Cruising With the Whore Cop

Officer Terry Peters knows just about every hooker in town. And they love him--because he keeps them alive.

In August, two more hookers were found dead; one in Mississippi, the other in Oklahoma. Cops throughout the South began working on the case, meeting once that summer in Oklahoma City and once in Grapevine to discuss the unsolved murders of 15 truck stop prostitutes. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations, which ran lead in the investigation, estimated that at least 10 of the killings were linked.

The big break came in the summer of 2005 when America's Most Wanted aired a program on Pipestem's murder. Shortly after, Grapevine police got a tip that the murderer was already in jail in Mississippi. The caller on the other end was a relative of the man in question, 29-year-old John Robert Williams.

Grapevine police detectives traveled to Mississippi to interview Williams. For two days they questioned him. "He was pleasant to talk to," Grapevine Corporal Larry Hallmark remembers. "If you met him at the truck stop, you'd think, 'Oh, there's just a likable old truck driver.' But after you sit and start talking about some of these murders and talk about some of the specific things that occurred and you see the lack of emotion, then you realize that you're dealing with someone that's different than you and I.

"Roxy" works a truck stop on Interstate 20.
All photos by Mark Graham
"Roxy" works a truck stop on Interstate 20.
Office Terry Peters listens to Twinkie's story at the Pilot truck stop. Peters--DPD's "whore cop"--talks to truck-stop prostitutes such as this one almost every night.
Courtsey of Grapevine Police
Office Terry Peters listens to Twinkie's story at the Pilot truck stop. Peters--DPD's "whore cop"--talks to truck-stop prostitutes such as this one almost every night.

"I'm absolutely convinced that he is the one that killed Casey. Even the first day he admitted some knowledge in the murder and gave us some information that only the killer would have known."

Hallmark thinks Williams has killed at least eight truck stop prostitutes. Williams has already agreed to plea bargains in the deaths of two of them. To avoid interfering with any open investigations, Grapevine police have held off on arresting him for Pipestem's murder, but it's only a matter of time.

If there is any good to come out of Pipestem's murder it is this: It created a network for cops pursuing truck stop killers. There are now regional meetings, such as the one held in Grapevine, every couple of months, and at least weekly, Hallmark talks to cops such as Peters, who are on the front lines, so to speak. Without a doubt, Hallmark says, there are other killers out there.

"I'm not saying that most truck drivers are serial killers or that if you're a truck driver there's a good likelihood that you're a serial killer. But if you're a serial killer, truck driving would be a good profession."


Terry Peters likes to say that he doesn't care about the girls. But ride with him for a while, and you'll see different. Girls will call him. Girls that are sober, girls that have cleaned up their lives. One is a drug counselor now; another works at the mall behind a cosmetics counter. Which cosmetics counter and which mall, Peters won't say. Well, he'll say, but you better not print it. The last thing these girls need is some newspaper reporter putting them on the front page as former crack whores. They're trying to move on, and they're fragile.

When they call, his voice softens. It's like he's talking to his grown children. "Oh, she's fine," he'll say, when they ask about his wife, to whom he's been married for 33 years. She has health problems and this worries the girls, because they care about Peters. When he hangs up he'll start worrying himself--how this one's been struggling, how this one's been sober for three years now, how this one's having dreams about smoking dope.

"But I don't ever smoke it in my dreams," says one of the former prostitutes, who calls me at Peters' request. "Either the lighter won't light, or there'll be a breeze, or the dope will fall off the pipe and when I pick it up it's a peanut or something." She can laugh at it all now.

She went by Baby Doll back when she worked the truck stops. She got started in Corpus Christi, and one night she fell asleep in a driver's truck, and that's how she ended up in Dallas. The money was so good she never left. For seven years she worked the truck stops near I-20 and Lancaster Road, which is where she met Peters.

Hers was a $300 a day habit, but she made more than $1,000 a day, easy. Most of it came from dealing, not prostitution. After she'd smoked her crack, she spent what was left on a hotel room and food. Tried to take care of herself, unlike some of the other girls, who didn't even bathe.

She got hurt like everybody else. Once, a guy who claimed to be a cop picked her up in a little red pickup. He had a badge on and a radio and everything. He raped her. Another time, another guy claiming to be a cop took her to a hotel room and made her strip. Told her if she did what he asked he wouldn't take her in, so she did what he asked. Maybe he was a cop, but she doesn't think so.

Worst thing that ever happened to her? Maybe the time two truckers robbed her and cut her up. She rubbed blood all over their cab so the police could catch them. Then she ran over to the Flying J truck stop and found a security guard. "He wouldn't even call the police for me, just because I was a prostitute. That's how we were looked upon."

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1 comments
AHumanBeing
AHumanBeing

I read through to the end, but I almost stopped reading after page one. What on earth could justify this Spearmint guy talking to Cookie Monster that way?  This woman faces the VERY REAL threat of being brutally murdered, and this thug taunts her about it until she breaks down?  If that is not the cruelest kind of psychological abuse then I don't know what is!  It's sickening to think that there are cops out there who think this is an acceptable way to treat people.

 

The whole tone of the article -- calling these women "whores", joking about one woman's violent death being like "giving head" -- is just so disrespectful.  YES, prostitutes are people and therefore deserve basic respect.  Judge people by their choices by all means, but you before you do, think about what options these people actually had to choose between.  What would you do if your boyfriend got you addicted to crack?  NOBODY chooses to be a truck-stop prostitute if they can possibly help it.

 
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