David Rester Jr. has been described by a law enforcement officer as a “one man crime wave.”
Rester is charged with numerous crimes over the past week. The most serious of those crimes is a murder in Bogalusa.
Rester, age 51, is now in custody in Harrison County, Mississippi. He is expected to be extradited to Washington Parish at some point to face first-degree murder charges in the death of Marl Wayne Smith, owner of the Pub Lounge on South Columbia Street in Bogalusa.
Smith was found dead in his business late on Thursday, March 3. Responding deputies from the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office not only found Smith dead, but they also discovered that the ATM machine at the business had been destroyed in a failed attempt to steal all the cash from it.
A video camera in the business offered a good photo of the apparent murderer, and the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office widely circulated this photo.
As the investigation into the Bogalusa murder proceeded, law enforcement officers learned that a man of similar description to the Pub Lounge suspect had robbed and sexually battered a convenience store clerk in Pearl River earlier in the week.
Then, a day after the Bogalusa murder occurred, Peoples Bank in Waveland, MS, was robbed. A Waveland police officer spotted the suspect’s car only minutes after the robbery, and a lengthy police chase took place. The robber got onto I-10 headed east toward Biloxi. Speeds in the chase reached 120 mph as the Waveland officers were joined by law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies. At one point during the high speed chase, the robber fired at pursuing police officers and they fired back.
The robber’s car was finally stopped at D’Iberville, just north of Biloxi. At that time, the suspect was identified as Rester, and officers were able to connect him to the Bogalusa murder and the Pearl River convenience store robbery and sexual battery, in addition to the Waveland bank robbery. A law enforcement officer said the Washington Parish and St. Tammany Parish investigators were actually in the process of positively identifying Rester as their suspect at the same general time he was robbing the Waveland bank.
Rester was initially being held in the Harrison County Jail. He will eventually be extradited to Washington Parish to face first-degree murder charges. In addition, he will face federal bank robbery charges for the robbery of the Waveland Bank. While robbing the Waveland Bank, Rester tied the hands of the tellers, and that action also earned him kidnapping charges. He also faces numerous lesser charges from his involvement in the three separate crimes.
However, of all of the charges Rester is facing from the crime wave, none is as serious as the first-degree murder charge from Bogalusa for the alleged killing of Smith at the Pub Lounge. Smith was apparently killed in an attempt to for money, and in Louisiana prosecutors frequently seek the death penalty for such a crime. Randy Seal, Sheriff of Washington Parish, called Rester a “cold-blooded killer” before he was arrested, and that is also the likely description that prosecutors will use in the courtroom as they try to win a guilty conviction and likely a death sentence. Seal said the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office will definitely push for the death penalty.
Law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of Rester’s apparent crime wave and his eventual arrest include Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Waveland Police Department, Bay St. Louis Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Pearl River County Sheriff's Office, Mississippi State Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI. Officials have said that Rester has made a statement concerning his involvement in the three separate crime wave incidents: first, the Pearl River convenience store robbery and sexual battery; second, the Bogalusa murder; and third, the robbery and kidnapping at the Waveland Bank.
While Rester's drivers license has a Vidalia, LA address, he has most recently been living on Madison Street in Bogalusa.