The top murder cases worked by a Caddo Parish homicide investigator form the core of a new series debuting on Investigation Discovery in February.
Ten cases worked by Rod Demery, author of two books and for three decades a top murder detective for the Shreveport Police Department and agencies in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, comprise “Murder Chose Me,” the series that will debut on ID Feb. 15, 2017, at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. CT).
Demery’s series stems from involvement in the Jupiter Entertainment series Fatal Attraction several years ago.
“They profiled one of my murder cases and interviewed me,” Demery said. Later, one of the producers called and said they were doing another series and would Demery like to be part of it?
“Actually, it was the second time it happened,” he said. In 2011, a New York crime show producer called and asked him if he wanted to do a series.
“I was working homicide at the time and was not ready to leave the police department, so I declined,” he said. “This time around I was ready to retire.”
Demery, who now works as a homicide investigator for the Caddo Parish District Attorney, is a decorated veteran of the United States Navy, with service in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.
With family roots in Natchitoches Parish, he was reared by his grandparents in New Mexico after his mother was murdered in 1969, when he was almost 4 years old. He moved to Shreveport in 1999 when he was 33, and joined the Shreveport Police Department.
He later attended Louisiana State University-Shreveport where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He is the author of the 2011 Amazon Kindle best-seller “Things My Daughters Need to Know: A Cop and Father’s View of Sex, Relationships and Happiness,” as well as “No Place For Race: Why We Need to Address Economic and Social Factors That Are Crushing Us Every Day,” published in October 2013.
Murders featured in this first season include the September 2001 shooting death of Stoner Hill neighborhood resident Albert Small; the November 2001 slaying of Nicholas Cox, a US Navy sailor home on leave; the September 2008 murder of pregnant teenager Tavia Sills; the July 2011 home-invasion/robbery slaying of Roshenna Crowder; the August 2002 stabbing death of J.W. Fuller; the July 2002 killing of Drexelle McBride; and the November 2012 carjacking and robbery murder of 68-year-old Rose Coleman.
The case that will close out the first season is the murder of Demery’s mother, Barbara, in Sweeny, Texas, in May 1969.
While he grew up hearing about his mother’s murder, Demery has no memories of it. It wasn’t until 2004 that he got the coroner’s and police reports, interviewed people key to the case and put all the pieces together.
“Like any other calling, law enforcement is somewhat a ministry,” Demery says. “God chooses you for certain things. I didn’t get into law enforcement because of (my mother’s murder). But the experiences from my mother’s murder, my back story, gave me a different skill set.”
During his 17 years with the Shreveport Police Department, Demery was involved in more than 250 homicide investigations and was the primary detective in more than 60 homicide arrests.
Solving a murder is satisfying on several levels, he said.
“One, it removes a lot of fear,” he said. “When someone close to you is murdered, the natural thing to keep in the back of your mind is that it could happen to you or somebody else that you love. Solving it takes that away.”
Second, he said, solving a heinous crime make the community as a whole more confident in their safety. Finally solving a crime and meting out justice makes people think twice about committing similar crimes.
Conversely, unsolved crimes lead to a loss of respect for law enforcement, a respect communities do not want to lose, he said.
“There’s no neighborhood anywhere in the country that wants to have people riding around shooting other people and selling drugs,” he says. “It’s a pretty simple thing: If people fear the criminals in their community more than they respect the abilities of the police, then you have a problem.”
Being with the District Attorney’s office, “I get a better perspective as far as the criminal justice system,” he says. “Here, I see all aspects of it. Police are looking for a person, to solve a crime, but with the DA’s office there’s justice to be delivered. That’s a huge aspect you don’t see as a police officer. With the DA’s office it’s more analytical. You get to see how justice is handed out.”
No one murder stands out above others, he says.
“Some cases are more emotional than others, but the tragedy is pretty equal,” he says. “I hear people say ‘this was a senseless crime,’ but when you strip it down from all the socio-political innuendos and speculations, the reality is someone took the life of another. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what race or gender you are, that pain and that loss and the anguish of someone who has lost a loved one is identical.
“Murder is absolutely equal. No one is immune to it.”