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Nathaniel Robert CODE Jr.

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Selected victims he could control, manipulate, and on whom he could project his anger
Number of victims: 8
Date of murders: 1984 - 1987
Date of birth: March 12, 1956
Victims profile: Debra Ford, 25 / Vivian Chaney, 34; her daughter, Carlitha, 15; Vivian Chaney's brother, Jerry Culbert, 25; and her boyfriend, Billy Harris, 28 / William Code, 74 (his grandfather); Eric Williams, 8, and Joe Robinson, 12 (two grandsons of a friend)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Shooting - Strangulation
Location: Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1989
 
 
 
 
 

In the First Judicial District Court
In and For the Parish of Caddo
State of Louisiana

 
Nathaniel R. Code Jr. v. Burl Cain
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nathaniel Code, Jr., was born on March 12, 1956, in Shreveport, Louisiana. At the age of twenty he was already in serious trouble with the law and was sent to prison on an aggravated rape conviction where he stayed until 1984. He returned to Shreveport upon his release, got married, and lived the role of a reformed con. Unknown to anyone, however, he had begun to kill soon after his release.

On August 31, 1984, 25-year-old Debra Ford was found murdered inside her home. During the previous evening an intruder had entered the house through a bathroom window, bound Ford with an electrical cord, gagged her, stabbed her eighteen times, and cut her throat so severely that she was nearly decapitated. Code lived nearby and was one of many people crowded outside police crime scene tape the day Ford's body was discovered.

Only a few blocks from Ford's home on July 19, 1985, an even more atrocious crime was committed. This time the killer gained entrance by forcing open the back door. Four people were found dead the next morning. Vivian Chaney, her boyfrind Billy Joe Harris, her brother Jerry Culbert, and her fifteen-year-old daughter Carlitha Culbert. Harris had been shot twice in the head, twice in the chest, and his throat had been slashed. He had been bound by shoelaces and telephone cords. Jerry Culbert was not bound but had been fatally shot at close range in the head while sleeping. Vivian Chaney was found bound with electrical cord and draped over the edge of the bathtub where she had been drowned. She also had been strangled and beaten. Young Carlitha Culbert was found in the living room also bound with electrical cord and like Ford had been viciously slashed in the throat area.

The killer had spared the lives of Chaney's youngest girls, ages ten and seven. Everyone in the home was either mentally retarded or visually impared except for Harris. A jogger that knew Code later recalled that he had seen Code on the night of the murders covered with blood.

Code soon made an even more damning mistake, however. He broke the greatest Serial Killer rule and murdered somebody close to him. Code's grandfather William was found dead in his home on August 5, 1987, along with Eric Williams, eight, and Joe Robinson, 12, two grandsons of a friend who often stayed with him. William Code was bound with electrical cord and gagged. He had died as a result of thirteen stab wounds and a vicious beating.

Williams was discovered in a guest bedroom strangled to death and Robinson was beaten and strangled before being left dead in the home's living room. Both boys were clad only in their underpants and had also been bound and gagged. Bruising on the top of Robinson's shoulders and collarbones suggested a forced sexual assault had been at least attempted by Nathaniel Code.

A neighbor of William Code witnessed Nathaniel Code leaving his grandfather's residence on the evening of the murders even though it was well known that William Code did not welcome his grandson Nathaniel at the home. Code himself admitted being at the home late that night. When the suspected killer's fingerprints matched those lifted from the Chaney murder scene, Code's luck had officially run out and he was arrested for multiple homicides.

Code was tried and convicted in the four Chaney slayings and sentenced to death. He was also eventually convicted in Ford's murder but was never put to trial for the murders of his grandfather, Joe Robinson, and Eric Williams. Code's death sentence is still being appealed at the time of this writing.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers

 
 

Nathaniel Code

From 1984 to 1987, Code went on a killing spree across Shreveport. Prosecutors say they proved at trial that Code killed eight people. He was convicted in four of those deaths and sentenced to die. The question of lethal injection is just one of several issues Code's defense team is expected to raise during this week's court action, prosecutors said. "In every death penalty case, the main issue is going to be a claim that the defense council was ineffective in the representation, no matter what they did," Estopinal said. "I think the underlying assumption by a defendant is that if I got the death penalty, my lawyer did something wrong."

In 1989, Nathaniel Code, Jr., a Shreveport, Louisiana, man, was convicted of murder. The jury determined that on three separate occasions between 1984 and 1987, Code murdered a total of eight people. The jury returned a guilty verdict, even though several disparities existed among the three crime scenes.

For example, the offender gagged the first victim with a piece of material obtained at the crime scene, but brought duct tape to use on the seven victims in the other two incidents. Also, the killer stabbed and slashed the first victim, whereas the victims of the other two crimes were also shot and showed signs of ligature strangulation. The victims ranged in age from 8 years to 74 years and included both sexes; however, all were black. And, the offender took money from one crime scene, but not the other two.

Off2dr.com

 
 

Nathaniel Code:  Serial Killer

CriminalProfiling.ch

Nathaniel Code, Jr., killed eight times on three separate occasions.  The first homicide, a 25-year-old black female, occurred on August 8, 1984.  Code stabbed her nine times in the chest and slashed her throat.

Approximately a year later, on July 19, 1985, Code killed four people--a 15-year-old girl, her mother, and two of their male friends.  Code nearly severed the girl's head from her body.  He asphyxiated the mother and draped her body over the side of the bath tub.  Code then shot one of the males in the head, leaving him in a middle bedroom; the other male, who was found in the front bedroom, was shot twice and had his throat slit.

The last killing took place on August 5, 1987.  The victims were Code's grandfather and his 8-year-old and 12-year-old nephews.  The boys died of ligature strangulation.  Code stabbed his grandfather five times in the chest and seven times in the back.

The changes in Code's M.O., exhibited from case to case, show how the M.O. is refined.  For example, in the first murder, Code gagged the victim with material found at the scene; the next time, he brought duct tape.

Code also kept his victims under surveillance to obtain information on them, especially with the second killings.  In that case, he brought a gun to the scene to dispose of the males, who posed the greatest threat to him.  Since the last victims, an elderly man and two children, posed little threat to him, Code did not use a gun on them.

All eight killings occurred in single family dwellings.  In each dwelling, the air conditioners and/or televisions were on, which drowned out the noise as he entered through a door or window.  Code quickly gained and maintained control of the victims by separating them in different rooms.

Nathaniel Code had a very distinctive "calling card," one aspect of which were the injuries inflicted on the victims. Code employed a very bloody method of attack and overkill.  He could have simply murdered each victim with a single gunshot wound--a clean kill involving very little "mess."  Instead, Code slaughtered his victims by slashing their throats with a sawing motion that resulted in deep wounds.  Although brutal, the attack didn't satisfy his ritual; all victims sustained additional injuries, with the exception of the 15-year-old girl.

One male victim suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, while another received multiple stab wounds to the chest.  Code wounded nearly all the victims far beyond what was necessary to cause death (overkill).

The physical violence and bloody overkill satisfied Code's need for domination, control, and manipulation.  He positioned each victim face down, which supports this theory.  Code even forced the mother to witness her daughter's death as part of this ritual of control, which was formed from his rage.  In fact, forensic tests found the daughter's blood on the mother's dress.  If the victim's response threatened his sense of domination, Code reacted with anger and the excessive violence that led to overkill.

The last signature aspect of Code's crimes probably best illustrates his unique "calling card"--the ligatures.  Code used both an unusual configuration and material.  In all three cases, he bound the victims with electrical appliance or telephone cords acquired at the scene.  Code could have brought rope or used his duct tape, but the use of these cords satisfied some personal need.  Using a handcuff-style configuration, he looped the cord around each wrist and then the ankles, connecting them to the wrists by a lead going through the legs.

The dissimilarities of these cases involves the M.O., not the signature aspect.  The use of a gun with threatening males present reveals an adaptive offender.  At the time of the grandfather's homicide, additional financial stressors affected Code, evidenced by the theft of money from his grandfather's residence.  These financial stressors influenced Code's M.O., not his "calling card."

Physical characteristics, age, and even sex do not enhance or diminish the ritual driven by rage.  Code's ritual of anger required control and domination of his victims, so victimology was not as important.  Code, like Ronnie Shelton, the serial rapist, selected victims he could control, manipulate, and on whom he could project his anger.

 
 

Shreveport's First Serial Killer Back In Court

2004_10_06

Shreveport's first convicted serial killer was back in a Caddo courtroom Wednesday.

Nathaniel Code's attorneys argued he has a mental disorder that was misdiagnosed and he shouldn`t be put to death.

Two witnesses were called to testify.

The first, a pharmacist at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

The second witness, a Neuro-psychiatrist, was questioned on Code's mental health. He told the court that Code`s traumatic childhood led to his behavior as an adult.

In 1975, at the age of 19, Code was diagnosed with border-line personality disorder and has been treated for it since that time. The Doctor says his actual diagnosis of Code`s problem is called "Schizophrenia Form Disorder."

The misdiagnosis, Code's defense team says could have caused misrepresentation by his defense during his trial.

Code was convicted in 1991 for the deaths of four people in the Shreveport area.

During a killing spree that began in 1984 and concluded in 1987, Code actually killed eight people.

The hearing continues Thursday in Judge Emanuel's Courtroom.

 
 

Nathaniel Robert Code, Jr. (killed: 8)

Lethal injection challenge lands in district court

Don Walker / Staff Writer

May 30, 2003

Convicted quadruple murderer Nathaniel Code will be back in a Caddo District courtroom in June where lawyers are working to stop his execution by lethal injection on claims it's cruel and unusual punishment.

So far, nearly 20 witnesses have been called to testify and another 40 potential witnesses could be called, attorneys in the case said.

The hearing, now entering its fourth month, calls into question whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment - a violation of the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The hearing before Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel was ordered by the state Supreme Court, and began in February in response to appeals filed to spare Code's life. Code is being represented by the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana.

[...]

Code has been on death row at the state penitentiary at Angola since 1991. He was convicted by a Caddo Parish jury in the killings of Vivian Chaney, 34; her daughter, Carlitha, 15; Vivian Chaney's brother, Jerry Culbert, 25; and her boyfriend, Billy Harris, 28, in 1985 in Cedar Grove. He was also a suspect in four other slayings in the neighborhood that took place between 1984 and 1987.

On August 31, 1984, 25-year-old Debra Ford was found murdered inside her home. During the previous evening an intruder had entered the house through a bathroom window, bound Ford with an electrical cord, gagged her, stabbed her eighteen times, and cut her throat so severely that she was nearly decapitated. Code lived nearby and was one of many people crowded outside police crime scene tape the day Ford's body was discovered.

Only a few blocks from Ford's home on July 19, 1985, an even more atrocious crime was committed. This time the killer gained entrance by forcing open the back door. Four people were found dead the next morning. Vivian Chaney, her boyfrind Billy Joe Harris, her brother Jerry Culbert, and her fifteen-year-old daughter Carlitha Culbert. Harris had been shot twice in the head, twice in the chest, and his throat had been slashed. He had been bound by shoelaces and telephone cords.

Jerry Culbert was not bound but had been fatally shot at close range in the head while sleeping. Vivian Chaney was found bound with electrical cord and draped over the edge of the bathtub where she had been drowned. She also had been strangled and beaten. Young Carlitha Culbert was found in the living room also bound with electrical cord and like Ford had been viciously slashed in the throat area. The killer had spared the lives of Chaney's youngest girls, ages ten and seven. Everyone in the home was either mentally retarded or visually impared except for Harris. A jogger that knew Code later recalled that he had seen Code on the night of the murders covered with blood.

Code soon made an even more damning mistake, however. He broke the greatest Serial Killer rule and murdered somebody close to him. Code's grandfather William was found dead in his home on August 5, 1987, along with Eric Williams, eight, and Joe Robinson, 12, two grandsons of a friend who often stayed with him. William Code was bound with electrical cord and gagged. He had died as a result of thirteen stab wounds and a vicious beating. Williams was discovered in a guest bedroom strangled to death and Robinson was beaten and strangled before being left dead in the home's living room. Both boys were clad only in their underpants and had also been bound and gagged.

The victims ranged in age from 8 years to 74 years and included both sexes; however, all were black.

 
 

SEX: M RACE: B TYPE: T MOTIVE: Sex./Sad./ PC-domestic

MO: Bisexual home invader, killed six men, three women, and four children.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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