Self-Professed New Orleans Serial Killer Once Confessed 12 Murders to Howard Stern
In August of 1997, "Clay the Serial Killer", a self-proclaimed serial murderer in New Orleans, Louisiana, called The Howard Stern Show and casually confessed to over 12 murders live on-air.
Before we go any further, I want to be crystal clear about the details discussed, and the contents of the audio in this story. This subject matter may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.
Was it real, or was this just another one of Stern's lowbrow stunts that he's famous for?
I say, lowbrow, not in an attempt to throw shade. I mean, he's a multi-millionaire and arguably the most recognized name in broadcasting, so clearly he's kind of good at his job.
Getting word from the call screener there was a listener on hold named Ed who claims to kill prostitutes, Stern immediately puts him on-air.
The phone call starts out a bit rocky as Stern goes to the phone call and asks "Is this Ed? Ed?"
In a somewhat aggravated tone of voice, the caller answers "No. I never said my name was Ed" almost as if to say "How dare you get my name wrong".
To me, that's definitely a red flag as to what kind of guy we're talking about here.
The caller then goes on to say "You can call me Clay".
Howard Stern then asks Clay how many prostitutes he's killed. Clay quickly, and almost with a sense of pride, callously answers "Twelve".
Stern then launches into a flurry of questions, asking Clay why he kills women, how he kills them, if he has sex with them, and more.
You can tell initially that Stern and Robin aren't really taking the guy seriously, and who can blame them? Back in the day, The Howard Stern Show routinely received tons of insane calls from people claiming many wild things.
But that all changes a couple of minutes into this strange and disturbing phone call.
Realizing the call could be real, that the man on the phone could actually be a dangerous serial killer, Stern and Robin began carefully grilling Clay in hopes of getting a few solid leads for authorities.
Asking questions about Clay's motives behind why he kills, his methods of murder, even asking if he has any tattoos, but the caller was very cunning and careful to not incriminate himself.
The entire call is unnerving, but there are parts of the call that are absolutely terrifying.
Allegedly the day after this aired, the FBI showed up at Stern's studios and collected the audio as evidence.
Obviously, one of the biggest questions here is...could this actually be real, or is "Clay" playing some sort of very sick joke?
According to multiple reports, what grabbed the FBI's attention during the phone call on The Howard Stern Show was that the caller revealed information about his murders that authorities say they never made public. They say some of the details the caller talked about were things that only the killer would know.
Unfortunately, to me, this call seems like it may actually be real. Reading comments online and on this video, it looks like I'm not alone.
So, whatever became of "Clay the Serial Killer"? Was the FBI able to get enough information from The Howard Stern Show phone call to make an arrest?
Well...maybe, but maybe not.
Listen to the call:
Victor Gant and Russell Ellwood
In 1991, a serial killer began claiming numerous victims in the Algiers and Treme neighborhoods of New Orleans, eventually credited with 24 murders throughout the 1990s.
In 1995 New Orleans Police Officer Victor Gant was listed as the prime suspect in the murders of his girlfriend Sharon Robinson, a New Orleans casino employee, and her friend Karen Iverster, allegedly a prostitute.
Although a suspect, Gant remained at his desk job with the NOPD. He reportedly submitted blood and tissue samples for the investigation, but nothing more is really known.
From criminalminds.fandom.com -
At this point, nothing has been disclosed of Gant's fate afterward; whether or not there was a DNA match to the two aforementioned murders and/or the other 22 victims of the serial killer is unknown. It should be noted that a sketch of the killer was drawn in 1992 after the first six murders; the sketch depicted a large, muscular African-American man in his 30's, which matched Gant's physical description.
In 1997 "Clay the Serial Killer" told The Howard Stern Show that the NOPD's main suspect in serial killings was "a black police officer".
The NOPD never released that information to the public, but somehow Clay knew about it, and he was right.
The suspect has been identified in a police sketch as a large, muscular black man in his 30s. Richard Pennington, chief of the New Orleans police, said that a police officer was a suspect, but he refused to identify him.
The link to a police officer was made last April when Sharon Robinson, a casino coin-changer, and her friend, Karen Iverster, were murdered. Robinson's boyfriend was a police officer called Victor Grant, who has denied any wrongdoing.
Judging by what I can find, Victor Gant was never charged with any of the murders and not much is known about him today.
Was Russell Ellwood "Clay the Serial Killer"?
Russell Ellwood is the man many believe to be "Clay the Serial Killer", the man who called The Howard Stern Show in 1997 and confessed to killing 12 women.
In 1998, Russell Ellwood stood trial for the 1993 murders of Cheryl Lewis, 30, of Bridge City, and Deloras Mack, 40, of Metairie.
Ultimately found guilty of the murder of Cheryl Lewis, Ellwood was thought to be responsible for as many as 15 murders in the New Orleans area, and many believe responsible for many more.
You can read the details Ellwood's trial over at lobservateur.com.
Ellwood worked for a while as a freelance photographer in New Orleans, and eventually worked as a cab driver. According to criminalminds.fandom.com Ellwood would lived in his car from time to time when he couldn't afford to live anywhere else.
In 1993 he reportedly began killing "claiming the life of his first confirmed victim, Cheryl Lewis, by drugging her and then drowning her in a canal on February 1-3 of 93" according to criminalminds.fandom.com.
Lewis' murder began a series of killings of at least 26 prostitutes spanning from 1991 to 1996 that authorities believe Ellwood is responsible for.
Ellwood's trial took place here in Lafayette, and the jury unanimously found him guilty of 2nd degree murder.
On August 17, 1999, Russell Ellwood was sentenced to life in prison and hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.
Below is the infamous phone call to the Howard Stern Show.
Do you think "Clay the Serial Killer" is Russell Ellwood?
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