Category Archives: Mississippi

Statutes of Limitations: New York, Mississippi, Illinois


Just for the heck of it, here are some statute of limitations in a few states.

“Statutes of limitations” are laws that set time limits on how long you have to file a “civil” lawsuit, like a personal injury lawsuit, or how long the state has to prosecute someone for committing a crime. These time limits usually depend on the legal claim or crime involved in the case, and they’re different from state to state. For example, in some states you may have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit after you were hurt in a car accident, but in other states you may have two years. As a general rule: Read the rest of this entry

Paging Dr. McGarry: More Evidence of Nikki LaDue January’s Botched Death Investigation


Dr. Paul McGarry is getting more attention than he probably wants right now. You remember him. He is the one Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove and lead investigator Thomas Pustay said examined Nikki LaDue January’s body after she was found with a gunshot wound to the head.  Well, it appears the good doctor isn’t that good at all. Last year, in a story NOLA.com did on the investigation into police brutality and the death of an inmate, McGarry’s work ethic was hung out for all to see. And it’s ugly.

In his testimony, the medical examiner harshly criticized the work of the Orleans Parish coroner’s office, especially former pathologist Dr. Paul McGarry.

McGarry never examined Robair’s ruptured spleen. Nor did McGarry examine or dissect Robair from the waist down. If he had, he would have found massive hemorrhaging and bruising, consistent with baton strikes or kicks, Sperry said. Though these injuries may not be seen with the naked eye, it’s imperative that pathologists look beyond the skin for clues, especially in a death that might have stemmed from a police encounter, Sperry said.

“It should be classified a homicide,” Sperry said of Robair’s death.

Coroner Frank Minyard, relying on McGarry’s autopsy, ruled Robair’s death accidental. In announcing his ruling in August 2005, Minyard said Robair had suffered his fatal injuries before  his encounter with police. Minyard also said the autopsy did not find any wounds indicative of a police beating.

As if that weren’t enough, PBS Frontline did a documentary called “Post Mortem”. The description of the program? WARNING! Don’t die in the wrong state. And who do they spend a good deal of time talking about? That’s right, Dr. Paul McGarry. It’s an interesting program. It lasts an hour but if you’ve got the time, here you go.

Post Mortem

 

Piecing the Puzzle Together: Why Was Nikki LaDue January Murdered?


Nikki and son Zack

For the past couple of months, we’ve all been taken on a journey of Nikki LaDue January’s life and her murder on July 29, 2002. A very unscientific poll here says many of you believe Phil January, her husband was involved. A distant second is someone who was supposed to be her closest friend Nancy Burge.

I don’t think there is any evidence that can put the gun in Phil’s hands. After talking to him and reading all the reports, it is my opinion, and my opinion only that law enforcement needs to open this case and look long and hard at Phil January. An equally hard look needs to be taken at Nancy Burge whose statements after Nikki’s death are not one of a friend at all but of someone who is either covering her tracks or the tracks of an accomplice. There’s no doubt in my mind Nikki was murdered and these two need to step up and tell the truth. Read the rest of this entry

Flashback: Mississippi Woman Murdered–Brandi Laurent


Brandi Laurent

A month or so ago, I published the story of Brandi Laurent. She was the first blog subject of any substance I had done. Everything else up to that point was, well, pointless. I found out she was missing from her Kiln, Mississippi home. She had, what her husband said, left a blog on Myspace indicating she was leaving for another man. Not sure what’s in the water in Mississippi, but there are a lot of similarities between this case from 2007 and Nikki LaDue January’s which took place 5 years before just down the road in Pass Christian.

From October 2007 here is the interview I did with her husband while Brandi was still missing. Leo Laurent is now serving life in prison for her murder. His appeal for a new trial was denied yesterday. Read the rest of this entry

Nikki LaDue January Deserved Better


Some have responded to the previous post about how high the cover-up of Nikki LaDue January’s July 29, 2002 murder went. I said, basically, to the top. Here’s why. We’ll start at the bottom. In fact, we’ll start with the 911 call Nancy Burge, Nikki’s supposed friend made on orders from Phil January, Nikki’s husband. Here is the transcript from that call made at 9:54 a.m. July 29. Read the rest of this entry

Dear Mississippi: You Have the Power to Right a Wrong, Find Nikki’s Killer


Nikki and son Zack

Nichole (Nikki) LaDue January was murdered on July 29, 2002 on her balcony in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She was rendered helpless by a electroshock stun gun to the head and then executed. It was not suicide like the police and coroner ruled. I have read countless pages of transcripts, police reports, you name it. I have seen the only crime scene photos taken. The rest of Nikki’s police file was supposedly washed to sea during Hurricane Katrina which devastated Pass Christian in 2005 so there was nothing to look at there. But based on what does exist, based on what some of you have told me and based on the fact that government officials from the Attorney General Jim Hood to the Pass Christian Police Chief John Dubuisson have either refused to talk to Nikki’s grieving parents or outright lied to them about the investigation into her death. In fact, some people have come forward to say they’ve been threatened not to talk to Nikki’s family about this case. So who did it? And why was the investigation either cover-upped or botched? What about Phil January, Nikki’s husband, or her best friend Nancy Burge? In my opinion both know much more than they have said which can only mean they are complicit with the crime or are afraid. Read the rest of this entry

Shining a Light on Mississippi’s Dark Secret


Lead investigator Thomas Pustay who later was convicted of sexual abuse of a child

Nichole Lynne LaDue was born February 27, 1972 in Hornell, New York. She died July 29, 2002 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She was 30. Those dates bookend the life of the woman everyone knows as Nikki. Much of what happened between those dates remains a mystery. We know she died of a gunshot wound to her head. We know both the lead investigator Thomas Pustay and the county coroner Gary Hargrove immediately ruled her death a suicide. What else do we know? At the time of Nikki’s death, Detective Pustay admitted he was severely depressed. He was also engaging in child molestation for which he is now serving what amounts to the rest of his life in prison. As  for Gary Hargrove, the person who ruled Nikki’s death a suicide, he too has a questionable history. In July 2007, CNN investigated Hargrove and the Harrison County jail about a series of inmate deaths. Guards beat at least 4 to death. CNN talked to the family of Lee Smith, one of the murdered inmates. You can read the entire transcript here, but there are some key points made that I want to bring your attention to…namely that Gary Hargrove is either incompetent, corrupt or both and should not now nor ever be in a position to affect the outcome of so many lives. He belongs in a cell alongside Pustay. It’s what CNN calls Mississippi’s “little dark secret.” Folks, it’s that dark secret that will be delaying a bit my final thoughts on who killed Nikki LaDue January. Because what happened in tiny Pass Christian, Mississippi is not new. So much gets swept under the rug in that state it’s hard to believe it’s a part of this country. Here is a portion of that CNN investigation. Read the rest of this entry

Time to Put My Thoughts Together: Who Killed Nikki LaDue January?


OK. I think I’ve seen and heard enough. Now I need to go back to the beginning and sort through everything and gather my thoughts. Then I will post my final Nikki LaDue January post. If anyone out there has some additional information you think I should know, now’s the time. I hope to finish writing Nikki’s story this weekend. Until then, remember Nikki for who she was. Until then, here again are some thoughts from Nikki’s good friend Jennifer Hecker Guenter. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 9 and final)


Nikki and her son Zack

Now to the final part of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting  which chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Phil found Nikki dead on the couple’s balcony after traveling home from Louisiana. He admits they had several phone calls in the early morning up until about 1:30 a.m. and that the phone calls were filled with anger at times. It’s the police and coroner’s assumption that those phone calls caused Nikki to kill herself, disregarding her little boy in the room next to her. Now back to Phil’s interview with the PI. In front of Nikki’s body was a table. We resume the interview there. Read the rest of this entry

Phil January Interview with PI (Part 8 of many)


Nikki and Zack

Now to Part 8 of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting  that chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Today, Phil talks about finding Nikki’s body on the couple’s balcony. After he and Nancy Burges, Nikki’s closest friend, searched the condo looking for her, Phil said he noticed the balcony door was ajar. Read the rest of this entry

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