A man arrested in April 2013 is still in jail, and accusations against him are mounting. Police say he held at least one person prisoner and tortured as many as four women. In the end, it might be the man’s own words that will finally secure justice for his accusers.
Sources close to the case say Jermaine Durall Champs of Port Arthur documented his depravity in a journal long before he was accused and arrested on aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault charges in April 2013. He kept gruesome news clippings pertaining to serial killers, torture and more. A picture of a guillotine adorns one page. Adolph Hitler’s picture with the numbers 666 written underneath decorates another. An article about a woman found dead in her husband’s storage unit is on yet another page. Another article tacked inside the pages is about a serial killer whose execution was stayed. One tells of a killer captured after ineptly attempting to dispose of his victim’s body parts. Yet another describes the torture one man endured and includes horrific photos.
Probably the most interesting article within the journal’s pages is one regarding a letter an anonymous source wrote to police attempting to negotiate a price for the name of a killer responsible for the deaths of two teenagers in Houston in 1990. According to police, a teenage boy and girl were killed, and their bodies were later found bound by rope. The boy’s hands and feet were tied, and his throat slit. The girl’s hands were bound, she was gagged, and signs indicated she had been sexually assaulted. The letter, mailed to the Houston Chronicle in 2001, demanded $100,000 for the identity of the murderer. The author of the note instructed police to contact the publication and an attorney would accept the payment. Police had an article published in the Chronicle alongside a copy of the letter seeking help in identifying the person who wrote it. According to one officer, they’ve found him. Jermaine Champs recently confessed while in police custody, the officer said, admitting to writing the letter but telling police he did not commit the murders.
Champs says he just wanted the money demanded in the correspondence, but a look into the man’s warped imagination indicates a deep interest in the macabre.
The journal’s handwritten entries tell the story of man with perverse inclinations and an interest in the occult. What follows is text from Champs’ journal, and readers should proceed with caution.
In an entry titled “A million ways to die” Champs describes “sadism” and his desire to “enslave” women. Champs wrote, “To make her a mindless object of my will … to be her god … to humiliate her … to enslave her … make her suffer. There is no greater power. Pleasure is the complete domination of another.”
Champs, who refers to himself as Batman and Kelso in his diary, also wrote what appears to be a fantasy narrative about stabbing and raping a woman. He describes stabbing the woman, then how the killer “slipped on her blood” while dragging her into her living room where he violently raped her.
Police said Champs’ journal indicates his potential involvement in Satanism. Champs makes note of a rare grimoire, or textbook of magic, including copies of several pages of the book, which he references numerous times within his diary. The book itself, called “Grimoire du pape Honorius: Avec un recueil des plus rares secrets” or “Grimoire of Pope Honorius: With a collection of rare secrets,” is from the 18th or 19th century and claims have been made that Pope Honorius III wrote it. While the grimoire makes numerous references to Christianity and Catholicism, the content is dark and includes instructions for practitioners of black magic. Sigils, or magical symbols, often used as demonic signatures are obvious throughout the pages of the book. The text includes spells for conjuring entities and to bring the caster power or money, many of which require organic ingredients such as a male human head or baby’s skin among others.
PAPD Detective Mickey Sterling, who investigated Champs’ case and charged him with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault, said the case is “disturbing.” In the probable cause affidavit penned by Sterling and approved by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office leading to Champs’ arrest, the detective outlined the details in the complaints against Champs by an accuser. It is a twisted tale of kidnapping, torture and rape.
According to the affidavit, on March 1, 2013, then 36-year-old Champs abducted a female victim “with the intent to inflict bodily injury on her and violate her sexually, or terrorize her or a third person or use a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.”
The document goes on to allege Champs and the female accuser originally had a consensual sexual relationship, but things quickly deteriorated. She told police that after approximately one week of dating, Champs beat her and dragged her into a bedroom at his home where he kept her captive for five to eight weeks. She said she lost track of time because Champs kept her prisoner in a darkened room with covered windows and burglar bars and often removed the light bulb, keeping her shrouded in darkness. According to police, a neighbor said Champs kept his house locked and bolted from the outside. He also is believed to have played loud music, making his victim unable to hear outside sounds that could identify time of day and preventing any outside parties from hearing her screams for help. She was only able to leave the bedroom where Champs kept her with his permission, she said.
While the accuser was not able to determine exactly how long Champs kept her prisoner, she was able to describe to police the torture she endured during her confinement.
Sterling wrote, “During her captivity Champs subjected (victim) to daily brutal beatings for his pleasure. Champs used his hands, belts and scarves to choke (victim) into unconsciousness countless times for his pleasure. Champs threatened to kill (victim) if she so much as asked for food and water. He decided when she could eat, drink and bathe out of a plastic water bottle or sleep. At one point, Champs filled a large tub with water, placed a portable electric heater into the water, plugged it in and threatened to put (victim) in the energized water and electrocute her.”
The complaint goes on to describe Champs choking the victim with his hands, a belt and a scarf on different occasions. In a single incident, the victim said Champs strangled her into unconsciousness somewhere between six and eight times, then woke her by striking her in the head with his hand or fist and reportedly yelling, “Wake up bitch, wake up; I ain’t through with you yet.”
The victim further alleges Champs sexually assaulted her no less than 25 times, both anally and vaginally.
“(Victim) was turned into Champs’ resident slave for anything that gave him pleasure,” Sterling wrote in the PC affidavit.
Finally, police say, Champs made a big mistake, affording his victim the opportunity to escape. On April 8, 2013, Champs stopped at a Dollar General on Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur. When he exited the vehicle, his accuser said he left his keys in the ignition. When he was well inside and out of view, she jumped into the driver’s seat and fled to safety, immediately notifying the police. Champs was arrested days later. He remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on two $1 million bonds, one for aggravated kidnapping charge and one for an aggravated sexual assault charge.
Although Champs is facing prosecution for his actions against a single accuser, more women have come forward claiming he victimized them as well. One of the possible victims is Champs’ ex-wife. In an account eerily similar to Champs’ first accuser, she described to police how her then-husband kept her prisoner through intimidation and deadly threats.
“I got in the bath. He plugged in the heater, this little electric heater. He plugged it up and he was threatening to throw it in there (in the bath). I thought he was going to kill me,” she said, visibly upset, her face quivering and tears in her eyes.
The woman also described Champs choking her into unconsciousness on an almost daily basis, and said that for one three-week period during their relationship, he held her prisoner in a bedroom of their shared home.
When asked why she did not try to get away or call for help, Champs’ ex-wife said she was “terrified” to do so.
“People always say, ‘Oh, I’d kill that person if they did that to me,’ or ‘I’d grab a bat and hit him in the head.’ You know, in my mind, my mind was so worn down from the abuse that he had been putting me through for so long, all I could think of was, ‘What if I try to hurt this man, and he doesn’t get hurt, and he really tries to kill me?’ In fact, I can remember sitting … at a gas station. The sheriff’s department cars were right there; I could see them. And I was so terrified. I wanted to just run to them and beg them to help me, but I just couldn’t do it. I was just too scared.”
Two other women are also rumored to have been abused by Champs, but police have been unable to verify those claims. Neither of the women has made an official statement to police.
Champs’ next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 21 before Judge Marc DeRouen in the 252nd District Court, and the accused man’s journal could be some of the most damning evidence against him, sources say. In the meantime, Champs is behind bars and, with $2 million in bonds, is unlikely to get out before he goes back to court.