SPECIAL REPORT: Daytona Serial Killings

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Victim had premonition of her death

Staff Writer

DAYTONA BEACH — In the days leading up to her murder, Julie Green, one of the women police say was shot by a serial killer earlier this year, had a feeling something bad was going to happen to her.

In a letter to her boyfriend Frank Gilbert, the 34-year-old Green wrote, "If anything happens to me Smilly knows all."

Earlier this week, Gilbert told The Daytona Beach News-Journal that "Sissy" -- the name Green went by on the street -- knew she was going to meet with danger because she had ripped someone off and was scared for her life.

The letter and other clues left behind by Green have led friends to believe she was shot by someone seeking revenge -- not a serial slayer motivated only by a thirst for killing.

"Smilly" is a man Green's friends know as Rick Marcott. Green also sent Gilbert, who at the time was in prison for theft, a picture of herself and another young woman. In the photograph, Green is clowning around, her tongue sticking out. The other woman, meanwhile, is serious. In black ink next to the image, Green wrote: "Find her -- she can help."

None of Green's friends know who the mystery woman is. Marcott is in jail for violation of probation and could not be reached for comment.

"The night she disappeared she was trying to call her daddy because she wanted him to come and get her," said Gilbert, out of prison since March and staying with Green's father. "She knew she could go to his house and she would be safe."

The call was never made, however, according to an e-mail Green's father, Doug Green, wrote to one of his stepdaughters. The e-mail was sent a day after Green's body was discovered on Jan. 14 in a ditch just west of LPGA Boulevard near the Bayberry Lakes subdivision.

Police investigators here maintain that Green and two other women -- Laquetta Gunther, 45, and Iwana Patton, 35 -- were murdered by a serial killer who probably has a deep dislike for women because of frustrations in his daily life.

Gunther's body was found Dec. 26 and Patton was found Feb. 24. Like Green, the other women were found nude and shot. Police have said the three were killed with the same gun, but they will not disclose the type.

DNA evidence was also left at the crime scenes, however police have not been able to match the killer's DNA to any of the DNA samples stored in the FBI's national database. Investigators also have taken DNA samples from various persons of interest in the case and those arrested in prostitution stings, but have yet to find a suspect.

Earlier this week, Gilbert and Gunther's best friend Stacey Dittmer said they do not believe the murders are the work of a serial killer, but rather a drug dealer or someone else who became enraged with Green and Gunther. The friends said both women had no qualms about stealing from someone if they thought they could get away with it.

The friends also said they're puzzled about Patton and how she fits into the picture as a murder victim, because her life did not parallel the lives of the other two women.

Investigators have said Patton was a nurse's aid who worked two jobs. Gilbert said Green knew Patton and she brought her to his house a couple of times. Green was friends with Gunther.

"It doesn't seem like she (Patton) fit," Gilbert said. "She was no thief and she was very quiet."

But Daytona Beach Capt. Brian Skipper said Patton does fit the killer's mold because Patton was known to frequent the same Ridgewood Avenue haunts where Gunther and Green often went.

While police have said all three women lived "a high-risk lifestyle that may have included drugs and prostitution," friends and family of Green and Gunther reiterated that their loved ones were good people who were just trying to survive.

Green's father recently said the only thing he wanted to say publicly about his daughter is that "she was not a prostitute and had never been arrested for prostitution."

While there are rumors galore around the Ridgewood Avenue corridor about the murders and who the killer could be, no one is talking for fear of becoming the next victim, Gilbert and Dittmer said.

"Someone knows something," Dittmer said. "And the faster they come forward, the faster we'll get this monster off the street."

Laura Plautz, Gunther's sister-in-law in Michigan, agrees: "I would just hope that if anyone knows something, they would search their conscience and come forward," she said. "It could be their mother, sister or even themselves the next time."

Investigators are asking that anyone with information regarding the killings call the Daytona Beach police tip line at (386) 671-8477, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 277-TIPS (8477). There is a $5,000 reward and callers may remain anonymous.

The letter

This letter from Julie Green (Sissy) to her jailed boyfriend (Mitch) was written before her slaying. The person referred to as 'Smilly' is Rick Marcott, who was one of Green's close friends.



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