As a parent, what would you do if you found out a pedophile raped your child? According to Maj. Mike Barnett, the sheriff’s deputy, Gary Plauché, had the same reaction most parents do when they find out their children have been raped or molested.
But Plauché took justice into his own hands. He shot his son’s kidnapper and molester on live TV. For some, the vigilante killing is justifiable, saying any father would have done the same thing. He has been deemed a hero, but should he have let justice be done through the courts?
He Was a Classic Pedophile
Jeffrey Doucet, 25, was a karate instructor, teaching Plauché’s three sons, including Jody, 11, who he abducted. Jody won a trophy at the Fort Worth Pro-Am, a major national karate tournament, under Doucet’s tutelage. There seemed to be no reason to doubt this man. Barnett described Doucet as a classic pedophile who seeks opportunities to be close to children without raising concerns.
One of his students portrayed Doucet as a hero: “We learn discipline. We have better manners. We look up to Jeff a lot. He tells us to treat adults with respect, so we do. He tells us not to fight with our parents. He’s my best friend.” Jody also declared that Doucet was all the kids’ best friends. Doucet himself was molested many times as a child.
The Kidnapping of Jody
On Sunday, February 19, 1984, Doucet collected Jody at the Plauché residence and told the boy’s mother, June, that they would be back in fifteen minutes. He wanted to show Jody some carpet he was lying on. When they didn’t return several hours later, June phoned her brother, a deputy sheriff, and he drove to Port Arthur, Texas, to search for Jody.
Doucet took Jody to Los Angeles. He shaved his beard off and dyed Jody’s blond hair black. They checked in a motel. A week after the abduction, Doucet phoned June. In a later call, the police were finally able to trace them to Samoa Motel in Anaheim, and Jody was rescued. Doucet was charged with aggravated kidnapping. He eventually confessed to sexually molesting Jody.
Was The Affair Relevant?
Another angle to investigate was the alleged affair between Doucet and June. According to the couple’s divorce lawyer, Mark Menezes, the killing of Doucet was more motivated by jealous wrath than the kidnapping. Defense attorney Foxy Sanders disagreed, stating that Plauché could have easily commanded Doucet to avoid his wife and family.
Doucet claimed afterward that he should have just asked June to come with him rather than taking Jody. June’s friends asserted that she had no intentions of going with him and wouldn’t do anything to divide her kids up.
The Shooting of Jeffrey Doucet
On March 16, 1984, Jeffrey Doucet was aboard Flight 595 from Dallas. Plauché found out the time, and he immediately left for the airport. Then he dialed a friend on the pay phone, who tried to warn the police. Alas, it was too late. As Doucet was striding past, handcuffed, Plauché held a.38 handguns to his head and fired once.
It was an incident that had been witnessed by millions of people on the nighttime news. Mike Barnett, who assisted in locating Jody in California, sprang at and disarmed Plauché. He was initially charged with second-degree murder but received no jail time, as all he got was a suspended sentence and probation.