You’ve heard this story many times before: an unhappy, young runaway flees her foster home for the city looking for a better life. Of course that’s not what awaits her. Instead, a dangerous pimp and a street life the teen didn’t want leads to a cruel fate. In this case it would take the help of a little 3-year-old boy to bring his own father to justice for the torturous murder of a naïve young woman.
March, 1991 – Goose Lake Wildlife Preserve- Wisconsin. A young woman’s body is found in a lonely field during a chilly winter. She is partly decomposed yet obvious signs of trauma are still visible on her battered body. She has multiple contusions about the face, abdomen, legs and chest. She is sexually assaulted after her death. Strangely, her hands have been cut off and disposed of somewhere in the area. It is a pathetic, tragic sight. Very few people should end up this way.
Five days after the gruesome discovery hunters find the girl’s hands minus the fingertips. Clearly whoever tortured and killed this girl knew her and was aware that she had a criminal record, hence the removal of her hands. On March 15, 1991, a morgue photograph was downloaded into a computer and a visual image of what the young woman might have looked like in life is created to assist detectives with identifying her remains. The sad story receives national coverage but no leads are forthcoming. Detectives adopt her as their own and hold a private funeral for the unfortunate victim in Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin. Some detectives weep during the ceremony.
Weeks later, the Illinois, Milwaukee Police Department and informs Wisconsin that a woman in their vicinity saw the poster and believes she might know the identity of the dead girl. The woman informed police she believed this woman had been seen with a pimp named Joseph White. In 1990, he had recruited a “snow bunny“, a young white woman, to work for him. One day, she vanished. The woman had run away from a group home and straight into the arms of her pimp. The group home’s administrator sees the photographs of the missing girl and she reluctantly identifies her as Doris Ann McLeod. Police discovered the McLeod was sexually abused as a child and eventually lived in 17 foster homes.
From the beginning, McLeod experiences problems with White. She doesn’t want to prostitute herself. It isn’t the life she hoped to find in the city. Further, McLeod had been living in abysmal conditions in White’s basement that was little more than an unfurnished, filthy squat. She had a mattress and little else.
McLeod’s desire to leave the life doesn’t sit well with White. Instead McLeod lost her own. White was part of a gang of pimps called the Gangster Disciple Nation, one of the most violent gangs in the U.S., that had strict rules for their girls. One of the punishments for a girl who refused to hook was death and it was a nasty one: fifty blows chest.
June 18, 1991 detectives arrived at White’s house in a Milwaukee inner city neighbourhood, intending to arrest him. They entered by the front door but cowardly White exited by the back, leaving his 3-year-old son behind. However, a uniformed officer caught him exiting the back and returned him to the scene. Inside the filthy, unkempt house, police discover clothes ad jewellery belonging to McLeod. White’s 3-year-old son suddenly tugged on the flashlight on a detective’s belt, curious about the object. He wanted to play with it, When the child, Joseph Jr., was shown a picture of McLeod he said, “that’s Dee.” He told the officers that “the monster in the house hurt her.” A child’s mind is a fascinating thing. A young child cannot reconcile a violent criminal with his own parent, and he separates the two into father and monster. It is a survival mechanism.
Little Joe Jr. led the police downstairs to McLeod’s makeshift bedroom. He pointed the flashlight to steam pipes in the ceiling ad explained that he saw Dee hanging from the pipes, telling the men how the monster had bit her fingers. Pointing to an officer’s fingertips he stated, “over here, over here, over here, over here, over here.” This was the crude way White had removed poor McLeod’s fingertips. The adorable little boy then stated, “I heard the monster. Goddammit why don’t you go upstairs? Now get out of here.” Detectives believed this was where McLeod was tortured and possibly killed.
You know how a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client? Well so egotistical was White that he insisted on representing himself in court during his murder trial. The judge advised White that he was poorly prepared. He criticized his poor line of questioning to the witnesses. He even informed him that the “jury might be getting quite uncomfortable with the questioning.” Six days later the prosecution rested. After only four hours, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. White is eligible parole in 2074, McLeod’s 100th birthday.
By then White will be long dead and will not be released on parole. That will prove to be a nice birthday gift for Doris Ann McLeod.