Gillis confesses on tape to FBI agents

Published: Aug. 1, 2008 at 9:51 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 16, 2009 at 11:57 PM CST
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By Cheryl Mercedes - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 9NEWS has obtained a copy of convicted killer Sean Vincent Gillis's video-taped interview with FBI agents just four months after Donna Bennett Johnston's body was found. Gillis explains how he plotted his murders and played games with police.

FBI agents interviewed Gillis in May of 2004. Gillis told the agents he was playing a game of chess with them as they investigated each and every crime scene. He says he used television news to predict his next move and to judge whether he was winning. "I was the chess master, then. You're not going to beat me. My basic interest would be, 'Okay, did they find it? Where did they fine it? What was the condition of the body?'" Gillis said in the interview.

Gillis shared with agents how he used a combination of charm and money to lure his victims into his vehicle. "The hookers loved me. I treated them like women, like ladies." He says there wasn't a plan or a timetable for when or where he would murder his next victim. Gillis says it all depended on when the opportunity would arise. However, Gillis says he did pay close attention to where and when he would dump the bodies. "You're not gonna dump a body if it's gonna leave tracks. It's preferable to dump before it rains. It washes evidence off victim... and the evidence around the crime scene."

However, like most killers, Gillis left something behind - DNA. He says he thought he was winning the game he had going with detectives until one day when he got a phone call from the FBI. "I didn't know the game had just begun. I thought it had just begun at that point. I didn't know I was already check and it was going to be a little while before mate."

"What he is is a narcissistic, self-centered, ego-maniac serial killer." Frustrated prosecutor Prem Burns says she still stands firm on the case she presented and that she would not change a thing, only that the jury would have seen Gillis for the actor she says he was in the tape. "I am like, 'Damn it. It's first degree. He stole from her... serial killers take souvenirs.'"

The state could not enter the tape into evidence because Gillis asked for an attorney during his interview with agents, making it inadmissible during the trial. Burns believes this element would have been the final nail in Gillis's coffin. "I believe had we been able to play the tape for the jury, I think they would have come to the conclusion that death was the only sentence for this calculating, cunning killer whom I analogize to a Ted Bundy." Burns says this case was the strongest the state had against Gillis, and that it's unlikely he will be tried on the others.

By the way, WAFB News has learned that Prem Burns wasn't even close in getting a death penalty judgment in the case. We've talked with jurors, including the jury foreman, who say when the first vote was taken, four jurors voted no on the death penalty. That includes two jurors who said they absolutely would not vote for death for any reason and two who had admitted they were "wavering," finally voted against death. Several of the jurors who favored death call the final vote immensely disappointing.