Sunday, February 21, 2016

Clementine Barnabet Study Collection (Lafayette Advertiser)

Collected here:

Feb. 28, 1911
Mar. 28, 1911
Sep. 15, 1911
Oct. 24, 1911
Nov. 28, 1911
Jan. 19, 1912
Jan. 23, 1912 (3 articles)
Jan. 30, 1912
Feb. 13, 1912
Feb. 23, 1912
Mar. 1, 1912
Mar. 28, 1912
Apr. 5, 1912
Apr. 9, 1912
Apr. 16, 1912
Apr. 19, 1912
Apr. 26, 1912
May 17, 1912
Jun. 14, 1912
Oct. 8, 1912
Oct. 22, 1912
Oct. 25, 1912
Oct. 29, 1912



Nov. 11, 1909 – Saturday night; Rayne, La. murders, Edna Opelousas, 3 children (ages 4-9).
Jan. 31, 1911 – Cowley, La., murders; Walter Byers, wife, son (6).
Feb. 25, 1911 – Saturday night; Andrus family murdered, Lafayette, La.; Alexandre (“Timi”?) Andrus, Mimi (wife), Joachim (3 years), Agnes (11 mo).
Oct. 24, 1911 – Raymond Barnabet convicted of the Andrus family murders.
Nov 26, 1911 – Sunday night; Norbert Randall family murders, Lafayette, La., 6 killed.
Nov. 27, 1911 – Arrest of Clementine the morning after murders discovered, claims innocence.
Nov. 29, 1911 – Clementine’s hearing in court, confesses on witness stand.
Jan. 18, 1912 – Warner family murdered, Crowley, La., Mrs. Marie W., Pearl (9), Garey (7), Harriet (5).
Jan. 20, 1912 – Broussard family murdered, Lake Charles, La.; Felix Broussard, wife, 3 children; while the Barnabets remain in jail.
Apr. 2, 1912 – Clementine's confession (to reporter). In court: "Other families been marked for death, the girl said, and would 'pay the sacrifice.'”
Apr. 4, 1912 – Grand jury indictment of Clementine.
Apr. 5, 1912 – Clementine tells police that Joseph Thibodeaux, the “voodoo doctor,” gave her the idea for the murders.
Oct. 24, 1912 – Barnabet case brought up for trial.
Oct. 25, 1912 – Clementine Barnabet convicted, sentenced to life.

Other arrests in the case:
Raymond Barnabet, arrested; tried and convicted.
Rev. King Harris of the “God Sacrifice Church,” arrested.
Jan. 27, 1912 – Eliza Richards, arrested.
Apr. 26, 1912 – Mac Thomas, arrested.
Zepherin Barnebet (Clementine’s brother)
Sosthene Gyuidry, 1911

Other figures:
Chemist Metz.
Sheriff Lacoste.
Sheriff Fontenot.


Note: Various spellings are found in newspaper reports: “Barnabet,” “Bernebet,” “Bernabet,” "Barnerbet," “Barnebat,” “Benrabet.” The  Lafayette Advertiser newspaper uses the spelling “Bernebet” in its earlier reports and “Barnabet” in later articles.

“Barnabet” has been chosen for our listings.

ALSO SEE: 1911 – Clementine Barnabet (Bernebet) – Lafayette, Louisiana, USA


February 28, 1911

FULL TEXT: Lafayette, La. – Saturday night a negro family consisting of husband and wife, and two children were brutally murdered in the Trahan and Doucet addition just beyond the railroad-track where it crosses Vermilion street, the victims of the murderer being Alexandre Andrus, his wife Mimi, his son Joachim aged 3 years and baby Agnes, eleven months old.

The terrible crime was discovered at seven in the morning by the woman's brother, Lezime Felix, who gave the alarm. Sheriff Lacoste and other officers and Deputy Coroner Clark at once went to the scene. The man and wife and boy had been brained with an axe while sleeping in the bed, and then the baby, lying in its cradle was struck and its head crushed. The man and woman were taken up by the murderer and placed on their knees beside the bed, the woman's arm over the man’s shoulder, as if in the attitude of prayer. The baby was then placed beside the mother on the bed. Then the murderer escaped through the kitchen door where he had entered. The crime it is thought was commited [sic] after midnight, as an examination by Dr. Clark disclosed some slight warmth in the bodies. A coroner's jury was held which for want of evidence brought in a verdict of death by unknown party.

Sheriff Lacoste and the officers suspected an escaped lunatic from Pineville by the name of Garcon Godfry. They learned from the mother, whom they arrested, that Godfry was at Maurice. Deputy Peck and Officer Edwin Campbell went out and got him, but were unable to connect him with the crime as parties at Maurice testified to his having been there all the time. They brought him back and placed him in jail to return to the asylum.

Sheriff Lacoste and the officers are making every effort to discover the terrible criminal. Several arrests have been made in connection with the case, but the Sheriff has nothing positive to give out yet.

About two months ago a family of negroes consisting of father, mother, and child was murdered under similar circumstances at Crowley, and about a year and a half ago a negro family of four, man, wife and two children were killed [in the same] manner at Rayne. The crimes are so alike that they may be the work of the same terrible monster.

[“Horrible Crime. - Whole Negro Family of Four Brutally Murdered While Asleep in Their Beds.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.),  Feb. 28, 1911, p. 1]


March 28, 1911

FULL TEXT: Crowley Signal: Sosthene Guidry, a negro, has been arrested by Sheriff Fonte not on the charge with murdering with an axe a negro woman and her three children at Rayne in September, 1909. The murder was committed with an ax. A similar murder was committed at Crowley a few months ago and another at Lafayette recently. All three of the murders were committed with an ax. In the Crowley case three were killed and in the Lafayette case four persons were brained with an ax.

There are no new developments the Crowley wholesale murder case.

In connection with the above, another similar butchery occurred at San Antonio, Texas on the 23rd when a negro family of five was brained with an axe and under circumstances similar and that would seem to connect the crimes committed in Louisiana.

The bodies were arranged in order and covered by assassin, who showed the methodical details as were noticeable in the quadruple murder committed at Lafayette a few weeks ago. Sheriff Lacoste has been in correspondence with the Texas authorities giving them all information in his possession and obtaining some clews that may eventually lead to the solution to these terrible crimes. In all probability they have been perpetuated by the same person who no doubt is insane, or affected with some fiendish mania against the negro race.

[“Negro Arrested - By Sheriff Fontenot for Rayne Butchery - Family of Five Brained in San Antonio Last Week.” Mar. 28, 1911, p. 2]


September 15, 1911

FULL TEXT: Raymond Bernabet, the negro is charged with the quadruple murder last February in the Trahan addition, was brought from the Crowley jail Wednesday night by Lacoste and lodged in the parish jail. The prisoner was arrested weeks ago and kept at enable the officers to better the case against him. Bernabet, it is understood, protests his of the crime placed at his door, but Sheriff Lacoste expects to secure an indictment and conviction.

[“Bernabet Brought Back.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Sep. 15, 1911, p. 1]


October 24, 1911

FULL TEXT: Tuesday evening [Oct. 24, 1911] the jury in the case of Raymond Bernabet, charged with the murder of the Andrus family, consisting of father, mother and two children, last February, brought in a verdict of guilty as charged.

The deed was a most fiendish one and awoke horror in the community.

The officers at once began on the case and at the time arrested Bernabet, as a suspect, but could not fasten the crime on him. They kept working and watching and were at last rewarded with a clew which they evidence that secured the conviction worked up and made into a chain of of Bernabet [sic]. The murder was almost atrocious one and Sheriff Lacoste and his officers deserve credit for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

[“Bernabet Convicted. - Negro Charged With the Murder of the Andrus Family Last February Found Guilty.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Oct. 24, 1911, p. 1]


November 28, 1911

FULL TEXT: Lafayette, La. – Yesterday morning the town was again shocked by the discovery of the murder of an entire negro family Sunday night [Nov. 26, 1911]. The victims were Norbert Randall, his wife and three children and nephew. They occupied a three-room house in Mills addition just beyond the turn in Madison street going to Couvillon’s. The discovery of the murder was made by the oldest child of the Randall family, a girl about ten, who had spent the night at her uncle's house. She found the kitchen door open and upon entering saw her parents and the children in bed murdered. She gave the alarm and officers at once went to the scene of the murder and made every investigation possible. A considerable rain was falling, which removed any outside trace of the criminal. Inside nothing seemed to have been disturbed. The murder was committed with an axe, which was found in the house washed off.

The man and wife and little baby girl were found in one bed and the three boys in another and all struck in the head. All must have died instantly. Sheriff Lacoste has arrested Clementine Bernabet, daughter of Raymond Bernabet now under conviction of having killed the Andros family the same way last February [1911]. Clemintine [sic] is living now within a block of the Randall cabin and certain things led the sheriff to arrest her on suspicion, also her brother, the chief witnesses against their father at his trial.

[“Negro Family Murdered.” Lafayette Advertiser (In.), Nov. 28, 1911, p. 4]


January 19, 1912

FULL TEXT: District Attorney Robira received a telephone message Wednesday from Chemist Metz of New Orleans, to whom the bloody clothes of Clementine Bernabet had been sent for testing, she claiming that the blood was from herself. Chemist Metz declares the blood is not menstrual, but that both the white and blue shirtwaists and the skirt had pure human blood and brains on them.

Clementine is now in jail charged with the murder of Norbert Randall, his wife and four children, who were brutally killed with an axe last November, while asleep. She was arrested the morning the murder was discovered and the clothes, which were submitted to Chemist Metz, were found locked up in a closet adjoining Clementine’s room. The clothes were proven hers and she owned they belonged to her.

[“Chemist Metz Says Blood on Clothes of Clemintine Bernabet [sic], Charged With Murder of Randall Family, Pure.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jan. 19, 1912, p. 4]


January 23, 1912

FULL TEXT: Crowley Signal, Jan. 19. – Another horrible crime in the coontown section of the city was discovered at noon today when the dead bodies of Marie Warner, a colored woman about thirty years old and her three children were found in a hut in the "Promised Land.”

All four had been slain with an ax found in the house but no clue to the murderer has so far been found.

Marie Warner and her children resided in a two room hut between Sixth and Seventh streets, about two blocks west of Western avenue. The children were Pearl, a girl aged nine years; Garey, a boy aged seven, and Harriet, a girl aged five. The woman had been separated from her husband about four years and it is understood he is living in Beaumont.

The hut in which the family lived is divided into two apartments, one in the front facing on the street and the other in the back. There is an entrance both in the front and in the back, and from the latter it is supposed the murderer gained admittance, as the back door was found open when the investigation was made today.

It was a little before noon today when the discovery of the crime was made. Harriet Crane, mother of the murdered woman, called at her house but found the cottage apparently empty. She crossed the street to the home of a negro named Dorsey Berdoug to inquire where her daughter was, but Berdoug was unable to give her any information.

They went back to the hut together and found the back door open, but both were afraid to enter. Finally a negro named Ben Robinson was inticed [sic] to enter the hut and found the mangled remains of the four occupants lying on a bed in the front room.

From the appearance of the house it would seem that at least some of the occupants were killed in the back room and their bodies moved to the front room. All four were found lying across the bed, face downward, in the front room. There was no indication of a struggle and it is supposed they were killed in their sleep.

A blood stained axe, found in the room where the dead bodies lay, is the only evidence that has so far been discovered.

The sheriff force and the police department are actively at work on the case.

Up to 3:30 this afternoon the officers had not been able to find the slightest clue to the murderer or murderers. It is believed the crime was committed last night after the family had gone to sleep. The tracks in the back yard lead to the belief that more than one person was implicated in the crime, but this is merely a matter of conjecture. The premises are being carefully guarded and it is stated that the officers will send for a pack of bloodhounds to put on the trail in the hope of running down the murderer.

[“Negro Family Killed In Crowley -  Negro Family Killed Tag. - Mother and Three Children Brained With an Axe - Similar to Crimes Committed Here.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jan. 23, 1912, p. 1; 3 articles on the case appear on front page]


FULL TEXT: On the request of the authorities here Chief of Police Harris, of Jennings, arrested and brought over here Sunday King Harris, colored, the pastor of what is known as the Sacrifice church in Jennings. Harris was arrested as a suspect in connection with the Norbert Randall murder here in November, because it is believed that this Sacrifice sect is something on the order of the “Council of God” sect of New Orleans. It is known that on the night of the murder this Harris held a meeting in a house about one half block from the Randall home and Randall and his family are said to have been at the meeting.

While the officers are confident they have two of the persons implicated in these horrible butcheries of whole families, in jail, they have believed there are others, which belief a similar murder Thursday night in Crowley of another family, confirms and leads to the suspicion that the murders may be the result of some fanatical belief or teaching. This is what lead up to the arrest of the preacher Harris, and they hope soon to solve the mystery of these atrocities.

[“Arrested As Suspect - in Randall Family Murder, Pastor Harris of Sacrifice Church, Jennings, Is Brought Here.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jan. 23, 1912, p. 1; 3 articles on the case appear on front page]


FULL TEXT: Another butchery of a negro family took place in Lake Charles Saturday night. The victims were Felix Broussard, his wife and three children. They were knocked in the head with an axe and this time the murdered [sic] left a note saying the murderer wrote on the front door in pencil “When he maketh the inquisition for blood, he forgetteth not the cry of the humble – human five.”

A peculiar thing in these murder at Lafayette, Crowley, Duson and now at Lake Charles, is that all of the murdered people were from this parish and lived at or near Carencro. So far no clue to the murderer has been found.

[“Another Butchery. - Family of Five Murdered Saturday Night in Lake Charles, Brained With An Axe.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jan. 23, 1912, p. 1; 3 articles on the case appear on front page]


January 30, 1912

FULL TEXT: Special to The Times-Democrat. Lake Charles, Jan. 27. – Eliza Richards, a negro woman, was brought to Lake Charles from Crowley today and lodged in the parish prison for safe keeping.

She is being held in connection with the numerous murders committed in this section within the past year, in which there have been twenty-six victims in less than that many weeks, in each case the lives of the negro men, women and children being crushed out with blows on the head with an axe.

The woman, the Acadia officers believe, knows more than she has thus far told of the murder of the family of four in Crowley some forty-eight hours previous to the murder of the family of this city in the same man, not less than a week ago.

A deputy sheriff from Acadia parish brought the accused to Lake Charles from that parish, and she was at once lodged behind the bars of the parish jail pending farther investigation on the part of Sheriff Fontenot and his deputies at Crow Crowley.

The object of bringing the woman here, it is believed, was for safekeeping, as the wholesale murders around Crowley have aroused much excitement and resentment, sad probably violence may have been attempted were any one held there in connection with the bloody crimes.

The Richards woman, the local officers say, absolutely refuses to discuss the case or the charges against her, pleading ignorance when asked anything in regard to the crimes. It is not known whether or not the Richards woman will be connected with any of the crimes here or at Crowley or Lafayette, the report being that she is held on suspicion.

Besides the woman in the local jail the Acadia and Lafayette authorities have two negro preachers in jail at Lafayette, who are believed to be connected with the commission of the wholesale murders. Both the preachers are members of the new religious sect known as the “Sacrifice Church,” it is alleged. Officers of Lake Charles are still working on the case and new development are expected.

[“Woman Arrested. - By Crowley Officer-Held in Congeotlon With Murder of Negro Families There.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jan. 30, 1912, p. 1]


February 13, 1912

FULL TEXT: The alarm among the colored people of this city owing to the axe murders which have occurred here and elsewhere has been increased by a number of attempted to enter negro homes, especially lately. About two weeks ago an attempt was made on two houses and now again Saturday and Sunday night attempts were made in the same neighborhood between the power house and the Grove. Very sensational tales are being circulated in regard to these attempts, which are greatly adding to the fright of the negroes.

[“Negroes Alarmed - Attempts to Enter Homes at Night Continue. No Clue to Miscreants.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Feb. 13, 1912, p. 1]


February 23, 1912

FULL TEXT: Beaumont, Feb. 20. – The brutal murder of four negroes, a mother, her son and two daughters, in this city Sunday night is the seventh of a series of similar crimes which have been committed in the territory between Crowley, La., and Beaumont within the last few months. The similarity of the elemental circumstances leaves no doubt but that all the murders were committed by the same person and that there is some eccentric motive for the crimes. A total of thirty negroes have bee killed in seven families in identically the same manner, with the same instrument and with the same absence of material motive. The fright which has overtaken the negroes in the Louisiana towns following the killings there has been accentuated here, and the killing here has again stirred all Southwest Louisiana with mystery and fear of the return of the fiend who wields an axe with a viciousness no less horrible than it is unexpected and unwarranted.

Thousands upon thousands of negroes filed past the four dead negroes lying in the morgue yesterday. And sent fervent supplications to heaven to be spared a visitation of this awful vengeance upon themselves. Many of them moaned that the Lord had deserted them and some of them were heard to murmur that a curse had fallen upon the race.

The victims of last Sunday night’s tragedy are: Hattie Dove, aged 30, mother; Ernest Dove, aged about 14 years, son; Ethel Dove, aged about 16 years, daughter; Jessie Quirk, aged about 18 years, daughter.

The murdered family lived at 1428 Cable street, in the north end of the city, the house being about one block west of Magnolia Avenue Baptist church. The girl, Jessie Quirk, was married but was separated from her husband and the mother was separated from her husband. A negro man who worked nights boarded at the home. The family was seen to be astir in the house about 9:30 o'clock Sunday night. Yesterday morning shortly before 7 o'clock a neighbor came to the house and discovered the havoc which had been wrought by the bloodthirsty fend.

The ax with which the crime was committed was left in the room. Near it was a cloth upon which the murderer had wiped his bloody heads. The axe was found to be the property of a negro who lived about two blocks from the scene of the murder. It had been taken from the yard and another axe was left in its stead.

The first of the ax murders was committed in Rayne in the early part of 1911, when a woman and three children were slaughtered. Next came the murder of the Byers family in West Crowley, when a negro man, woman and little boy met death. The third was the murder of a family of four in Lafayette, which occurred only a couple of weeks after the Byers murder. A few months elapsed and the negroes had just begun to recover their equilibrium, when the second Lafayette murder occurred, this time the victims numbering sex, a man, woman and four children. Barely a month elapsed when the second Crowley murder occurred, the victims being Marie Warner and her three children. Three days later a family of five negroes, a man, woman and three children, were murdered at Lake Charles. Sunday night’s crime at Beaumont added four more victims to the fiend’s list. All the crimes were committed in the same manner, by braining the victims with an ax.

The officers have no clue, but are Kirke La Shelle, who, with Mr. Wis, working hard to solve the mystery.

[“Ax Fiend At Beaumont. - Mother and Three Children Killed While They Weep - Crime Similar to Louisiana Murders.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Feb. 23, 1912, p. 1]


March 1, 1912

FULL TEXT: Special to the Times-Democrat. Crowley, La., Feb. 26. – The “ax man” soon may be run to earth, and the series of horrible murders of entire negro families, which have terrorised the negroes of Southwest Ledslam and Southwest Texas for the past year, may be cleared up, it is declared.

Sheriff Fontenot got a letter today from a negro of St. Martinville. The negro, whose name cannot at present be revealed, stated that he, is in possession of information that will lead to the arrest of the persons guilty of the Rayne murder, which occurred about a year ago.

It seems that through confidence placed in him by one of the accomplices of the murderer, the St. Martinville negro knows all about the Rayne crime and who the guilty people are. He claims to have had possession of this information for a long time. The recent wholesale murders, he claims, have so frightened him that for fear his knowledge of the murders might serve as an incentive to murder him also, he is willing to furnish the desired information in self-defense. The negro believes that the series of murders were committed by a clique of religious fanatics, but he says that he is no way connected with the crimes, and has nothing to fear in the event that the guilty parties are caught.

Sheriff Fontenot left for Rayne this evening to get all the information available, after which he will go to St. Martinville and interview the negro who claims to know all about the crime.

If the investigation at St. Martinville gives a clue by which the authorities can ferret out the matter, the sheriffs from all places in which the murders have occurred will be notified.

Sheriff Fontenot, speaking of the affair to day, said:

“I feel that I am now on the right track at last, and am certain that our investigation will take a startling turn within three or four days.”

[“Says He Knows - St. Martinville Negro Writes Crowley Sheriff He Will Tell Who Axe Murderers Are.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Mar. 1, 1912, p. 1]


April 5, 1912

“Confession” Made on Tuesday, April 2, 1912, to reporter R. H. Broussard, New Orleans Item, reprinted in the Lafayette Advertiser:

FULL TEXT: Clementine Bernabet, the negro woman in jail, charged with the murder of the Randell family here last November has made a confession to the officers and others, in which she declares she committed the axe murders here and in Rayne and Crowley.

Tuesday [April 2, 1912] she gave the following account of the tragedies to Mr. R. H. Broussard, reporter for the New Orleans Item:

“My name is Clementine Bernabet, I was born and partly raised near the town of St. Martinville, (La.,) and moved to Lafayette about three years ago when I began to lead a life of degradation. I have never been married. It was while in the company of two other women and two men, while in New Iberia, (La.,) that we met an old negro who told us that he could sell us ‘candjas’ (meaning by that hoodoos), with which we could do as we pleased and we would never be detected and would be protected from the hands of the law by the mere fact of these ‘candjas’ being in our possession.

“We bought them and paid $3 each for them and left New Iberia the same night, returning to Lafayette, when we began to plan our actions. We had not yet decided on committing any murders, but it was while we were discussing our future plans that the question came up as to whether we could kill and be protected by the hoodoos. One of the gang was instructed to go to New Iberia and interview the hoodoo man, who said we were safe in any and all actions which we might do. Our lives would at all times be fully protected by the power of the hoodoos.

~ Drew Lot for First Murder. ~

“It was sometime during the year 1910, I believe in the fall, that I went to Rayne with my companions and we drew lots to know who would make the first attempt of the hoodoos in committing murders. The lot fell to me, and accordingly, I got to work that night. I went to my sister, who lived at Rayne, near the O. G. railroad depot, and later during the night went up town, disguised as a man, and securing an ax in a yard near the cabin where I killed the other and four children.”

When asked how she gained admission into the house she said that the house was lighted.

“I saw that the light was burning and by that I could easily see inside. I saw the mother Sleeping in her bed, then I decided that I would enter that house and there begin the work which we had planned.

“On entering the house, I  struck the woman on the right temple and killed her instantly one of the children was awakened by the noise, and before he could raise his head from the pillow I struck him a blow somewhere near the left ear, then I struck the other two. I left the man’s clothes which I wore in the house and left the house in woman’s clothes, returned to my sister’s house and later during the same night I boarded a night train for Lafayette arriving here about midnight. It was about 9 when I killed them.

~ Reported Deed to Others. ~

“On my return to Lafayette I reported the matter to the other members of the “gang” and we watched the development in the case with great interest. When we saw that we had not been detected we decided that the hoodoos had done their part and we were safe.”

She then told of how they had killed the family at Crowley, explaining every detail. How they left Crowley the same night, one of the women going to Rayne and the others coming to Lafayette.

“In Crowley,” she said, “I entered the house with one of the women, while the other kept watch, and as I had the ax in my hand I committed the murders.

I struck the man first and  just as I did so the woman woke up, I struck her a blow in the face with the butt end of the ax and felled her. I then struck her once or twice to be sure that she was dead. Once this was done it was an easy matter to get rid of the two small children. We thought it was better to kill them than to leave orphans, as they would suffer.”

~ Laid Plans for New Crime. ~

“From Crowley we came back as far as Rayne together, one of the three stopping in Rayne and the other two, myself and another, came to Lafayette. Later we were joined by the third, who told us how the officers had searched for the murderers all around her. We never spoke of committing any more murders until some time in February.

“The night before an election we knew that all the officers would be busy ‘politicing’ we went to the refinery and there we laid our plans, not knowing who would be the victim or victims.

“When we reached the rail-road crossing we saw a light burning in a cabin near Ramagosa’s store. We decided that that was a good place, so went there; myself and one of the women entered the house and I struck Timi, the man, first, then his wife and afterwards his two small children, one of whom was an infant in a cradle near the bed. We had overlooked him until he woke up and began to cry. I turned around and struck him in the forehead, killing him instantly.

“We took the man and woman and placed them in a kneeling position and left the house. I was near the house the next morning when Timi’s brother came to the house and called them, and not getting any answer he looked through the window and saw them dead. He began crying and I was one of the first to go to him and asked him what had happened. He told me and I went to notify their parents, who lived nearby. I helped to wash them and prepare them for burial.

~ Fourth and Last Murder ~

When asked to tell about the last murder which had been committed she said:

“It was on a Sunday night. [We went] out for a frolic, and we went to a meeting of the God Sacrifice Church.” After we left [the church] we secured an ax and [took with] us a bundle with old clothes which we carried with us. We met two of the night officers and when we saw them coming we hid the ax in the grass until the officers had passed us and went back to get it. We went a little way up the street and saw someone coming. I laid the ax behind a tree and when we saw who it was – it was King Harrison, the minister of the God Sacrifice Church – we told him that there had been two men fighting up the street as the officers would see him around there and arrest him. He did as we told him and he went around.

“This left us all alone in the street, so we crawled to the house and entered from behind and killed them. Once we had killed them, I took a pistol, which I had hidden under my dress, and shot at Norbert Randell, the man I had killed. I struck him somewhere in the breast or body. I got the pistol from my brother’s house during the afternoon and returned it the same night. so as not to he seen with it should the officers catch me.

“After this we went up town to talk the matter over. I returned home about 2 o’clock in the morning and went to bed, where I stayed until I was awakened by the man I worked for the next morning about 5. I worked around the house until I was arrested by Mr. Peck, about 10 in the morning.”

When asked if there had been any agreement made not to tell on one another, she said that there had been such an agreement made, but she wanted to tell her own part of it so as to clear her conscience.

Clementine has, however, given names of accomplices to the officers, but all information so far has proven fabrications, but Sheriff Lacoste and deputies are following up every possible clue and hope to completely solve the mystery of the murders.

Clementine’s confession has been received with varying shades of belief owing to the positive way she swore in the trial of her father, and the misleading information she has given as to her accomplices.

[“Negress Confesses. - Clementine Bernabet Gives Detailed Account of Axe Murders in Rayne, Crowley and Lafayette.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Apr. 5, 1912, p. 1]


April 9, 1912

FULL TEXT: The Grand Jury found six true bills for murder against Clementine Bernabet, the self-confessed murderess of four negro families. Dist. Atty. Bruner will not arraign her for trial until next week delaying, in the hopes of her accomplices being apprehended, and to get as much evidence in the case as possible.

Chief Chargois and Officer Domengeaux have arrested Pauline, a half sister of Clementine, living at Rayne, whose movements lately have been suspicious, but she claims to know very little of Clementine.

Sheriff Lacoste has also arrested on a plantation near town a woman named Valena Mabry, who, on being taken before Clementine, she identified as the Irene she says helped her in the murders. Valena strenuously denies having anything to do with the murders. Valena’s home is at Sunset.

[“The Bernabet Case.” The Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Apr. 9, 1912, p. 3]


April 16, 1912

FULL TEXT: San Antonio, April 13.-Five more were added to the list of axe murders in Louisiana and Texas Thursday night, when the family of William Burton, a negro, was wiped out.

Neighbors going to Burton’s home found him, his wife and two children and Leon Evers dead. The heads of the victims had been crushed in with an axe and butcher knives were left thrust into the bodies of the male victims. The children were not attacked with the knives, but killed by the blows with an axe.

Every circumstance surrounding the murders resembles the Louisiana murders and there is little doubt in the minds of the authorities that the victims were either killed by a member of the same fanatics or that the murderer was inspired by the accounts he had read of the crimes done east of here. There is no clue to the perpetrators of the murder.

One point which is significant and which agrees with the theory that this crime was committed by members of the “Sacrifice Church” is that there were five victims. It was stated recently that the Lafayette authorities believe that the figure five had something to do with the crimes and that the murderers selected families of five for their victims. In this connection it was stated that in one case, where there were four victims, the woman was about to become a mother, and in another case where there were six victims it was shown that one of them had come in unexpectedly to spend the night with relatives.

The one thing that disagrees with the theory that the murder was committed by the fanatics is the distance of this city from the scene of the other crimes, but sufficient time has elapsed to allow the murderers to make their way here even if they came by slow stages. Everything indicates that there were more than one person connected with the killing here.

Burton bore a good reputation, being a hard worker and was not inclined to fanaticism himself. He had no enemies so far as it is known, and the motive of the murders was not robbery, but evidently a desire to kill, either for the pleasure of committing crime or to carry out some of the tenets of the faith attributed to the “Sacrifice Church.”

The new murders here make a total of 40 killed in this State and Louisiana.

[“Ax Fiend Again. - Kills Negro Family of Five in San Antonio. - Total Victims Now Forty.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Apr. 16, 1912, p. 1]


April 19, 1912

FULL TEXT: The trial of R. A. charged with from Elsie Duval was concluded Wednesday afternoon and the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.

District Attorney decided not to bring tine Barnabet for trial of court with the view allowing time to discover more evidence which may lead to the arrest of the others believed to be concerned in the axe murders.

The negro Barnabet, father of Clementine, under conviction for having murdered the family, was brought from Crowley yesterday by Sheriff Lacoste and placed in jail here.

[“Court House News.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Apr. 19, 1912, p. 1]


April 26, 1912

FULL TEXT: Mac Thomas, whom  Clementine and her brother Zepherin, have implicated in the  murder of the Andrus family has been arrested by Sheriff Lacoste and is now in jail.

[“Another Arrest in Axe  Murders. Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Apr. 26, 1912, p. 4]


May 17, 1912

FULL TEXT: Sheriff Lacoste has received a long letter post marked New Orleans, evidently from a negro, saying he is disgusted with the axe murders and wants to confess. The letter is rambling and badly written in pencil and declares there is a leader who goes about from town to town selecting victims. The officers give very little credence to the letter, but have filed it away for reference.

[“New Letter in Axe Murder Case.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), May 17, 1912, p. 1]


June 14, 1912

FULL TEXT: Houston, Texas, June 10. – Because he sold “Paradise Pills” at $10 per pill. And had an itinerary which which included sojourns in towns and cities of Louisiana and Texas at the time of the butcheries of the “axman,” were the causes of the arrest of her today of J. S. Anderson, a negro preacher, suspected of complicity in the slaughter of whole families of negroes recently. Anderson, the police say, is none other than S. W. Goodman, a former Baptist preacher of San Antonio, who escaped from the Huntsville penitentiary after serving several months of a four years’ sentence. Tracing his travels since he escaped prison, the police say he spent six weeks here, and afterwards visited Lake Charles and Lafayette, La., at about the time of the “axman” murders. He has also been traced to San Antonio, Victoria and Corpus Christi, Texas.

Since his arrest he has exhibited terror at the suggestion of being taken to any of the towns where the negro families have been butchered.

[“’Rev. Anderson.’ – Negro Preacher, Arrested As Suspect in Axe Murders.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Jun. 14, 1912, p. 1]

October 8, 1912

EXCERPT: At this term of court the cases of Raymond Barnabet and Clementine Barnabet, charged with the axe murders committed in this city, will come up for trial, but dates have not been fixed.

[From “Court In Session … Barnabet Trials This Term.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Oct. 8, 1912, p. 4]


October 22, 1912

FULL TEXT: Dr. E. M. Hummel of New Oreans, Dr. John Tolson and Dr. R. D. Voorhies, appointed by Judge Campbell to inquire into Clementine Barnabet's sanity, examined her yesterday and reported her sane. She will be tried Thursday.

[“Clementine Barnabet Sane.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Oct. 22, 1912, p. 4]


October 25, 1912

FULL TEXT: Yesterday the case of Clementine Barmnbet charged with the axe murders here, was brought up for trial, the specific charge being the murder of the wife of Norbert Randell. The court room was crowded with interested spectators both white and colored. Clementine was represented by Attorneys John L. Kennedy, Geo. Lessley and Jack Fournet, appointed by the Court, and District Attorney Ogden is being assisted by Judge R. W. Elliott. The Jury is as follows: Ed Higglabotbam, Sidney Martin, Jordan Beateo, Wm. G. Guidry, Sidney McFaddin, Ollie Dyer, Andre Billeaud, Alce Brossard, Osma Boudteaur, Martial Hebert, Fedorin Estilette, G. H. Whittington.

The examination of witnesses began yesterday afternoon and Dr. L. A. Prejean, coroner, Sheriff Lacoste, Deputy Sheriff Peck, Mrs. Jas. Guidry for whom Clementine was working at the time of the murder, and Dr. Metz, State chemist, were examined.

[“Barnabet Trial,” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Oct. 25, 1912, p. 3]


October 29, 1912

EXCERPT: Clementine Barnabet convicted of the axe murders in this city, was sentenced to the penitentiary for life.

[from “Court News.” Lafayette Advertiser (La.), Oct. 29, 1912, p. 1]






  1. Is there any way to find obituaries for these families?

  2. Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me what the original source is for the photos of the Andrus and Randall homes that you have posted here. Thanks!