Ronald Dominique, also known as The Bayou Strangler, raped and murdered at least twenty-three men and boys between 1997 and 2006 around Louisiana. Despite his prolific victim count, the media has sparsely covered the crimes of Ronald Dominique. The lack of coverage for this prolific killer is news being overshadowed by the sudden devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Ronald Dominique had a specific victim type he targeted. And on the night of October 3, 1998, Oliver LeBanks, a 27-year-old slim black man, became just one victim of the Bayou Strangler.
The Rawhide, at 740 Burgundy Street, had been one of the more popular gay bars in Louisiana in the late 90s and LeBanks walked in for one reason: to trade sex for money. LeBanks was unemployed and made his money by pick-pocketing, selling drugs, and prostituting for older gay men.
It was in the Rawhide that LeBanks approached Dominique for business. The price agreed upon was $30 for a blowjob and the two men headed towards Dominique’s car, a 1983 Chevy Malibu.
Dominique had assured LeBanks he parked his car a few blocks up the street, but this was a lie. Dominique led his victim down St. Ann Street, through the Quarter, several blocks down Bourbon Street, until they finally reached Dominique’s car parked in an abandoned lot beside Jax Brewery.
It is in this spot which Dominique murdered Oliver LeBanks, not the first victim, and surely not the last.
Despite negotiating for a single blowjob, Dominique had forced his penis into LeBanks’s rectum and “pushed harder and harder until finally he ejaculated.” LeBanks had just been raped, but the real brutality began with he attempted to have sex with Dominique in the same fashion.
Dominique grabbed a tire iron resting under the driver’s seat and bashed LeBanks’ head with all of his strength, causing his brain to begin “leaking out blood inside his cranium.”
LeBanks suffered two instant concussions and began twitching. Dominique wrapped his belt around his victims’ neck, but when this proved insufficient, he used his hands to choke his victim to death.
This was not Ronald Dominique’s first victim, and like his others in the past, he wanted the body to be found. Police found the body the next morning close to the airport off Federal Highway 61. The pants of LeBanks were below his knees and Dominique had dumped him out like garbage for easy discovery.
As a teenager, Ronald Dominique knew he was a homosexual. This was a problem because there was a low tolerance for gay people in the 1970s, especially so in the small bayou towns of Louisiana. Dominique remained closeted for most of his childhood, although this didn’t stop his peers from calling him a “loser” and a “fag”.
Ronald Dominique was one of six siblings growing up in Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish. He and his family lived in abject poverty, which was another point of bullying by his peers.
After Dominique was arrested, he claimed that as a child, a local priest molested him. This admission has never been verified and may or may not be true. However, he claims that is one of the primary reasons he became a serial rapist and then murderer.
The book, , claims that in many of the isolated and impoverished parts of Louisiana, it is culture that many Cajuns accept parents having sex with their children “as the natural order of things.”
As a child, Dominique found security in singing and showed a talent for it. He was in his highschool’s glee club, sang in the school’s chorus, and later in his life would be well known for his Patti LaBelle impersonations.
Ronald Dominique’s first victim was a 19-year-old African American boy named David Mitchell. Mitchell was last seen on July 13, 1997, in the St. Charles Parish.
His body was discovered on Hwy 3160 the following day. Mitchelle had been anally raped and drowned.
What makes a serial killer unique from a spree killer or mass murderer is the “cooling-off period” they have in between murders.
Dominique didn’t kill again until five months later, when he raped and murdered Gary Pierre, who was found dead on December 14, in St. Charles Parish.
It was the Perre murder, the second victim, in which Dominique keeps a consistent MO (killing signature) through the rest of his victims. Recall that he drowned his victim in his first murder, however, the remaining victims will mostly experience death by “asphyxiation due to neck compression.”
Having a consistent MO can help intuitive police link murders, letting them know they have a serial killer in their midst.
Dominique’s third victim was Larry Ranson and was killed seven months after the second body was discovered. With Ranson, thirty-eight years old, Dominique showed he doesn’t have a specific age range, as long as they are black men.
Once police figured out that there was a serial killer in the area, they began asking locals for any information that may bring him to justice.
The information police gathered was enough to present the public with a sketch of the suspect. Most likely spooked by this recent development, Dominique uprooted his life, quit his job, and moved to his sister’s home in November 1999.
If you lived in the Lafourche Parish in the early 2000s, and ordered a Dominoes Pizza, it is quite possible that Ronald Dominique delivered it to your door.
Dominique had put his serial killing passion on hold so that he could make money as a pizza boy during the evenings. He even filled his free time by volunteering at the local bingo club, calling out numbers for the elderly.
This fresh change wouldn’t last, and soon, Ronald Dominique killed again, escalating until his arrest.
A jury found Ronald Dominique guilty of his crimes and is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.
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