John Joubert : biography
John Joseph Joubert IV (July 2, 1963 – July 17, 1996) was an American serial killer convicted of the murders of three boys in Maine and Nebraska. He was executed in Nebraska.
On January 11, 1984, a preschool teacher in the area of the murders called police to say that she had seen a young man driving in the area. There are conflicting stories as to what occurred - whether the car was loitering or just driving around. When the driver saw the teacher writing down his license plate, he stopped and threatened her before fleeing. The car was not tan, but was traced and found to be rented by John Joubert, an enlisted radar technician from Offutt Air Force Base. It turned out that his own car, a tan Nova sedan, was being repaired.
A search warrant was issued, and rope consistent with that used to bind Danny Joe Eberle was found in his dorm room. The FBI found that the unusual rope had been made for the United States military in South Korea. Under interrogation, Joubert admitted getting it from the scoutmaster in the troop in which he was an assistant.
Robert K. Ressler, the FBI's head profiler at the time, had immediate access to the information about the two boys in Nebraska and worked up a hypothetical description which matched Joubert in every regard. While presenting the case of the two Nebraska boys to a training class at the FBI academy at Quantico, a police officer from Portland, Maine noted the similarities to a case in his jurisdiction which took place while Joubert lived there, prior to joining the Air Force. Bite-mark comparisons proved that Joubert was responsible for the Maine killing in addition to those in Nebraska. Ressler and the Maine investigators came to believe that Joubert joined the military to get away from Maine after the murder of the Stetson boy.Ressler, Robert K. and Tom Shachtman, Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Hunting Serial Killers for the FBI. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. See Chapter 5, "Death of a Newsboy," pp. 93-112. ISBN 0-312-07883-8
Further investigation in Maine revealed two crimes between the pencil-stabbing of the nine-year-old girl in 1979 and the murder of Stetson in 1982. In 1980, Ressler's investigation revealed that Joubert had slashed a nine-year-old boy and a male teacher in his mid-twenties who both "had been cut rather badly, and were lucky to be alive."
Trials and appeals
Joubert then confessed to killing the two boys, and on January 12, he was charged with their murders. After initially pleading not guilty, he changed his plea to guilty. There were several psychiatric evaluations performed on Joubert. One characterised him as having obsessive-compulsive disorder and sadistic tendencies, and suffering from schizoid personality disorder. He was found to have been not psychotic at the time of the crimes. A panel of three judges sentenced him to death for both counts. Joubert was also sentenced to life imprisonment in Maine (which did not have the death penalty) in 1990 for the murder of Ricky Stetson after Joubert's teeth were found to match the bite mark.
In 1995, Joubert filed a writ of habeas corpus to the United States federal courts over the death sentences. His lawyers argued that the aggravating factor of "exceptional depravity" was unconstitutionally vague, and the court agreed. The state of Nebraska appealed to the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, which overturned the appeal, saying that he had shown sadistic behavior by torturing Eberle and Walden.
Joubert was executed on July 17, 1996 by the state of Nebraska in the electric chair.
An appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court over whether the electric chair in Nebraska is a cruel and unusual punishment revealed that during his execution Joubert incurred a four-inch brain blister on the top of his head and blistering on both sides of his head above his ears.
In the city of Portland, Maine on August 22, 1982, 11-year-old Richard "Ricky" Stetson had gone jogging. When he had not returned by dark, his parents called the police. The next day, a motorist saw the boy's body on the side of the I-295. The attacker appeared to have attempted to undress him, and then stabbed and strangled him. A suspect was arrested for the murder, but his teeth did not match a bite mark on Stetson's body, and so he was released after a year and a half in custody. No additional leads presented themselves in the case until January 1984.
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