Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Street robberies
Number of victims: 6 - 9
Date of murders: June-December 1986
Date of arrest: December 29, 1986
Date of birth: 1966
Victims profile: Wilbert Johnson, 50 / James Williams, 51 / Artis Thompson (taxi driver) / Terry Young / Diane Gipson / Darren Mercadel
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1991. Commuted to life in prison on December 5, 1997

First arrested in February 1982, at age fifteen, for molesting an eight-year-old girl, within five years John Brooks was named by homicide detectives as "the largest one-man crime ring in recent New Orleans history."

Arrested December 29, 1986, on two counts of murder, within two weeks his rap sheet listed four more homicides, two counts of attempted murder, nine armed robberies, plus individual counts of kidnapping, rape, and attempted robbery.

It was an impressive tally for a 20-year-old, but police remained convinced that they had only glimpsed "the tip of the iceberg." According to the charges filed against him, Brooks began his solitary crime wave with an armed robbery on June 14, 1986, waiting over a month before pulling his second on July 27.

Foiled in an attempted robbery on August 23, he rebounded the same afternoon by shooting Wilbert Johnson, age 50, and leaving him dead on the street. More robberies followed, on September 1 and 27, October 18 and 19. In the predawn hours of November 1, 51-year-old James Williams was shot to death without apparent motive on a dark New Orleans street, his heavy-set assailant seen by several witnesses.

On November 27, taxi driver Artis Thompson was killed by a stranger who approached his cab, demanded money, and then shot Thompson several times before stealing a purse from his terrified passenger. Another robbery on November 29 kept Brooks in spending money, but his thirst for blood had not been quenched. Things heated up as the Christmas season approached, with another robbery on December 12.

Two days later, Zachary Turnell was parked on the street with a woman companion when he was shot and killed by a stranger, his pockets rifled for cash. Turnell's killer then kidnapped the woman, driving her to a downtown motel, where she was brutally raped.

On December 20, Terry Young was gunned down without motive while leaving a New Orleans tavern. Brooks celebrated Christmas morning with another random shooting, killing Diane Gipson as she sat in her boyfriend's car, on Lakeshore Drive. Her companion, Tyrone Wilkinson, was shot in the stomach but survived.

Three days later, 18-year-old Darren Mercadel was slain on the street while exchanging gifts with a female acquaintance. Ballistics tests showed that the same gun was used to kill victims Young, Gipson, and Mercadel over a period of eight days.

Brooks was finally identified after his fingerprints were matched with some recovered from Tyrone Wilkinson's car. His name was already familiar to homicide investigators, as Brooks had claimed to be a witness in an unsolved double murder -- that of Thomas Morris and Cabrini Jareau, shot in a parked car October 23, 1986.

Charged in the murders of victims Johnson, Williams, Thompson, Young, Gipson and Mercadel, Brooks also remains a prime suspect in the slayings of Turnell, Morris and Jareau.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans



MO: Victims shot in street robberies.

DISPOSITION: Convicted/condemned for six murders.



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