Fall River doctor sheds new light on notorious prostitute murders

Fall River rose to fame over a century ago when Lizzie Borden was tried but not convicted of murdering her father and stepmother “with an ax”.

“Fall River,” a four-part documentary airing Sunday on EPIX, examines the notorious case of three prostitutes murdered by a “satanic cult” in the city of Massachusetts over 40 years ago.

The victims were working on the street, one block from the police headquarters. In 1979, the body of 17-year-old Doreen Levesque was found under the bleachers of the local high school. Barbara Raposa, 19, was killed in November 1979 but her body was not found until January.

In April 1980, 20-year-old Karen Marsden was also discovered in the woods, identified only by her skull. His body has never been found.

During Marsden’s trial, satanic rituals were cited as the cause of the carnage. A young white pimp named Carl Drew was convicted of first degree murder without the possibility of parole while Robin Murphy, another prostitute, received a reduced charge in exchange for her testimony.

  • MAY 10, 2021 – James Buddy Day, producer-director of “Fall River”. Photo courtesy of MGM / Epix

  • MAY 10, 2021 – A panoramic view of the EPIX documentary “Fall River”. Photo courtesy of MGM / Epix

“Fall River” producer-director James Buddy Day took a five-year journey to re-examine the facts, and what he found strongly contradicts those verdicts.

“The 1979-1980 detective and prosecutors maintain that they got it right. Even today. Now I can confidently say, “Day, 42, said, ‘They were wrong.

“I say this because they can’t explain it to you. If you ask questions now – with new evidence that has come to light through our review, as well as things that have come to light in four years – they didn’t believe it.

“They can’t explain why they were right, they just know they were right. They refuse to believe that they were wrong. Even the satanist aspects! So it was interesting.

Interesting, because there has never been satanic worship, let alone evidence of satanic worship.

“When the medical examiner saw the first victim, a young, beautiful, traumatized sex worker who had been brutally murdered, he almost immediately concluded that it was ritual.

“So ‘Satanism’ was in the air and became a framing tool for the prosecution in the trial. Even if the satanic elements really didn’t help anything; they were just coloring to frame the murder.

“It is clear, no matter which side you are on, that an injustice has been done,” Day concluded. “An injustice has been done to Carl.

“Most importantly, an injustice has been done to the three victims: Doreen Levesque, Barbara Raposa and Karen Marsden.

“I really hope the powers that be in Fall River, as well as the district attorney’s office and the governor – I hope they watch the documentary and take active steps to right the injustice.”

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