Would you do anything to reach immortality? We have heard about vampirism, the fountain of youth, and other ways people have tried to live forever. How about viciously murdering entire families? This is what teenager Clementine Barnabet did. She was a cult leader who began murdering black families in Louisiana and Texas to reach eternal life. 

Ax Murders   

It’s 1911 in Southern Louisiana, and it isn’t like any other year. It’s the year that black families started living in terror. The reason for the fear was that a murderer was targeting black families. The murderer would sneak into the homes in the middle of the night and hack the family members to death using an ax. The ax always belonged to the family. 

On February 11, 1911, the Byers family was found murdered in their home. A father, Walter, a mother, and their child. The police figured out that the murderer entered through a rear window. 

About two weeks later, on February 24, 1911, the Andrus family was found dead. The father, Alexander, mother, Meme, and their two children, Joachim and Agnes. Sheriff LaCoste fed details to the newspaper like Alexander and Meme had been placed as though they were praying.

On March 22, 1911, in Texas, the Casaway family was discovered dead. The father, Alred, mother, Elizabeth, and their three children. This was a bit different than the other murders. First, it wasn’t in Louisiana. Second, the Cassaway mother was White. Before then, the murderer only targeted black people.  

At first, the police believed that Raymond Barnabet committed the murders. The suspicion came because his common-law wife Nina Porter told people that she suspected Raymond had something to do with it. The Barnabets had a bad reputation around Lafayette. They were described as “filthy, shifty, degenerate examples of the lowest African types.” Therefore, the Lafayette Sheriff Louis LaCoste arrested Raymond. There was no proof that he committed the murders, so Raymond Barnabet was release. 

Later on, Sheriff LaCoste arrested Raymond Barnabet again for the murders of the Byers and Andrus families. The trial began. In October 1911, Raymond was indicted for the murders. During the trial, Nina Porter testified. The other two who did were his children Zepherin and Clementine. When Nina testified, she said that Raymond got home around 2am. However, 17-year old Clementine refuted what Nina said. Clementine said that Raymond got home much later than 2am. She said that she noticed that her father’s clothes were covered in blood and brains. Clementine further noted that her father then confessed to murdering a “whole family.” Her brother Zepherin corroborated his sister’s testimony. Raymond Barnabet was found guilty. 

Who is the Murderer?

When Raymond Barnabet was in prison, on November 26, 1911, the Randall family of six was slaughtered. The father, Norbert, the mother, their three children, Renee, Norbert Jr, Agnes, and their nephew, Albert Sise. Sheriff LaCoste will later say that he saw the ax, but it had been cleaned of any blood. The autopsy found that the father, Norbert Randall, had been shot in the head before being hacked to death. 

Sheriff LaCoste arrested both Clementine and Zepherim because there was no way that Raymond committed the crime when he was sitting in jail. LaCoste was more suspicious of Clementine that he remembered that when he came to pick up her father Raymond, she had blood on her. When they searched the house, they found a few bloody clothes in her closet. Clementine laughed and denied having anything to do with the murders when questioned. 

During the investigation, police realized that the murders had a spiritual meaning. They also figured out that it was a group of people committing these crimes. 

While Clementine was in prison, two or three families (some sources say it was three) were murdered in January 1912. The first family was murdered on January 18, 1912. A single mother, Marie Warner, and her three children, Pearl, Garey, and Harriet. It is said that two sets of bloody footprints were found. 

A few days later, on January 21, 1912, the Broussard family was found dead. The father, Felix Broussard, the mother, and three children. On the front door, a message written in blood: 

“When he maketh the inquisition for blood, he forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” This is Psalm 9:12 in the King James Bible. It was signed “Human Five.” 

They found the children with their fingers spread apart with splints.

On April 12, 1912, another family was murdered. The father, William Barton, the mother, the two children, and brother-in-law.

Caught 

On April 5, 1912, Clementine confessed. She would say that her father Raymond and she were leaders of a voodoo cult named “The Church of Sacrifice.” There were three other members. Clementine would add that she would dress as a man and travel by train. Like Jane Toppan, Clementine would find sexual gratification in the murders. She would fondle the dead children. She would admit to murdering 17 people.

Clementine also said that the murders actually started in 1909 in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

A newspaper, The Lafayette Advertiser, printed her entire confession. A few days later, on April 14, 1912, Clementine went to murdering 17 people to 35. The reason that the Church of Sacrifice committed the murders was to reach immortality. 

On August 20, 1912, the Dashleil family was almost killed. At night, the mother was attacked, but she could fight off the attacker before the father shot at him/her. The attacker ran off.

On October 29, 1912, Clementine Barnabet was sentenced to life at the Angola Farm Prison near Baton Rouge at 19. On July 31, 1913, she tried escaping but was caught. Supposedly, Clementine was given a procedure that helped her have a “normal condition” and was released after ten years.  

Closing Remarks

As a teenager, Clementine was a vicious leader who could lead adults to help her commit the brutal murders of entire families. It’s horrible to put your kids to bed, kiss your spouse, and be hacked to death. I was surprised by the number of details that there were for a case in the early 1900s. I was also impressed with Sheriff LaCoste and how he did relentless investigating to find Clementine, her father, and the rest of the accomplices. I wonder if Clementine had a lobotomy. But Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz is credited for inventing lobotomies in 1935. So what did they do that they thought she was healed? A story in 1985 came out of a woman who went to visit her 103edi great-grandmother. Her great-grandmother started telling her about the vicious Clementine Barnabet. She described her as a “black woman so beautiful with alabaster skin and eyes so piercing she would look at you and turn you to stone.” When her great-grandmother passed away, the woman went to the home and saw a picture of her great-grandmother as a young woman. She turned out to be Clementine Barnabet. 

Clementine Barnabet was like Jane Toppan that she got sexual gratification when murdering people

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