Visit our "store" tab for the best in Bloody Angola Podcast merch!
Feb. 16, 2023

The Black Rhino

The Black Rhino

Woody Overton and Jim Chapman of Bloody Angola Podcast tell the story of Clifford Etienne and the Louisiana Prison Boxing Program at Louisiana State Penitentiary and other prisons.

#cliffordetienne #theblackrhino #bloodyangolapodcast #podcast

Advertising Inquiries:

Privacy & Opt-Out:

For Louisiana Local Advertising inquiries or to book appearances please email


Bloody Angola Podcast ( THE BLACK RHINO)

Jim: Hey, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Bloody-

Woody: -Angola.

Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.

Woody: The Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison.

Jim: And I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: And I'm Woody Overton. Welcome, y'all, back to another episode of Bloody Angola. And we appreciate you listening and liking, subscribing, and all that good stuff.

Jim: Yeah.

Woody: We want to thank our Patreon members who are very instrumental in the show. Y'all stay tuned at the end of the show and we're going to talk about that some more. But, Jim, today we've got something-- We always said it'd be different. Today, this is a very, very interesting story, which I do have a lot of personal connection with.

Jim: I think we can title this one The Black Rhino.

Woody: The Black Rhino. Absolutely. I knew the Black Rhino when he was becoming the Black Rhino. This guy's name was Clifford Etienne. And that's, y'all, not from South Louisiana. It's E-T-I-E-N-N-E. Clifford Etienne grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana, home of tabasco. We call it affectionately the Berry. If you're from South Louisiana, they just call it the Berry. I got paternal brothers from down there and Bobby [unintelligible 00:03:03], if you're listening, shoutout, Probation And Parole, State of Louisiana.

Jim: But there's not much out there either. It's the tabasco plain if you're going to New Iberia pretty much.

Woody: It's growing up a lot over the years, but back then, and specifically in this time frame that I'm going to be talking about, Clifford Etienne was coming up and he was truly, basically a stud.

Jim: Yeah. He dominated in wrestling. He played baseball. Woody: Linebacker in football.
Jim: Track and field. He threw the disc and the shot. Woody: 6'2", 290 pounds.

Jim: Big boy. And was recruited by LSU, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, which these days are dominant, but back in those days were extremely dominant.

Woody: And recruited as a linebacker. And he just was a stud-stud. But sometimes, life happens and people try cocaine or different things or they hang with the wrong crowd. And that's what Clifford started to do. He could have had the world as his oyster, and he would it in later years and seems like history repeats itself, unfortunately. Back then, on a certain day in Lafayette, Louisiana, when Clifford was a young man--

Jim: Yeah, he was 18. As most 18-year-olds do, he was getting away with what he could, and him and four friends decided it would be a good idea to rob some customers at a shopping mall in Lafayette.

Woody: It was the only shopping mall in Lafayette at the time. And that was in 1988. I was there in 1989. And when USL was USL, now it's ULL. Go, Cajuns.

Jim: Yes.
Woody: But they robbed some people. And ultimately, he got busted.

Jim: Yeah, he got sentenced to 40 years. The first stint was Bloody Angola. That was where he first went.

Woody: And 40 years, y'all, would have been the minimum on armed robbery. It carries up to 99 years in the state of Louisiana. I think he was like 18 years old, he gets sentenced and they ship him to Bloody Angola.

Jim: That's right. Eventually, after a few transfers, he ends up at DCI.

Woody: That's Dixon Correctional Institute, y'all. That's where I would come to know him. What happened was I was working the working cell block, which y'all heard me talk about before. It's different than admin seg, because there's two men to a cell. But working cell block is where you only get sent for major rule violations. Basically, for street charges, whether you're smuggling, dope, you attack an officer, you rape somebody, or you fight with weapons. Now, I had two tiers of the working cell block that I ran and I can remember distinctly, Clifford Etienne was in the cell with a guy from Livingston Parish, a white guy from Livingston Parish. Now, Clifford Etienne is a black man, and they were in the next to the last cell at the end of the tier. The tier only had cells on one side, y'all, face the screen windows. They had a couple of black and white TVs down the tier.

But I would stop and talk to them all the time because the guy from the LP, I knew him from the street, and I knew him back from the club days. We knew some of the same people. You're not supposed to become friends and stuff with the convicts, which I submit to you that when you are working 12-hour shifts in two on, two off, three on, two off, two on, three off, but even on my days off, the Department of Corrections was always short and they had an on call list. Basically, I could work 30 days a month.

But I'm doing time just like they're doing time. I was doing time just like they were doing time. They locked those doors behind you on that 12-hour shift, you can only shower them and feed them and have nurse calls so much and shit gets a little boring. So, I would stop, and I did a couple of years back there-- and I say it, I'm like a convict, but it [Jim chuckles] really was like doing time. Did a couple of years back there. When you get locked up on the working cell block, once you get locked up, you have to do 90 days without a low court or a high court write-up. You go back before the board and they basically hear your case as to whether or not you can be released in general population. Well, the problem with that is, y'all, in the working cell blocks, basically, they're worst of the worst because these are people that can't even follow the basic rules in prison, even the small rules, and the ones that, like I said, were back there for serious charges. Now, the white guy in the cell was back there for having or suspicion of having sex with a female guard. That's a no-no, but it is what it is, right?


Woody: If you can get over and do what you do, that's what they're going to do. Now, his cellie was Clifford Etienne. So, I began to talk to him. Look, this is a massive dude. Now, I was 6'2", probably 250 at the time. And he's 6'2", 300 pounds but he was all muscle. I mean, like solid as a rock. But he was a really cool dude, and I say that. I know he robbed people and shit like that, but he could have been an asshole to me or anything else, but I would hang out and stand in front of the cell late at night and shit. I'm entertainment for them also. We were talking and I found out that Etienne was a boxer, and he was actually on DCI's boxing team, but also found out that he was an accomplished artist.

He asked me when we're talking one night, said, "You married? You dating someone?" I said, "I'm dating someone." "Can you give me a picture of her?" "Bro, I'm not bringing you a picture of my girlfriend." [Jim laughs] He said, "No. I'm an artist. I'm going to draw a picture and you can give it to her." So, the next time I came back to work, I got a little snapshot and I gave it to him. The next evening, I came back to work, and he had hand sketched an exact likeness of this girl. And I can't remember her last name. I think her first name was Debbie. It was just fucking piece of artwork and I was blown away. It's on a basic piece of paper done in pencil. I'm like, "Bruh, you got talent." I didn't know what I would come to find out later on and what we're going to talk about.

Also, I talked to him about boxing because I like boxing, and I like to box. Both of my grandfathers went to college for boxing, one at USL and one for LSU. They boxed on the college boxing teams. I asked him, I said, "You get into a fight--" just more like bullshit. I said, "If you're going to hit somebody." He said, "Woody, if you're going to hit somebody, I want you to hit him hard as you can in the stomach. Don't let him know it's coming. You rear back, full body swing. Hit him in the stomach." And I said, "Why is that?" He said, "Because if you do it right, you're going to knock the air out of him. Then, they're defenseless. You can just beat him to a pulp."

Jim: Yeah.
Woody: He would go on to become the Interprison Boxing Champion for the state of

Louisiana. Y'all, each prison has their own boxing team, and it's big shit.

Jim: Yeah. I'm going to tell you about his reputation in prison and a little bit about a trainer that had actually started working with him in prison. There was a guy named Valrice Cooper. And Valrice Cooper had a nickname. It was Whoop. They called him Whoop because of boxing. Whoop, whoop. That's how he would say when you punch. It was a whoop. Everybody knew Whoop in the prison system. He was a steward of the Louisiana prison boxing scene. He was an inmate himself. Whoop, he didn't have the pleasure of meeting Etienne until after the boxer-- He was already the most dominant prison fighter in Louisiana. As Woody said, these different prisons have their own boxing teams. Angola has one, DCI has one. There's one in North Louisiana.

Woody: Hunt.
Jim: Hunt has one. This is a big deal in prison, these boxing teams. Whoop was the guy

who kind of managed that, even as an inmate.
Woody: Basically, helped Etienne perfect his craft better.

Jim: Absolutely. He had heard about this guy, this 6'2", 290-pound fighter, and he started working with Etienne. From the first second he saw him, he could tell from his movement, he had a ton of natural talent. He countered right, he stepped back right, he circled correctly. As a matter of fact, Whoop would describe him as a prison version of Muhammad Ali, y'all. That's how good he was. Anybody describes you as Muhammad Ali, you're good. But the

prison version of Muhammad Ali from a guy who really knew that sport was amazing. Etienne continued to dominate in the prison world. He actually won 30 bouts, never lost.

Woody: Y'all, real quick. Certainly, they would practice amongst themselves at Dixon Correctional Institute, etc.

Jim: Shadow box.
Woody: Right. Well, you're locked in a cell, you got a lot of time to shadow box. Jim: [laughs] That's right.

Woody: These bouts we're talking about that, they would actually go to other prisons, or sometimes they would host it there, and they would fight against other prisoners in the state. At the end of the year, whoever had the most wins got the banner.

Jim: That's right. And these were big deals. As a matter of fact- Woody: Huge.

Jim: -family of these prisoners would go to the boxing matches and they would have to pay. They would have to buy tickets. It was $5 for adults, $3 for children back then, and you would watch as if you were watching sanctioned event on HBO.

Woody: Even though they wore headgear, the bouts were three 3-minute rounds. I would bet you people love to go see the radio because they care about getting hurt and laying up in an infirmary in the air conditioner rather than a cell block. I bet you these guys got in there-- I wish I would have got to see one and just tried to absolutely annihilate each other.

Jim: I'm sure there was a lot of first-round knockouts. Headgear or no headgear. Woody: Headgear really doesn't mean shit.
Jim: [laughs]
Woody: It's not like you're wearing the NFL helmet.

Jim: Oh, yeah. Some of these people are lifers, y'all. Look, they're in there and they're swinging. You've heard on Real Life Real Crime, Woody described like prison muscle. It's a totally different type of muscle and all these guys had it. He fought in the heavyweight and the super heavyweight divisions. So, he was fighting the baddest of the bad, the biggest of the big-

Woody: And beating them.

Jim: -and beating them. Just never losing, 30 bouts inside. And that gets around. Outside of the prison system, Don King and all these guys are hearing about this Clifford Etienne and how he is the toughest man in prison and winning all these bouts. After his 10th year in prison, he gets paroled.

Woody: Right, which is basically, y'all, I would tell you that that's because of the outside influences from these promoters. They were like, "This guy can be heavyweight champion of the world." They go in for the parole board, "Look, we got contracts. We're going to train him. We're going to keep him on the straight and narrow. He can be on parole if need be, but we need permission to get his boxing license and everything else."

Jim: Well, let me tell you how promoters think. Number one, you've got an extremely talented individual to start with. He's getting paroled from prison. Here's your chance. I don't know if this is fact, but I would imagine his success helped with his parole because in a parole board's mind, this guy can probably actually rehabilitate and change his life because he's going to have unique opportunities not everybody is going to have when they're released from prison. He was well known.

Woody: Let me digress for a second. The reason he was on the working cell block, he got in a fight with a guard, with a correctional officer--

Jim: Named Woody Overton.
Woody: No, it wasn’t me.
Woody: I wouldn’t have fought that dude. [laughter]

Woody: He got in a fight with a correction officer. Now, when they went to the board hearing, and I remember telling me this, he had already been on the boxing team. So, the board considered his hands deadly weapons. So, they charged him with fighting with deadly weapons on a correction officer.

Jim: Oh, wow.

Woody: That's why he got sent to the hole for that. Now, he did his 90 days, maybe a little bit longer, maybe he went twice, I don't remember. But he got out while I was still there. He was good. He was locked on the block. He was good. He was never any problem. He was actually a pretty cool dude. He got out. You know why he got out too? He wanted to box again. He was like, "Fuck that. Imma going to behave. I know my future is in boxing."

Jim: Yeah, he was just the shit, y'all, in the Louisiana prison system and really the national-- He was well known in prisons all over the country as probably the best boxer to ever come out of prison. You're talking about-- look, Sonny Liston came out of prison, and he was getting a lot of comparisons to Sonny Liston. These promoters, they're not only salivating at the chance to get a hold to a guy who has an extreme amount of talent, he also had a hell of a story, and they loved that. He had a nickname in prison, which was the Black Rhino. Come on, y'all, if that don't scare you before you fight the 6'2", 290-pound boxer, I don't know what does.

Woody: Basically, he got that because the most dangerous animal in the world, the Black Rhinoceros or the Black Rhino was the name that he embraced. Like Jim said, these promoters, holy shit, now you got the Black Rhino coming out of prison that would sell tickets regardless.

Jim: Look, you can't spin a better story with all this. He gets out and he turns pro in 1998. Woody: That was five years after I left him or after the last time I saw him.

Jim: So, how does he do? Well, his first four opponents, he knocked them out. As a matter of fact, three of those first four was inside of the first ring.

Woody: He's cold cocking people.
Jim: Cold cocking people. Ring Magazine actually named him-- believe it or not, y'all, he

was later named The Most Exciting Heavyweight Fighter of the 2000s. Woody: That's true.
Jim: How about that?

Woody: He absolutely was destroying people. I remember late 80s, early 90s, when Tyson was coming up, and when pay per view had first come out, and we had all put up $20 and got a keg of beer, and he knocked out Spinks in like 30 seconds or whatever it was. Black Rhino was doing the same thing. A lot of the times, when big guys fight, they'll get tired and they'll hug on each other and stuff. Black Rhino didn't have time to get tired. He was annihilating people, like Tyson did when he was young.

Jim: Yes. And loving it. And what's he doing? He's living his best life, y'all. He's making tons of money. He's knocking people out for a living. Everybody's courting him. And he does what sadly, a lot of-- seems like it's not just athletes, but it seems like they struggle with this because there's so much of an influx of money under such a short period of time.

Woody: And fame.
Jim: And fame and all of that, that he starts dabbling in cocaine. Woody: Right. A line here, a line there.
Jim: Yeah. Give me a little bit of that sugar, whatever you tell them.

Woody: In the beginning, you think you can handle, it makes you feel even better. You're already on top of the world. Remember, you came from a working cell block. First of all, you got out in 10 years instead of 40. You come from a working cell block. You build yourself up to the prison boxing system, and now you're building yourself up as one of the top heavyweights in the world.

Jim: That's right. And he continues on. He continues knocking people out, and eventually he scoops up the IBA Continental heavyweight title. He actually won that title in Baton Rouge.

Woody: In Baton Rouge. It was at the Belle of Baton Rouge in the atrium. I didn't get to go for whatever reason, but I remember when it was happening and the white guy from the cell reached out to me, said, "I can get you tickets. Do you want to come see him?" And I couldn't go for whatever reason. But yeah, he won that there. Even though that's not like the biggest championship in the world, it's still a championship belt.

Jim: That's right. And continues on. Eventually, he suffers his first loss, that was in March of 2001, and y'all, it was a beating. He actually got floored seven times in that bout.

Woody: Knocked down seven times, and on the eighth, I think the referee finally stopped it, but he said it was just basically like a blood bath. But Black Rhino never gave it up. You knocked me down two times, I'm probably going to stay down. Seven times, but he kept getting up and fighting back.

Jim: That's it.
Woody: Finally, the ref is like, "Number eight, I got to stop this shit, he's going to kill him."

Jim: Yeah, he went out on his shield and never quit. After that bout, you may start to think, "Well, that was it." Well, no. Etienne couldn't be stopped. He ended up fighting six more bouts after his loss and knocked everybody out. He was again the talk of the boxing scene. When you become that much of the talk of the boxing scene, eventually you're going to run into somebody you got to fight.

Woody: When he was talking to the boxing scene, basically, besides being the Black Rhino, and he was always compared to young Mike Tyson.

Jim: Yeah. They actually knew each other before the opportunity showed its face and always got along. If you're a Tyson fan, you would know that he grew up very rough. He was very similar to Etienne, except for Cus D'Amato discovered Tyson before he had gotten so far out of hand that his whole life would have been spent in prison. Much younger when Tyson got discovered at 12 years old by Cus D'Amato. Etienne and Tyson had a respect for each other because they both came from the streets, they were both super tough, both amazing boxers. And in 2003-

Woody: Memphis, Tennessee. Jim: That's it. Tyson come a calling.

Woody: Tyson came calling. That was the first fight-- if y'all remember this, that was the first fight that Tyson had the tribal tattoos on his face.

Jim: Yes. If Tyson wasn't scary enough, he comes out-- and look, Etienne, I'm sure, was intimidated just like-- Tyson can intimidate anybody. I don't care how tough you are. Yeah. Except for Holyfield maybe. [laughs]

Woody: Yeah, he bit his ear off.
Jim: He did do that. In 2003, Tyson, the pinnacle of boxing and the Etienne fight, and Tyson

beats the shit out of Etienne in 48 seconds.

Woody: Now, the same guy from the LP, I talked to him after that, and he told me that what happened is one of the first punches that Tyson landed hit the Black Rhino on his eardrum and it busted his inner ear. So, Etienne's equilibrium was off, and he couldn't even defend himself.

Jim: Yeah. Could you imagine how hard Tyson hits to bust your freaking inner eardrum? Woody: In one punch. To Etienne's credit, he tried to stand and do whatever, shit, your room

spinning. I can't imagine that. Tyson, he ain't going to quit punching.

Jim: [laughs] No, he ain't. And I will never forget the interview, because actually, I can distinctly picture myself when I watched that live. I actually watch that fight live. After the broadcast, Jim Gray, who was a famous interviewer in boxing, pulls Tyson and he says, "What did you think of Etienne?" and all that, "And how did your training go?" Tyson says, "I broke my back last week." [laughs] And I'll never forget. I was like, "What?" It was bizarre, y'all.

Woody: That's crazy.
Jim: He supposedly broke his back in training.

Woody: The reason they were fighting in Memphis, Tennessee, Tyson couldn't get licensed in Nevada or anywhere else because of the rape allegations and all that.

Jim: Yeah. If you're getting a little upset about Etienne because he lost and all that, don't cry for him too much.

Woody: He made a million bucks.
Jim: [chuckles] Literally a million bucks in 48 seconds.

Woody: Paid for 48 seconds, I think I could last for 48 seconds. He might have hit me in the back of the head, but I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. For 48 seconds, I'm going to give you a show for a million dollars.

Jim: For a million dollars.

Woody: I'll fight Tyson a day for a million dollars.

Jim: I'm telling you. Yeah. Etienne gets that million bucks. He unfortunately does what a lot of people who get money that never had money do. And that is he blows it. He buys sports cars, jewelry, multiple houses, and he actually got into a couple of businesses that suffered. He was in a busing company. It went nowhere. He opened a restaurant-- or he actually started a restaurant that never opened. He did the cardinal sin in any business which is, didn't pay his taxes.

Woody: Right.

Jim: I don't care who you are, ask Al Capone about that.

Woody: Tax man cometh.

Jim: Tax man cometh. So, he's spiraling downward.

Woody: Yeah. He's not surrounded by the best people either, taking advantage of him. Like I said, he never had so many cousins.

Jim: Okay. He's going along in life, Etienne, and he's making a lot of bad decisions. At some point, he decides it is a good idea to go get some money as he was spending all of his. [crosstalk] He figures, what better place to get money than a check cashing place, right?

Woody: Genius idea.
Jim: The only problem was he didn't have no checks. Woody: He didn't have a checkbook.
Jim: He didn’t have anything to cash.
Woody: I'll tell you what he did have, he had a pistol. Jim: He had a pistol.
Woody: He had a cocaine habit.
Jim: And a bad cocaine habit.

Woody: Getting as high as fuck, yeah.

Jim: That's right. Etienne goes to a check cashing place in Baton Rouge with a gun, and he pulls the weapon, and he decides he's going to hold up this check cashing place, and he gets a little-- I guess you could say a little pushback on that from the check cashing people. He takes a gun, and he shoots it in the air, and he says, "I will kill you, bitch." That's exactly what he said, because they have it on recording because she was dialing 911 while this was going on.

Woody: She was an African American.
Jim: African American female. Eventually, he gets in his hands $2,000 after he fires that

thing in the air, and he hauls ass out of there.

Woody: Right. Unbeknownst to him, the silent alarm had been hit and Baton Rouge PD was responding in force. They met him in the parking lot.

Jim: They did. They were there really fast for a specific reason. And that was that same day, sadly, an officer in Baton Rouge named Terry Melancon who was serving a warrant with some other officers in Baton Rouge was tragically killed.

Woody: They were making the entry-- we call it a high-risk warrant. It was a narcotics warrant. They were making entry in the door, and he was shot and killed. Rest in peace, brother. I was on the SWAT team at the time that happened. We went from serving high-risk warrants narcotics-- We used to do them every day without the SWAT team because the SWAT because it took so long. The policy got changed after that. Any high-risk entry warrant, you had to use the SWAT team. Rest in peace, brother.

Jim: Yeah. It was really just more bad timing for Etienne as this was going on, they were able to easily get there.

Woody: Before they got there, he's trying to make an escape. Well, you know what? I think he [unintelligible 00:31:37] this time, he goes rob a check cash in place with a piece of shit pistol, and he leaves, and he's trying to make his getaway, and he makes two attempts.

Jim: That's right. An officer with the Baton Rouge City Police Department, who was in an Exxon station across the street from the cash door, received a report of an armed robbery in progress. Comes over his radio, and the officer observed one of the check cashing employees actually outside of the business at this point, and he could tell she was panicking. At this point, he goes across the street and he starts talking to her and he says, "Did you report an armed robbery?" And she says, "Yes." A bunch of police officers at this time are pulling up. It becomes pandemonium. Etienne escapes into a little wooded area, and when he comes out of that wooded area, he sees a vehicle, and he just jumps in the vehicle. I guess he thought he was going to hot-wire it or whatever. He didn't realize when he jumped in there were two children in the back of that vehicle.

He goes to start it, realizes, "Oh, shit, there's no keys." The lady had ran into this beauty supply place and just left her kids in there while, I guess, she was quickly grabbing shampoo or something. He goes to steal that vehicle, realizes the keys aren’t on in it, and the cops are kind of on to him at this point. They're pursuing him through the woods, and he's panicking. He's in a bind and--

Woody: Still armed.

Jim: Yeah, still armed. He immediately exits the vehicle, and he has his weapon in his hand, and he aims it at two police officers.

Woody: Not only does he aim it- Jim: He pulls the trigger. Woody: -pulls the trigger.
Jim: And the gun jams.

Woody: Click. It's probably a piece of shit, high-tech 9-millimeter or whatever. I'm sure if it was an expensive weapon, he could have traded for coke instead of trying to rob a cash store. He pulled it and pulled it again.

Jim: He panics again, obviously, because at this point, y'all, Etienne just tried to shoot two police officers. If it wasn't for that gun jamming, he would have shot them, possibly killed them. So, he panics. He runs to a gold Pontiac Grand Am. He opens the door, and there's a driver in there. He puts the gun to the driver's head. He says, "Get out." The driver, he protests this. Why? Because his two young children are in the vehicle.

Woody: It's kiddie daycare around there.

Jim: That's it. Etienne pulls him out of the car physically, throws him to the ground, jumps in the car, and starts to drive away in reverse at a high rate of speed. He just basically goes backwards. He gets about 60ft. The vehicle hits a curb, and it stalls. Officers approach the vehicle with the weapons drawn, and they apprehend Etienne. How do you think that apprehension went?

Woody: I don't know, man. I mean, his weapon's jammed, and what we call a felony stop, I'm sure Black Rhino ended up getting some dirt in his face.

Jim: Oh, I can look. And then, don't forget, they are already dealing with that day a police officer getting shot and killed.

Woody: Absolutely. And you just tried to kill--
Jim: And you just tried to kill two more. If I'm a police officer, you're getting a fist to the face. Woody: Yeah, well, definitely.
Jim: Swim would have punched him.
Woody: Yes, Swim.
Jim: [laughs]

Woody: Swim would have gave him some justice, that was just us. But he might have sprung a leak too. Anyway, he gets arrested, armed robbery, two counts of attempted first-degree murder on police officers. So, God or somebody was taking care of them and those officers letting that pistol jam.

Jim: Amen.

Woody: He gets prosecuted, y'all, by the Baton Rouge's DA's office. And the prosecutor was Prem Burns. Now, I don't think we've ever talked about her on Bloody Angola, but I know her. I've been in the courtroom with her. She is fire. They had their best prosecutor on it, Hillar Moore's best prosecutor. The DA generally, in bigger parishes, is a political figurehead who oversees all the cases, but they have their top lieutenants or generals, whatever you want to call them, that handle the big cases. Prem Burns was the one.

Jim: And well known for the serial killing.

Woody: Yeah. For Derrick Todd Lee. As well as every top case in East Baton Rouge. She said that across 34 years and 100 plus felony cases and even taking down meddling cartel members and serial killers that she recalls looking at Etienne and thinking, that dude is huge, she remembers the day he was sentenced, he said something to her like, "I'm so sorry. The drugs were just really bad for me." But Burns also remember the 911 call and the words Etienne barked out that were recorded on security footage says, "I'm going to kill you." She remembers using that against him in her opening remarks. She remembers the jury convicting the boxer quickly and easily.

Years later, the prosecutor picked apart Etienne's processing the trial, and he said he received insufficient representation. She was like, "Dude, you could have Johnny Cochrane and you weren't getting off on this charge." And the jury are possibly in prejudice. She was like, "Your victims were black. You're black. It's not a racial issue." Anyway, he got sentenced to forever this time, but for luck, he would have been on death row. Y'all, he got 160 years. And guess where he was going? Bloody-

Jim: -Angola.


Jim: No doubt about it. And look, let's recap real quick. This is a guy that just a couple of years-- as a matter of fact, a year before this, had just gotten a million dollars and fought arguably the most-- I would say the second most popular boxer of all time outside of Muhammad Ali, which was Mike Tyson. Definitely the most popular boxer in my era, by far. And now, you just got sentenced to forever, as Woody aptly put it, the rest of your life, pretty much in Angola. Etienne actually, in 2004, for whatever reason, applied for a pardon to Mike Foster, the then governor, which was denied, obviously. I don't know if he thought his popularity might get him a pardon, but it wasn't working with Mike Foster.

Woody: I think he was also trying to say stuff about traumatic brain injury and CTE and all that other bullshit.

Jim: Right. Look, here's why I don't buy that at all. I definitely think that brain injury from boxing or pro football, absolutely, it affects your decision making and all those sorts of things. But you were doing this at 18. I mean, you were robbing people at 18.

Woody: This lawyer said he's entitled to a new sentence because the CTE should be a major consideration. He said, "It's not his fault. The science wasn't there ahead of time. So, he did not do all this bullshit." I'm not even going touch on that anymore.

Jim: Yeah, that's ridiculous. Now, one thing we haven't mentioned to you is a unique-- and when I tell y'all this is a unique and an absolutely God-given talent is his ability in the painting world. Art, paintings, canvas.

Woody: I told you about the drawing. I didn't know that he was a painter also, but he drew that picture of that girl for me.

Jim: Yeah. If you're a Patreon member of any sort, we're going to put this on Patreon. It's just some examples of his artwork. It is unbelievable, y'all. God definitely touched him and gave him a talent with artwork. So, we're going to put that up there. Look, Woody mentioned this earlier, and I want to read this to y'all. Woody had mentioned, "Hey, he was a nice guy."

Woody: Yeah. He was cool.

Jim: Great personality. Cool dude. I'm going to read you a letter that he wrote to a fan. This is in 2019, so this is fairly recent. I'm also going to put this up on Patreon. But a fan had just wrote to him and asked him for an autograph, basically, a boxing fan. He said, "Sorry I took so long getting back to you. Just rediscovered the letter you sent me at the end of May. I always take time writing anyone back since they took time to write me. All letters are screened for contraband, and because of some drug heads attempts to smuggle contraband in here, the mailroom discarded the index card you sent me to sign. So, I'm sending you this large piece of paper signed by me. To answer your questions, I am still healthy, and I look forward to a better future. I WILL GET OUT OF HERE." And he says that in all caps.

"I paint and I cut hair almost every day. Number three, I'm not in a cell. I'm in a dormitory with a bit over 100 guys. I do watch TV sometimes, mostly news and sports. I have a TV in the barber shop where I work. Number four, my whole boxing career was an interesting story. Started writing a book about it, but I haven't finished. Number five, fighting Mike Tyson was like fighting the other 30 fighters I fought. It was a job that took care of my family. I never got into all the hype. I met Tyson years before they even talked about us fighting each other. Number six, the most fun I had in boxing ring was every time the referee raised my hand as the winner after all that hard training. You take care of yourself, and I wish you and yours all the best. Clifford Etienne."

Woody: Pretty cool.

Jim: Reading that letter, that don't sound like a guy they tried to kill two police officers, rob a check cashing place. So, when Woody mentioned that, "Yeah, he seemed like a cool, nice guy," reading that letter that sounds like a guy that is out of prison right now, is living his best life, just doesn't sound like that type of character, does it?

Woody: But that cocaine shit, does funny shit, even less [crosstalk] to people and will never take away the fact.

Jim: Nose gold.

Woody: Not only did he try to kill those two officers, but who knows what would have happened to those kids in the car, etc., had he not wrecked it, and stalled it out. But when he went back in the prison this time, y'all, it wasn't without incident. He had issues, he survived an attack. He would start painting, but we'll talk about that. He would start painting. The last I had heard of him before we talked about this, was I was watching something on the Rodeo about Angola Radio and they had him selling his paintings and they were street scenes and murals. Now, you're not allowed to make money off your crimes. He's not painting trying to kill two cops, but he's painting like murals-- Not murals, but like oil paints. Shit would cost you $20,000 in a gallery, and it was fantastic. The one I saw was of a second line that's a funeral procession for those from Louisiana where they play the music, the jazz band does it and they go behind the coffin and all that. But he was very, very good at it. And his paintings are hanging all across the world, people commissioned to do paintings, etc. But even when he was in the painting room one time, somebody tried to kill him.

Jim: Yeah. So bad in fact that he had to get transferred.

Woody: Right.
Jim: I do want to mention on those paintings, a lot of people may be surprised to know that

one of his paintings hangs in the New Orleans Police Department. Woody: Oh, I didn’t know this.
Jim: Sure enough, yeah, I found that somewhere. [laughs] Woody: Only Jim Chapman can get that shit up.

Jim: I found that somewhere. There's a picture online where the two New Orleans PD officers are posing in the police department and his painting is hanging. I guess to them, it's an example of convicts have talent too somewhere. God touches us all, gives us all unique talents, and that was his. And it's just a shame. In addition to his boxing, which was also a unique talent.

Woody: I'm going to digress for a second when I said he attacked a correctional officer with fists, I believe now, I'm thinking back on-- I think it was just another inmate. But instead of being charged with a regular fist fight, which wouldn't send you to working cell block, they charged him for fighting with weapons because his hands were considered deadly weapons because he's such a renowned boxer.

Jim: I believe it.

Woody: Y'all, he would go on-- after that attack, he talks about surviving COVID when they put them all in cells. When everybody else in the world is trying to be separated, they were locking them down. He talks about that, but at some point after the attack, another inmate, a friend of his, told him, say, "Hey, man, basically you got to get shit together." I mean, he'd let himself go, he'd gained weight, he was dressing sloppily. And Etienne listened to him. So, he started dressing better. He shaved his head bald. He started to exercise every day at 5:00 in the morning. He said he stayed away from rats or dudes, they would never amount to shit in their lives. That friend asked him, "What do you need to start painting again?" Etienne told him. Two weeks later, the supplies arrived like magic, canvas boards, paints and brushes. The friend told Etienne, "You're the Black Rhino. The man who went from prison to pinnacle boxing." Eventually, Etienne returned to the painting room, hearing or no hearing, he had to move forward. Now, talk about his hearing, y'all, I told you his eardrum got busted.

Jim: By Mike Tyson.

Woody: By Mike Tyson, and his equilibrium was still off and all that. But he to this day paints. Jim and I have had several offers to attend the Angola Radio, and I said that's the last fucking place you'll ever catch me on the face of this earth because of all the people I've put up there. But if I ever do go, I'm going to go see the Black Rhino.

Jim: There you go.
Woody: And I guarantee he remembers--[crosstalk]

Jim: We need to do that trip soon, and that would make for a great episode. Incidentally, we do want to welcome Woody back. Last week, of course, I flew solo for you Patreon members.

Woody: I appreciate you doing that.

Jim: So, we did a bonus episode. It's only up on Patreon, so if you're curious to hear about it was called Iron Mike.

Woody: Iron Mike.

Jim: It's about a guy that could fight in prison for sure, but it's just an absolutely crazy story of a guy who killed three inmates inside of Angola and just some amazing stuff there. But Woody was on a special assignment, which in the future we'll be able to tell everybody about. And I also recorded another episode that I'll be dropping as a bonus episode. It's Boss Bitches Part 2. But I'm glad to have Woody back now because I have to freaking think all by myself, brother. [laughs]

Woody: I appreciate it but tell them about Boss Bitches 2.

Jim: Yes, Boss Bitches 2. Of course, if you listen to the first one, we feature Martha Stewart, M. Diddy, and a bunch of other lady convicts. And this one, much of the same. It's four other lady convicts. Look, join Patreon and you'll find out who they are. How about that?

Woody: Y'all, you go and check it out. We have numerous bonus episodes. Jim, I appreciate you covering me while I'm gone.

Jim: No worries, man.
Woody: The bonus episodes are fire, and as are all Bloody Angola. But the Patreon, we

have different tier levels now each, go look it up. It'll be in the show notes.

Jim: Yeah, and I'm glad you mentioned it, because I want to shout out-- We've got over 130 members now. We're blessed to have that. They support us. We couldn't do this without them. So, we're going to read out real quick each of our Tie Down and Warden Team members, give them of a shoutout. Just to tell you really fast are what our teams include. The Warden Team is our top tier. You get ad-free episodes, obviously, early access to these episodes. You get full transcripts of all the Bloody Angola Thursday regular drops. Any shows that we do that are live, you get automatic VIP access. And you get a free piece of Bloody Angola of merch every quarter. So, four times a year, we're sending you something. I know I've sent out a bunch of merch lately to a bunch of people that are our Warden Team members, I appreciate y'all so much. If you're a Warden Team member, you haven't got that first piece of merch, please just message me and we'll get it to you.

Woody: If you're a Patreon member on any level-- because it's a lot y'all, but it's very important to us. If we miss something, we're human beings. Please, please message us, check into it.

Jim: Yes, that's our Warden Team. We also have our Tie Down Team, which they get ad-free episodes, early access, full transcripts of those Thursday drops, and they also get our Sally Port companion episodes like the Boss Bitches that we're going to drop as a bonus for them. Woody is going to read our Tie Down Teams, and I'm going to read our Warden Teams today.

Woody: And the Tie Down Team gets you--

Jim: That gets you the ad-free episodes, the early access, the full transcripts, and the Sally Port companion episodes.

Woody: Carol Hagen, you are a love. We appreciate you for being a Tie Down Team member. I hope you're enjoying your benefits. We appreciate you so much. All right, Kirsten Dahl. Now, Kirsten has been a Lifer forever, and she used to send me pickles and all kinds of stuff, Jim.

Jim: There you go.

Woody: But thank you, Kirsten, for supporting Bloody Angola also. We really, really love and appreciate you. You're awesome. Lisa Stevens, I know who you are. Thank you for being a Tie Down Team member. We love and appreciate you so much. And Tina Johnson. Tina, thank you for being a Tie Down team member. You rock. You kick ass. And we appreciate you. We couldn't do without you. Ms. Julie Easterday. Julie, thank you so much for being a Tie Down Team member. Enjoy those benefits, sweetie.

Jim: All right. We also want to thank our Warden Team members. Our Warden Team is our top tier. You just can't get any more than what we give those Warden Team members. They are high support. Look, if you can't even be a Patreon member, we still love you and appreciate you.

Woody: Absolutely.
Jim: But we really, really appreciate the support of all our Patreon team, especially our

Warden Team members.

Woody: Especially in these hard times when eggs are $9 a dozen and you take the time to subscribe, we're going to hook you up.

Jim: That's right. So, Melissa Jewel, thank you so much for being a Warden Team member. Ms. Christine Spence.

Woody: Thank you, Christine.
Jim: Thank you so very much for being a Warden Team member. And how about Ms. Amber


Woody: Ms. Amber. Thank you. We love you. We appreciate you.

Jim: 100%. Ms. Lisa Marks.

Woody: Ms. Lisa Marks, we don't even have a term for you. You know we love you.

Jim: Double Warden Team member. [laughs] She's just amazing. Thank you so much. Love you. Mandy Oliver.

Woody: Mandy Oliver.
Jim: Ms. Mandy.
Woody: Thank you so much. She's awesome.
Jim: Leah [unintelligible [00:53:53].
Woody: A part-time researcher, full-time crime junkie. Jim: And hellraiser. [laughs]

Woody: You don’t want to mess with Leah. Leah, thank you so much.

Jim: That's right. That's our Warden Team and we really appreciate the support of all of those members. We're going to be shouting out as many as we can every week here going forward. Thank you so much. And until next time, I'm Jim Chapman.

Woody: I'm Woody Overton.
Jim: Your host of Bloody-
Woody: Angola.
Jim: A podcast 142 years in the making.
Woody: A Complete Story of America's Bloodiest Prison. Jim and Woody: Peace.


Jim: Bloody Angola is an Envision Podcast Production in partnership with Workhouse Connect. Music produced and composed by Alfe Derouen in Studio 433, with vocals by Thomas Cain. Created and hosted by Jim Chapman and Woody Overton.

[Bloody Angola theme]