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Bigamist and Murderess: The Story of Jill Lonita Billiot Ihnen Moore Coit Brodie Dirosa Metzger Steely Boggs Carroll

Jill CoitNo one is really certain when Jill Lonita Billiot was born. She was prone to lie so frequently about the date and her age that it makes it difficult to know for sure; but most are certain that she was born on June the 11th of 1943 or 1944.

Jill experienced a normal American childhood. Her father, Henry Albert Billiot, was a tugboat captain; her mother, Juanita Engelman Billiot, a northern Indiana native, served as a full time mother to Jill and her brother Marc Billiot.

Jill may not have been rich, but she had everything she needed and a lot of what she wanted. There was nothing that could have predicted that the little brown-eyed girl who freely explored the bayous and canals of The Big Easy would become most famous for the trail of bigamy and blood splatter she left across the nation.

Beginnings of a Serial Wife

During her sophomore year of high school, Jill decided to move to her maternal grandparents home in North Manchester, Indiana. Pretty and smart, Jill easily fit in; the boys, especially, were drawn to her Louisianian accent and the stories she told about life in the bayous.

One of the young boys enamored with Jill was Larry Eugene Ihnen, and Jill was quite smitten with him too. So much was she in love with Larry, Jill dropped out of high school and the two eloped on July 24, 1961. Larry was eighteen; Jill was seventeen.

It didn’t take long however for this marriage to run it’s course. By March 1962, Larry had moved back home with his mother. Jill filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting or coming near her.

Just a few weeks shy of what would have been the couples’ first anniversary, the divorce was finalized. In 1962, it mattered to whom the divorce was granted and, in this case, it was granted to Larry on his grounds of cruel and inhumane treatment.

Jill kept working at the factory¬† but soon realized she didn’t want to keep living the drudgery day in and day out, earning the low wages of a high school drop out.

No, Jill was now eighteen years old and she was free. She was ready to start living.

And murdering.

Husbands Number 2 & 3: Steven and Clark

Jill had returned to The Big Easy, shunning off the factory and the midwestern life she had lived in Indiana. The first thing she did upon her return was to get her high school diploma. Then she promptly enrolled at Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, where she would meet husband number 2: Steven Moore.

What started out as casual dating quickly turned into a full-blown love affair, and on May 5, 1964, Steven and Jill were wed in Mississippi.

Just as with her first marriage, before Steven and Jill could reach their first anniversary there was already trouble brewing. The birth of a baby boy, Steven Seth Moore, on March 28, 1965, couldn’t do much to soothe the marital ailments and soon enough Jill and Steven were separated.

Enter William Clark Coit, Jr., a wealthy gas pipeline worker who was never any place long enough to put down roots. Clark, as he was called, was enjoying a drink in of the French Quarter’s bars the Saturday night he first met Jill Lonita Moore.

It only took one evening for Clark to fall head over heels for the beautiful, young mother. For a while Clark, 35, had thought more and more about giving up his rambling job and settling in with a wife and kids. Jill seemed to be the answer to a prayer.

There was just one problem, she was already someone else’s wife. Steven and Jill were only separated, not divorced. To Jill, it wasn’t much of an issue. On August 27, 1965, she filed for divorce and moved into Clark’s French Quarter apartment.

Thanksgiving of the same year, Jill went to meet Clark’s family in Ohio; leaving her infant son behind in Louisiana. Unaware of her first divorce, pending divorce, and son, the Coit family welcomed her with open arms. And it’s a good thing they did, because two months after the visit, Clark called home to tell his family that he and Jill had gotten married on January 29, 1966, in Orange County, Texas.

Clark nor his family knew that her divorce from Steven wasn’t yet complete and wouldn’t be so until March 1966. Nor could they have known that Clark’s days as Jill’s husband were numbered.

A divorce wasn’t the way Jill planned to get out of a marriage this time, however.

Widowed at 28

Just shy of her second divorce’s first anniversary and only slightly beyond 9 months into her third marriage, Jill gave birth to a second son she named William Clark Coit III. Clark had also adopted Jill’s oldest son, whose name was changed from Steven Seth Moore to Johnathan Seth Coit. And before long, Clark’s job had relocated the family to Orange, Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico.

Maybe it was because he still frequently traveled and, in doing so, gave Jill quite a bit of freedom or the luxuries afforded to her as the wife of a wealthy man kept her around, who really knows; but what is certain is Jill would continue to use his surname long, long after he was gone and after many, many more marriages.

During her marriage to Clark, Jill never stopped her running around with men. By 1972, the marriage was, for all intents and purposes, over. Jill had begun to brag about her sexual escapades to her husband and flaunted them openly. A humiliated and brokenhearted Clark accused Jill of having married him for his money.

On March 8, 1972, Jill filed for divorce. Following the service of the divorce papers, Clark withdrew a hefty sum of money from his bank accounts and jokingly told friends it was “a little bit of money Jill can’t get her hands on.”

Oh, how wrong he was. When his body was discovered on the morning of March 29, 1972, the money was nowhere to be found. Coincidentally, Jill is the one to discover her husband’s death after he failed to show-up at work that morning.

Homicide detectives knew that Jill was responsible for Clark’s death, but they could never gain enough evidence to present it to a grand jury. But when they felt ready to give it a shot, Jill had taken off. They’d later find her in New Orleans with an attorney on retainer to fight any possible extradition. And to further insure her stay in NOLA, she committed herself to an mental facility with claims of “acute hysteria and emotional distress.”

The homicide of Clark Coit went cold. And the new widow inherited all of his estate.

If You Can’t Marry ‘Em…

In August 1973, Jill popped up in California, where she had met and befriended a wealthy retiree in his 90s. Exactly how Jill convinced the old man Bruce Johansen to “adopt” her is unknown, but by the following year he was dead and Jill received a healthy portion of his estate.

Even today investigators attribute age to the cause of death and do not suspect foul play. Although, they do admit, the “adoption” is very fishy.

No Time to Grieve for Daddy, Welcome Husband Number 4

While coaxing sugar daddy Johansen to adopt her, Jill had met and married U.S. Marine Corp Major Donald Charles Brodie. Unlike previous husbands, Major Brodie didn’t allow his new bride to manage the household funds and this became a bitter point of contention between them.

After they separated, Jill come up with a scam to get money out of her soon to be ex. She claimed to have delivered a son on October 18, 1974, and named him Thadeus John Brodie. But the Major was smarter than the other men in Jill’s past and didn’t so easily believe this story; not even when Jill presented him with an infant.

Later it was learned that Jill had paid people to “borrow” their baby for a few hours and these were the infants she had used to try to squeeze child support of husband number four. Fortunately, it didn’t work.

But it wouldn’t be the last time Jill used such a scheme to get her hands on money.

Husbands 5 & 6, then back to 5…Maybe?

When Jill fled Texas following Clark’s death, the attorney she hired to fight any extradition attempts was Louis A. DiRosa of New Orleans. He was also the attorney who handled Jill’s adoption by Johanesen and the claim to his estate.

Jill and Louis married on October 11, 1976, in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. It was a volatile marriage and (surprise, surprise) didn’t last till the water got hot.

During one of their numerous separations, Jill met and married Indiana auctioneer Eldon Duane Metzger on March 27, 1978 in Lima, Ohio. Still married to the legal eagle, Jill travels to Haiti to file and is granted a divorce from Louis on November 4, 1978. – a divorce not recognized by the United States; so Jill is a bigamist for a second time.

Two books have been written about the crazy life of Jill Coit: Charmed To Death by Stephen Singular and Poisoned Vows by Clifford Linedecker. Jill’s story has also been featured on numerous television documentaries, including A & E’s American Justice (see clip at article end).

Somewhere amongst the duplicate life, the marriage between Jill and Eldon tumbles like house of cards built on an earthquake fault line.

Some sources say that Jill and Louis reconciled during this time, actually going through a second (albeit unnecessary) civil ceremony, while others dispute such a claim. Whether they did or didn’t is irrelevant, I suppose, since the couple obtained a legal divorce on July 26, 1985.

Jill is said to have obtained a legal divorce from Eldon, however no records have ever been located to confirm it.

Lucky Number 7?

Jill wasn’t divorced from Louis yet when she marries Carl V. Steely, a teacher at Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana, on January 6, 1983. This invalid marriage would last for nine years, although they only lived together as man and wife for seven of those years.

During this union, which would be the longest one of them all, Jill frequently told Carl that husband five (DiRosa) was her mentor in using and circumventing laws to her advantage.

After Jill’s arrest, many years later, Carl would claim to feel lucky to be alive, saying that on at least two occasions he suspected his wife had tried to kill him; once by poisoning his coffee and the second time by having a man try to run him over while he was riding his bike. (Jill disputed these claims, for what the words of a murderous bigamist is worth)

Toward the end of the marriage, Carl and Jill vacationed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They fell in love with the area and decided it was where they wished to retire. Jill wanted to purchase the quaint Oak Street Bed and Breakfast, and Carl agreed. Jill was to stay on after the purchase, and plans were made for Carl to join her after school dismissed for the summer.

Jill did indeed purchase the bed and breakfast, but instead of listing Carl on the deed Jill put only her and her oldest son, Seth’s, name on it. Carl wouldn’t know this until later, however, and came to Steamboat Springs as planned and began working on renovations.

She was only biding her time with Carl and using his handyman skills though, because Jill had already began working on husband number eight.

Enter Husband Number 8

Gerald Boggs, or Gerry as friends and family addressed him, was one of the most eligible (and wealthy) bachelors in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. A graduate of the University of Colorado and a Vietnam Veteran, he owned a mom-and-pop hardware store. Outside of work, Gerry enjoyed scuba diving, underwater photography, and flying – taking lessons in anything he viewed as improving himself.

When Jill came to town, it may have taken a little more effort on her part but before long she had sucked the life-long bachelor Gerry into her web. When he married the 41-year-old Jill on April 4, 1991, he had no idea she was still married to Carl.

Gerald Boggs and Jill CoitSoon after they were married, Jill announced she was pregnant. Gerry, who had no way of knowing Jill had had a hysterectomy a few year prior, was ecstatic. Together he and Jill shopped for baby clothing and accessories while preparing a nursery.

As Jill’s due date approached, she insisted she wanted to have the baby at home; home being Louisiana. And away she went. Returning a few weeks later, she had a heartbreaking story to tell: the baby, whom she’d named Lara, was born alive but had died shortly after her birth.

Too bad Jill had married a smart man. While many in town felt sympathy for the pretty lady, Gerry didn’t believe a single word. Doing some good old fashioned investigating, Gerry learned his “wife” was actually married to someone else. As soon as he discovered he’d married a married woman, Gerry immediately sought an annulment that was granted on December 3, 1991. Her marriage to Carl having been discovered, Jill filed for divorce from Carl and it was finalized on December 23, 1991.

Gerry Boggs may have loved Jill, but he was done with the two-timing woman. By the time the annulment from Gerry and the divorce from Carl were complete, Jill was already “getting busy” with telephone line repairmen Michael Backus.

While Jill was good with replacing the men in her life, she wasn’t so good at letting go of their money. She would fight Gerry to the death for money she believed was rightfully hers.

Husband Number 9 (And Possibly Number 10?)

Word had gotten around Steamboat Springs that the sexy little newcomer was a serial wife and that the baby scam she pulled on Gerry wasn’t her first. So Jill got the heck out of Dodge.

On February 7, 1992, Jill turned up like a bad penny in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she married Roy Carroll, a retired U.S. Navy Petty Officer. The couple returned to Carroll’s Houston, Texas, home to begin their lives as husband and wife.

By the end of the year, however, Jill and Carroll had split and rumors were rampant that Jill had married Backus, the beau back in Steamboat Springs, but there’s no evidence of a marriage or divorce between the two – although lack of latter means little when married to Jill. Married or not, Jill did, however, use Backus’ last name in several documents that were later recovered.

There isn’t much said (other than the rumors of another bigamous marriage) about the relationship between Jill and Backus until October 1993.

In October 1993, the pair would become the talk of the town. And the prime suspects in the murder of Gerry Boggs.

Multiple Marriages, Multiple Murders

Gerry Boggs was not only known as a most eligible bachelor, he was also known as a creature of habit. He had a strict routine that he stuck to every single day: open the store at 10 a.m., walk to “The Shack,” a diner just two doors down from his business, where he had the same breakfast of eggs, toast and hash browns every morning. Gerry always skipped lunch, but each evening he would visit a local restaurant where he ordered his preferred item from their menu; each place offered a different favorite but once he discovered what it was, he never wavered in his choice.

The folks of Steamboat Springs knew what Gerry was doing, when it he was doing it, and how he was doing it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

When Gerry didn’t appear to open the hardware store on the morning of October 22, 1993, everyone knew something was wrong. Very, very wrong. Doug Boggs went rushing to his brother’s home, and there he discovered a ghastly scene: Gerry lay dead, having been shot and beaten. Investigators later determined that Gerry had been stunned with a stun gun, shot with a .22 caliber gun, and beaten with a shovel.

Learning that Jill and Gerry were only a week away from a hearing in their civil case, and discovering that the telephone answering machine tape on which Gerry had recorded threats made by Jill toward him was missing, police quickly honed in the serial bride and her repairman lover.

Jill and Backus claimed that at the time Gerry was murdered, they were camping in Kelly Flats in the Poudre Canyon, just west of Fort Collins, Colorado. She also told detectives that Gerry was a closeted homosexual and they should check into a mysterious gay lover.

Investigators were suspicious of the couples’ story (and the accusations of homosexuality weren’t even considered), but before police could arrest them, Jill had skipped out of the country to Mexico City; from there, with the help of the United States Vice Consulate, she signed over Power of Attorney to her son Seth.

It would seem that Jill Lonita Billiot Ihnen Moore Coit Brodie Dirosa Metzger Steely Boggs Carroll had gotten away with murder…again.

Busted!

No matter how men she married or how much money of theirs she took, Jill would always be a bad decision maker; especially when it came to managing money. Soon Jill ran out of money in Mexico and returned to Colorado.

While she was away, however, police had continued to work the Boggs’ homicide case and they had learned some interesting things, such as, Jill had approached a couple of people asking them to kill Gerry because he was molesting her (non-existent) daughter from a previous marriage. Bauckus had also offered a friend and co-worker as much as $7,500 to murder Gerry because he made Jill have sex with other men while he watched. Other employees where Backus worked remembered him showing up with new boots shortly after the murder.

But the biggest break, however, would come from Jill’s own son, Seth. He had come to the conclusion that his mother had killed his adopted-dad, Clark, almost 20 years before and finally decided to speak up. He told investigators that his mother had told him she planned to kill Gerry and, on the night in question, she had called him and said, “Hey, baby. It’s over and it’s messy.”

On December 23, 1993, Jill and Backus were arrested and held on a $5 million bond.

Jill Coit prison photoJill Billiott of New Orleans, Louisiana, had married over and over and over again. But the wicked woman had married the wrong man. Gerry Boggs was determined to stop her, even if it meant doing it from the grave.

Til Death She Does Part

Following a lengthy trial (how could it not be with such a history?), on March 17, 1995, Jill and Backus are convicted of the first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder of Gerry Boggs. They were sentenced to life in prison without chance for parole. A $1 million fine was levied against each defendant so that they may never profit from their crimes with book or movie deals.

Life in prison couldn’t keep Jill from praying on men, however. In May 1998, Jill recruited a friend to place a personals ad online for her. Upon discovery, the Colorado Department of Corrections promptly had it removed. In December 1998, Jill tried again by placing an internet personals ad that read, “Want U.S. Citizenship? Marry an inmate” on a the Cyber Inmates website. The U.S. Department of Naturalization and Immigration shut down the website.

On October 22, 2002, Jill appealed to the people of Colorado with an online editorial. She called for an investigation into abuse and human rights violations against her that occurred while incarcerated. Jill claimed that she had been denied use of her therapeutic braces for her back and both hands in which she suffers arthritis. She also alleged that she was sexually abused and had her finger broken by a guard.

On April 7, 2006, Jill filed a suit against the Colorado Department of Corrections and several correctional offices claiming she had been sexually assaulted and denied basic human rights – blah, blah, blah, blah. This (obvious) attempt at financial gain on the backs of others went absolutely no where, except to get Jill a verbal slap down by United States District Court for Colorado.

As a result of all her “legal wranglings,” Jill was moved to an out-of-state prison under an alias. However, the rumors claim she is at the medium security correctional facility in Omaha, Nebraska. Jill’s Court filings list her as incarcerated in Oklahoma and Homestead, Florida – so apparently even Jill isn’t sure where she is.

In 2006, all of Jill’s appeals opportunities have been exhausted. Yet, somehow, I don’t think it’s last we’ve heard of her. Do you?



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Filed in: Fatal Marriages, Femme Fatales, Short Stories Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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2 Responses to "Bigamist and Murderess: The Story of Jill Lonita Billiot Ihnen Moore Coit Brodie Dirosa Metzger Steely Boggs Carroll"

  1. Krystal says:

    Jill Coit is in thd topeka correctional facility in Topeka Kansas. I was incarcerated with her.

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