published Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Louisiana dad decapitates disabled son

Jeremiah Wright is lead out of the Thibodaux Police Office, in Thibodaux, La. Wright is charged with killing the 7-year-old son of his girlfriend. (AP Photo/The Daily Comet, Abby Taylor)
Jeremiah Wright is lead out of the Thibodaux Police Office, in Thibodaux, La. Wright is charged with killing the 7-year-old son of his girlfriend. (AP Photo/The Daily Comet, Abby Taylor)
  • photo
    This recent school photo provided by the Thibodaux, La. Police Department shows 7-year-old Jori Lirette. Jori's father, Jeremiah Lee Wright, is accused of bludgeoning, decapitating and dismembering his disabled 7-year-old son and leaving the boy's head near the street so the child's mother would see it — a killing that brought seasoned police officers to tears, authorities said Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Thibodaux Police Department)

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana man told investigators he decapitated his disabled 7-year-old son because he had grown tired of caring for the boy, who had cerebral palsy and heart problems, needed a feeding tube and used a wheelchair, police said.

Police Chief Scott Silverii said Monday that Jeremiah Lee Wright, 30, of Thibodaux waived his right to an attorney and confessed to killing Jori Lirette within a half-hour of being brought to the police station Sunday. Wright was booked with first-degree murder and held in lieu of $5 million bond. Detective Ricky Ross, a department spokesman, said Wright did not have an attorney.

Silverii said the boy's feet and one hand also were cut off, recovered in several white plastic garbage bags. A preliminary autopsy indicated Jori also had been bludgeoned, he said. His head was left by the side of the road so the child's mother, 27-year-old Jesslyn Lirette, would see it when she came home, the chief said.

Wright's only explanation for doing so was "just that he wanted her to feel stupid when she saw the head," Silverii said.

The killing was the first since 2008 in Thibodaux, a city of about 14,500 people.

Silverii said the boy apparently was decapitated over the kitchen sink, which was sent to the Louisiana State Police crime lab along with a box of tools found nearby. Wright told investigators he began killing the boy about 30 minutes after Lirette had left Sunday to repair her pickup truck so she could take Jori to a doctor Tuesday.

Police had been called to the house last month when the couple had an argument — possibly about money — though neither person brought charges, Ross said. The police chief said Wright had been arrested a few times previously, though he was never charged with violent crimes. Wright served 10 days for theft in 2005.

Lirette told The Daily Comet of Thibodaux that she and Wright had been together for 10 years, but that she had planned for some time to leave him.

"I didn't get out fast enough," she said.

Mark Chatagnier, a friend of Wright's, told the newspaper Wright was unemployed and that Lirette often left him to care for Jori, even when she was not working.

"She would take off and totally expect Jerry to do everything," Chatagnier said.

Lirette denied that. She told the newspaper she cared for another disabled person to pay household bills and was still around to care for her son, who had been born three months premature, could say only a few words and weighed no more than 50 pounds when he died.

"He was my star. No matter what people think or say, he was always top priority in my life," Lirette said through tears during a news conference Monday afternoon. "I've done everything I can for him."

When Lirette returned from fixing the truck, she found her home blocked by police tape.

When she identified herself, Silverii had a captain and Ross, who was a minister for 12 years and remains a lay pastor, tell her what happened.

"These are experienced men. They came out of there in tears. Just absolutely in tears," Silverii said.

Grief counselors from the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office also spent time with her, he said.

South Thibodaux Elementary School, where Jori was a second-grader, was "a very somber place" Monday, said Floyd Benoit, spokesman for the Lafourche Parish school system. Counselors were on hand there and at other schools where people knew Jori, he said.

The school has 560 students, including 84 second-graders and 18 in special education across all grades, he said.

Jori had attended South Thibodaux since pre-kindergarten, principal Diane Smith said.

"Everyone loved him. Even though he could not express in words his feelings to us, he did it with his smile," she said.

Lirette ended her statement at the news conference with a message to her son:

"In Heaven I believe you're a beautiful star and you will always shine bright inside my heart, inside everybody's heart. If I could go back and change yesterday, I would. But I can't.

"You will be missed and loved by everyone and we will pray every day in your honor. Love you, Mom."

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Look at that sweet little face. This is heartbreaking.

August 16, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.
tarheeljosh said...

I try very hard not to allow my emotions to push me to overreaction, so I am trying to compose myself as I write. My neice is completely dependent upon her parents due to her disability. She is in a wheelchair, cannot speak, walk or feed herself. She cannot even use the bathroom like most children her age. All responsiblity for her life and wellbeing falls on her parents. It is difficult, but they accept the struggle, because her smile is a portrait of joy and she is genuinely loved. It takes a special person to be a father. Even more so, a special needs father. This man was not a father. This little boy deserved so much better. PLEASE, if you have a special needs child and you are struggling with the weight of the journey, ASK FOR HELP! There are so many who are willing to help if you only make your needs known. It really does take a village to raise a child. Don't let yourself feel alone. My heart is broken.

August 16, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

Just proves to the ship'em all back crowd evil and wicked people come in all shapes, sizes and COLORS.

Such people who would do this to an innocent and vulnerable child aren't the crazies, they're just evil and wicked as he!!.

August 16, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
chatttn said...

words cannot express my sorrow....RIP Jori

August 16, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
mswafford said...

I feel sick with sorrow,I pray for his mother,family, & friends. He is with the Father now walking, talking, playing...what kind of man could do this? May he burn and rot in the deepest pits of hell, he should be taken out and hacked to pieces

August 16, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
twharr said...

I don't get it...you decapitate your kid because you're struggling trying to care for him? More than likely he'll get the death penalty for his actions; with that said, why not just kill yourself and let the kid live?

August 16, 2011 at 2:10 p.m.
quietreader said...

twharr, I'm with you. I don't see how police officers control themselves around scum like that.

August 16, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
Legend said...

quietreader said: I don't see how police officers control themselves around scum like that.

Rest assured. Most don't.

August 16, 2011 at 6:37 p.m.
Draax said...

So being "tired" of helping someone means you not only KILL them, you -decapitate- them?! God help him...he's not going to like what he gets for his "tiredness"...my prayers go out to the mother and the rest of the family.

August 16, 2011 at 9:05 p.m.
kbvette said...

I don't understand why he thought it would make her [the mom] feel stupid? How could or why would seeing your child's decapitated head on the side of the road make someone feel "stupid"? Angry, yes. Scared, yes. Hysterical, yes. Stupid? Not so much. This cretin needs to suffer just as he made his son suffer. There are so many agencies, schools and hospitals that would have given him and the mom the support they needed. All he had to do was make the call. I feel there is much more to this story than we've been allowed to read here in this story.

August 16, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
mnowar454 said...

Someone needs to impose a "DO UNTO OTHERS" Law

August 17, 2011 at 1:53 p.m.
User4Dar said...

this guy needs to be killed and shot and killed, ugly bald headed fool, i will kill you if i seen you on the street you ugly fat pot belly trashy lookin stankin self

November 19, 2011 at 8:54 p.m.
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