Former ‘Serial Rapist’ To Have Fourth Parole Hearing Soon
By David Howell
A man who raped at least eight women in Yalobusha County will soon be eligible for parole for the fourth time.
John Eddie Gordon, once dubbed “The Water Valley Rapist,” has been behind bars since his initial arrest on August 12, 1986, but a parole hearing set later this year could change that.
Gordon, 46, was convicted for a July 8, 1986 rape.
“He confessed that he stalked me for 30 days before the incident,” victim Rubijo Purdy recalled. “He was watching me through the windows.”
Purdy recently received notice from the Mississippi Department of Corrections that Gordon’s parole hearing is looming.
Though Gordon only stood trial for one rape, he has confessed to raping eight women in a four-year span.
According to Purdy, one reason that Gordon was not convicted of other rapes is the District Attorney’s office decided not to put other victims through the trauma of a rape trial after he received the lengthy sentence.
The lengthy sentence – two 30 year terms – came from two counts of residential burglary and one count of rape. The sentences were supposed to run consecutively, putting Gordon in jail for 60 years.
However in 2005 Purdy discovered that MDOC officials had mistakenly recorded that the sentences would be served concurrently, meaning that his jail span would only be 30 years.
The sentence has been corrected, but Gordon is still eligible for parole because he was convicted in 1986, before state lawmakers passed their Truth In Sentence Act in 1995, which requires that an inmate that committed a violent crime must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before being considered for parole.
“He’s a serial rapist,” Purdy said. Each time Gordon has become eligible for a parole hearing, Purdy has registered her feelings against such action.
“I feel a responsibility to people. He confessed to raping eight woman,” Purdy said.
Before Gordon, who was 25 at the time, was apprehended, law enforcement officials and the community were on high alert. Concerned citizens went door to door passing out flyers and a composite picture.
Also in 1986 local banks contributed to a fund establishing a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the rapist.
During the time frame in which the rapes occurred, former Mayor Larry Hart was serving as an alderman.
“There were was much fear and anxiety in the community at that time while this rapist was on the loose,” Hart recalled. “Both city and county law enforcement rose to the occasion in his ultimate capture and conviction.”
If Gordon is paroled, he will be required to register as a state sex offender. Information regarding the whereabouts of sex offenders is available online at sor.mdps.state.ms.us. There are currently 20 registered sex offenders in Yalobusha County.
(Editor’s Note: To write a letter voicing your opinion about the whether Gordon should be paroled, write to: Mississippi State Penitentiary; P.O. Box 158, Parchman MS, 38738. Please include the name and inmate number, which 44283).