UNDERCOVER IN A MURDEROUS CULT
A Case One Detective Will Never Forget
March 23, 1999
By Paul Carey
FALL RIVER, Mass. (APBnews.com) -- It was a case of sex, slaughter and Satanism. One woman was beheaded. Two others had their skulls crushed. Crime scenes were littered with human as well as animal bones.
It all began in October 1979 with a dead body beneath the bleachers of a vocational high school here. We ID'd the corpse as Doreen Levesque, a runaway from a foster home in New Bedford. She had been working as a prostitute in Fall River's red-light district.
It was the weirdest multiple-murder case I ever saw as a detective sergeant in the Fall River Police Department. Not only did I go undercover to attend a Satan worship ritual, I even brought the beer.
Hands bound, skull crushed
The young woman's hands had been bound behind her back; her head had been caved in with a rock. There were signs of peculiar sexual activities.
We had no suspects. There was no clear motive. We were stumped.
Three months later, another woman's body turned up. This one was found in a wooded area behind a local printing plant. She was identified as Barbara Raposa, 22. Like the first victim, her skull had been crushed with a rock and her hands bound be
hind her back. The slaying had ritualistic overtones to it. Three months before her body was found, Raposa -- also a prostitute -- was reported missing by her boyfriend, Andre Maltais, 44, of New Bedford.
We interviewed Maltais. He told us that the second dead woman was a devil worshiper. We later discovered that Maltais was part of the same devil worship group that held some of its rituals in the area.
We also stumbled on another relevant name: Robin Murphy, a 17-year-old prostitute and pimp who was a former girlfriend of Maltais. We learned that Maltais had ended a long-running relationship with Murphy in order to become Raposa's lover.
'Hovering' over crime scene?
Maltais told investigators that he had a dream of hovering over the crime scene where Raposa's body was found.
Apparently, he saw or remembered too much while he was "hovering." The district attorney had him arrested, charging him with Raposa's murder. When she was questioned, Murphy fingered Maltais as Raposa's killer and agreed to turn state's evidence in return for a lighter sentence.
But there was still the killing of Levesque to solve.
We had long heard there were satanic rituals taking place in the area, but never had cause to investigate. Then, a woman I had helped years ago told me that a satanic group periodically met at her apartment. More importantly, she told me that Raposa, Murphy and a man identified as Carl Drew, 25, all came to satanic rites there.
I told my partner, "Let's go. We're going to meet Satan."
Six-packs and Satan
We got two six-packs of beer and went to the apartment. We didn't tell anyone we were cops. People started arriving including Drew, a known pimp, and Murphy. They were soon joined by a woman named Karen Marsden -- who would later end up the third victim in the satanic slaying cluster.
At the apartment, we watched a satanic ritual. There were strange chants. A "Hail, Satan!" announcement indicated that Satan had entered the room.
Pimps and prostitutes
We later found out that Drew had been pimping for Levesque, the first victim, at the time she was murdered and that Murphy was pimping for Marsden. It was an ugly tangle, but we always thought Marsden, 20, was the key.
We later interviewed her about the murders of Levesque and Raposa. She was nervous and cried. We started to believe that she might have been at the scene when the murders occurred. She wouldn't admit that she took part in or saw anything.
I was supposed to meet and interview her again weeks later. But she disappeared.
I knew she was dead. Human skull and animal bones
Marsden's skull was found about six months later in Westport. When we searched the area, we found cat skulls, sheep bones and some jewelry that belonged to Marsden. We also found large clumps of hair -- ripped out by the roots -- that we believe were from her head.
More of Marsden's possessions were found about a half-mile away. We also found a ring with the symbol of the devil on it. It was spooky.
Maltais gets life
When Maltais went on trial for Raposa's murder, Murphy was the prosecution's key witness. She convinced the DA to grant her immunity in exchange for her testimony that she was present at the slaying of Raposa and had participated in the Marsden murder.
I thought it was a bad move to grant Murphy immunity. I still believe that she was the ringleader behind all the slayings.
In the Marsden killing, Murphy's testimony painted a grisly scene. She said Drew ordered Marsden killed in a nighttime ritual because the young woman wanted to leave the cult. She said Drew also killed Levesque and that "the two girls' souls were offered up to Satan."
Drew, she testified, ordered her to cut Marsden's throat after he crushed the victim's skull with a rock. She said Drew whispered words in a strange language, used blood from the body to paint a cross on her forehead, and then wrenched the head from the body with his bare hands.
Murphy told the jury that Drew had called himself the "son of Satan." Murphy admitted that Raposa, the second victim, was her lover and was involved with her in a prostitution ring.
Maltais continuously denied that he murdered Raposa or was involved in a devil cult. However, he was convicted of Raposa's murder in March 1981 and sentenced to life in prison. Murphy, in exchange for her testimony, was given 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.
Overlapping love triangles
But I still believe that Murphy was the real ringleader, not Drew; that Levesque was murdered because Murphy was also in love with her and became jealous when Levesque started seeing Drew. I believe Murphy and Marsden were present when Levesque was killed.
I think Murphy killed Raposa because Raposa was in love with Maltais. Murphy admitted that she and Raposa had previously been lovers.
And, I believe Murphy killed Marsden because of the two previous murders. Marsden was at the scene of those murders, and I believe Murphy knew she was the weak link and might get them convicted.
Also, Murphy later admitted during the Levesque investigation that she lied in naming two other men as Levesque's killers. She later told the DA that she didn't even know the men she had accused. The DA was then forced to release the men.
No one was ever prosecuted for the murder of Levesque.
Where are they now?
Maltais died in prison, thinking he was an "agent for the police." He was mentally ill.
I visited Drew in prison a few weeks ago. I am convinced that it was Murphy, not Drew, who ran the whole cult and prostitution ring. Murphy was the dominant personality in the cult and had the motives to commit the slayings. To this day, I am still not satisfied that Drew was present at any of the murders.
But he's in for life.
Murphy will soon be eligible for parole. She was denied parole about five years ago.