Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

No motive revealed by police after Louisiana murder arrest

East Baton Rouge defendants face no greater challenge than when they are accused of taking someone's life. In Louisiana, a murder conviction can lead to lifetime imprisonment or a death sentence. Any criminal allegation that involves death is a homicide charge, but facts determine whether a killing was justified or murder.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently joined police in Alexandria in a crime investigation involving the disappearance of a woman. Family members notified authorities about their missing relative May 30, after the woman could not be located and didn't show up for work for two days. Investigators found the woman's body in a burned car on June 1.

Eight days later an arrest was made. A 23-year-old military police officer with the Louisiana National Guard was booked on a second-degree murder charge. Media reports about the Alexandria man's arrest leave out a number of crucial details.

Investigators would not discuss what evidence trail they followed before arresting the part-time National Guardsman, a husband and father. Police have not revealed any possible motive for the killing. An autopsy was ordered to determine how the woman in the car died.

In announcing the man's arrest, police took the opportunity to quell speculation the defendant might have been involved in another homicide case. KALB-TV reported a 33-year-old woman was found murdered in her Alexandria apartment on May 9. Evidence apparently confirmed the unsolved crime was not linked to the new case.

There may be no way to avoid a homicide conviction, but that doesn't mean a defendant is guilty of murder. With strong evidence, a criminal defense attorney can work to have charges dismissed or reduced to a charge with significantly fewer severe penalties.

At the same time, a lawyer will shield a defendant from media exposure and unfair speculation that could jeopardize the case. An attorney is a defendant's representative in a courtroom and, when necessary, beyond a courtroom.

Source: The Town Talk, "Man accused in death of Alexandria woman" Jodi Belgard, Jun. 10, 2014

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