Real Name: Doreen C. Picard
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Date: February 19, 1982
Details: Both Doreen Picard, twenty-two, and Susan LaFerte, twenty-seven, lived in an apartment complex in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Doreen was studying for a career in childhood development; she lived alone in the upstairs apartment. Susan was a housewife and an active member of the neighborhood watch; she lived with her husband, Ernie, and their two children. They owned the apartment complex.
On February 19, 1982, Doreen began packing to move out. That afternoon, Susan had lunch with her sister, Carol Rivet, in her apartment. At 1:30pm, two of her friends arrived there. Carol recognized one of them but not the other. Susan told her that they were planning to look at puppies that she was selling. She talked to them for a few minutes until they left. Carol left about ten minutes later at around 1:45pm. Sometime after that, Susan went downstairs to the basement to do the laundry; Doreen was there doing laundry at the same time. At some point, an unidentified man came into there and brutally beat both of them with a pipe.
At 3:20pm, Doug Heath, who also lived in the apartment complex, discovered Susan's three-year-old daughter, Nicole, unattended in the hallway, locked out of her apartment. When he asked where Susan was, she told him she was in the basement. He then discovered her and Doreen's bodies and called the police. Doreen died from the attack and Susan suffered serious head injuries. She was in surgery for over two hours. Ernie was told that she was "hanging by a thread" and close to death.
Miraculously, Susan survived the brutal attack. However, she remained in a deep coma. Fearful for her safety, police guarded her room around the clock. It was clear that the attacker had left her and Doreen for dead, so they feared that he would return if he learned that she had survived. They hoped that she would be able to identify him when she emerged from her coma. However, when she did so thirty days later, she had absolutely no memories of the attack on her and Doreen or the attacker; in fact, she could not remember anything after December 31, 1981.
Nicole was the only witness who could describe the assailant. She told her grandmother, Florence, that she let him into the building, believing that he was Susan's friend. She said he then went downstairs and then returned several minutes later, locking her out. Before he left, she saw him with a lead pipe and a white rag with bloodstains on it in his back pocket. However, the authorities were unable to use her testimony as evidence because of her young age.
The attacker left the murder weapon, the lead pipe, hidden in the apartment; it was found four days later. Authorities believed that he may have chosen Doreen and Susan after reading one of their advertisements in the paper (either puppies for sale by Susan or an apartment for rent by Doreen). Authorities do not know if he was a close friend of theirs, an acquaintance, or a complete stranger.
Following the murder, Doreen's parents conducted their own informal investigation into her murder. In the months following the murder, they received several anonymous phone calls telling them to stop investigating this case. The callers have threatened to hurt relatives and burn down Doreen's father's repair shop. However, her family and the police refuse to give up on this case and will not stop until it's solved. Meanwhile, Susan is still fearful that the attacker will return to hurt her; she also hopes to remember him one day so that she can put him behind bars.
Suspects: Nicole said the attacker had a mustache, wore a cap, jeans, and sneakers, and was somewhat taller than Ernie. However, the description may not be accurate due to her young age at the time of the attack.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 18, 1988 episode. Fearing for her safety, Susan asked for her identity to be concealed during her interview.
Results: Unresolved. In June 1991, thirty-eight-year-old Raymond D. "Beaver" Tempest, Jr. was arrested and charged with Doreen's murder and Susan's attack. Investigators learned that he and Susan were allegedly having an affair around the time of it. He was also one of the two men who visited her in her apartment shortly before it. He had actually been a suspect from the beginning, but authorities did not have any evidence to substantiate the rumors at the time. After the braodcast, authorities received tips that led to several key witnesses. As a result of them coming forward, Tempest was reinvestigated and later arrested.
Some of the witnesses came forward saying that Tempest had confessed or bragged about Doreen's murder. He allegedly threatened some of them to not tell the police. According to some witnesses, he also claimed that he was able to cover up his involvement because of his connections with the police. He also told witnesses that those involved in investigating him would be "taken care of".
A witness placed a four-door maroon Sedan at the scene; Tempest's brother-in-law owned a car that matched this description and Tempest was driving it around the time of the attack. Another witness reported that, shortly after it, he had a bite or scratch mark on his wrist that was not there earlier. He also had changed his boots. He also could not come up with a solid alibi for the time of the attack. Witnesses also claimed that he asked them to be so.
Authorities believe that Tempest and Susan got into an argument that turned violent when he began viciously beating her. They believe he killed Doreen because she walked in on the attack and tried to help her. This theory matched what he told one witness in his confession to him. They also believe that his brother, Gordon, a police officer at the time, helped cover up for him by wiping off fingerprints and tampering with other evidence. A witness claimed to have seen Gordon moving the murder weapon to a different part of the apartment.
In April 1992, Tempest was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to eighty-five years in prison. Gordon was convicted of perjury in connection with this case. Prosecutors claimed that, along with a cover-up, Tempest's family also helped to intimidate witnesses involved in it.
In 2014, Tempest approached the New England Innocence Project for help in seeking out DNA testing in an effort to clear his name. It was suggested that his arrest and conviction were the result of the coercion of witnesses by corrupt police officials and the over zealousness of prosecutors. He claims that the Woonsocket police, A.G. James Ryan, and Randy White knew who had really killed Doreen, but they had covered up facts to protect the guilty and convict the innocent.
Tempest claims that the real attacker is a man named Donald Dagesse, who died in 2011. According to Susan's relatives, after Doreen's funeral, Nicole identified Dagesse as the attacker. After she awoke from her coma, she apparently identified him as the attacker, but she later claimed to not remember the true one.
However, the request in 2014 was not accepted by the court, and in 2015, the issues were presented in there. To date, DNA testing is inconclusive; two of the hairs found in Doreen's hand did not match Tempest, but according to investigators, they could've came from the basement floor. In July 2015, a State Superior Court Judge decided to vacate Tempest's conviction, based on the unreliability of witnesses and alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
Tempest was released on bail while the state debated on whether or not to retry him for Doreen's murder. In March 2017, they announced that they planned to do so. However, in December, he entered an "Alford Plea" on the murder charge, which meant that he maintained his innocence but agreed that there was enough evidence to convict him. As a result of the plea, he was released from prison. This case is now considered closed.
- R.I. man charged in 1982 murder; officer brother accused of perjury
- R.I. officer says he didn't lie to save brother from charges in 1982 murder
- Witness's drinking costs state thousands
- Defendant found guilty in 1982 R.I. murder case
- State vs. Tempest
- After 23 years in prison, R.I. man's murder conviction dismissed
- State to retry Raymond "Beaver" Tempest in 1982 Woonsocket murder
- Judge allows second Beaver Tempest murder trial to proceed
- Tempest convicted second time in 1982 murder
- After murder conviction overturned, man ends case with plea
- Case Closed
- Doreen Picard on Find a Grave