain. The fact that the little girl was wearing purple, the same color that he demanded his unrequited love interest to wear would suggest this. Again, the whole Satanism excuse is a shame, a way for the killer to deflect accountability for his actions.
The Gary Lauwers Murder
How Geraldo Tells It:
Again, Geraldo goes with "as little said as possible" stating that killer Ricky Kasso worshiped Satan and gouged out the victim's eyes. Again, he doesn't want to peer behind the curtain too long with this one because when you start peeling back the layers, you'll see an entirely different story.
Ricky Kasso was a drug addict
The media went on a frenzy about this one, focusing on the whole Satanism angle. Everyone except for David Breskin, who was a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine. Through his interviews with the local teenagers, he learned a lot of what Ricky Kasso tick, and it had very little to do with Satan. Kesso was a high school drop out who was kicked out of his family home due to his behavior. His parents twice tried to get him committed, but for whatever reasons, doctors didn't think he was psychotic and would release him.
Ricky dealt in LSD, PCP, and Angel Dust among other powerful narcotics. He also did a lot of his own product. The guy was delusional, thought the devil was talking to him, while high. He did dabble in Satanism. However, this post-dated his addiction to drugs. Talk about starting a Satanic cult is not overly substantiated. One claim states that he was the leader of the "Knights of the Black Circle" and one account states that Kasso and some of his followers celebrated Walpurgisnacht outside of the Amityville Horror house. I don't know where this detail comes from, Wikipedia, but anyone who claims that this is a Satanic ritual is an idiot. Walpurgisnacht is a Christian celebration. It's basically German Easter.
Anyway, the murder of Gary Lauwers wasn't part of some ritual sacrifice. It was over a drug debt that Gary owed to Kasso. The two were also high as fuck when the altercation happened. Then, after the murder, Kasso brought people to the shallow grave he dug until someone reported it to the police. Prior to his arrest, he was telling people he was going to go clean, go back to school, and get his life back in order. After his arrest, he hung himself in his cell. This doesn't sound like some kind of Satanic monster, but a drug addict who hit rock bottom committed a crime of passion and returned to the scene of the crime (with witnesses!) because he felt guilty.
The guy was kicked out of his parent's house, he wasn't in school, and no hospital would help him with his addictions and mental problems. The whole Satanism angle? Well as psychologist Greg Marsella pointed out, kids like Ricky are hurt and they latch onto something like Satanism to remove themselves from the responsibility of their actions, by convincing themselves their actions are the act of a higher power.
What else do you have for us Geraldo?
The Sullivan Murder-Suicide
How Geraldo Tells It:
For this case, Geraldo interviews Jefferson Township, Detective Paul Hart. He details the murder of Mary Sullivan, who was allegedly murdered by her 14-year-old son Tommy. As it was reported, Tommy was into Satanism and the occult. One night he stabbed his mother to death then committing suicide. About Tommy's wounds, Detective Hart said...
Geraldo goes on to tell the audience that Tommy's father, Thomas Sullivan, Sr. and his surviving brother left the state because they were unable to live with the gruesome deaths that happened in their home. It then cuts to a clip of Sullivan the Elder, who says he isn't sure if he can ever forgive his son since he murdered his wife.
Rivera then begins to editorialize, wondering what a "good kid from a Christian school in a good neighborhood" could become a Satanic killer.
He also asks Detective Hart if he ever saw this level of brutality when he served in Vietnam. Hart skirts around the answer, saying he had never seen anything like this in the kind of neighborhood he patrols. So, basically, yes he did see things that were just as, if not more, horrific when fighting in Vietnam. Thanks for stirring up those memories in the poor guy Geraldo, you dick.
The segment then ends with a montage of drawings and pictures of Tommy Sullivan's room. As though these are some kind of answer as to why Tommy Sullivan committed his evil acts.
There's More to the Story:
As usual, Geraldo focuses on the grisly murders and the Satanic imagery and accepts them on face value. It seems like everyone had done so. Searching the internet the only information about the Tommy Sullivan case were newspaper articles that details the murders and what authorities think happened.
According to the reports, while Tommy's father and younger brother were sleeping upstairs, Tommy stabbed his mother to death in the basement. Tried to start a fire on the couch to, allegedly, burn the rest of the family alive. Tommy then tried to escape in the family car, but couldn't figure out how to get it to work, so he left it rolling down the driveway. Meanwhile, his father and brother are woken up by the smoke detector. According to Sullivan the Elder, as he was running downstairs to find the fire, he heard the front door close and decided to go out and chase after who he believed lit the fire. He found nobody but witnessed his driverless car roll back into the street. He then got a neighbor to help him put out the fire. When he noticed that his wife and son were unaccounted for he then called the police. The story is unclear if Sullivan found the body of his wife before or after the police arrived. They didn't find Tommy, who allegedly died in the neighbor's backyard, until the following day. Searching Tommy's room they found the drawings, and a contract Tommy allegedly wrote for Satan.
You'll notice I am using the phrase "allegedly" a lot in the above, something that the newspapers and (obviously) Geraldo didn't use. At that time, I would assume that this was an active investigation! I hate to question your police work Detective Hart, but something doesn't add up.
What Doesn't Add Up:
First of all, Tommy Sullivan was a Boy Scout, and according to Detective Hart, Tommy used a three-and-a-half inch Scout knife. Well, I looked it up on the Scout Shop, and the only knife they sell that meets those dimensions is this:
The length of three-and-a-half inches when the blades are closed. There are two blades on this knife, the Medium Blade (2 1/4"), and a Small Blade (1 1/4").
So let me get this straight, somehow, Tommy Sullivan managed to kill his mother with this knife, without making a sound. Then start a fire on the couch near his mother's dead body. He then stuck around long enough for the smoke alarm to go off. Then he fled, just as his father was getting up to investigate. Managed to get into the family car, somehow put it into reverse, but failing to figure out how to start it. Abandoning the car, unseen by his father, who went outside after hearing the door close. Then, somehow get into the neighbor's backyard, and use the same knife to cut his wrists and throat with the same wimpy knife. Doing so, with sufficient enough force to cut through his wrist tendons and arteries then cut his throat, almost decapitating himself. That's pretty impressive for a 14 year-old-kid who suddenly decided to murder his family after being a model child.
It's interesting how they say the kid was able to cut through his wrist tendons and arteries, yet was still able to cut his own throat. The interesting thing about that:
Your wrist tendons control... wait for it... your fingers. The reports lead us to believe that he cut both of his wrists. Well if he cut down to the tendons, he wouldn't have been able to cut both of his wrists because one of his hands would be useless. Provided he cut his wrist properly, he would have bled out in 2-3 minutes. As for cutting your neck with a pocket knife right down to the spine... Well... I had to go looking around on Best Gore to see if this was possible. No, I'm not going to post the links, find it yourself if you are so inclined. But yeah, that's not possible, especially with two fucked up hands.
Unfortunately, there aren't any further reports, like a coroner's report that would determine the cause of death and you know, how likely that these wounds are self-inflicted. Did someone do a forensic analysis on the handwriting on the alleged contract with Satan? How do we know that Tommy wrote the note?
Also, it is basic investigation protocol, you start with clearing those who are still alive of involvement. That means clearing the husband, and younger son of involvement in the events. According to sources the deaths happened on January 9, 1988. The newspaper reports were from January 11, 1988. So it took less than 48 hours to clear the two main suspects in the case? Or did they look at Tommy's room and go "huh, this kid was a Satanist" and called it an open and shut case? Also, Geraldo's special aired on October 22, 1988. By this point, according to Rivera, the surviving Sullivan's left the state. I can't find the exact date, but I wouldn't be surprised if this move happened before most states in the union agreed to the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act. None of this seemed suspicious to anyone?
Not even Geraldo Rivera, the supposedly expert investigative reporter?
Look, I'm not saying that Thomas Sullivan, Sr. or his younger son murdered their other family members. However, when you take out all of the Satanic nonsense, you can see how things don't totally add up. Given the lack of information available online about this case, I wonder if the police did not do their due diligence. With the lack of information available, I'm left to wonder if this investigation was actually done properly, or if there may be a killer still out on the loose.
All of these inconsistencies, incomplete reports, and fabrications, and we're only at the 11-minute mark of this special!!
When We Come Back...
Geraldo takes it back to the studio where he cuts off actual experts in order to give hysterical people time to put the fear of Satan into the minds of America. Be there won't you?