Murder trial nets guilty verdict
Mon, 2013-10-21 14:15
By PRESTON GILL
DNA from a victim’s pants pocket and the incriminating words of his killer cousin were enough Friday afternoon for a jury here to convict 18-year-old Jamichael Hudson of two counts of second degree murder in the double killing of a Franklin pair over three years ago.
When the verdict was read, the half dozen family and friends of the convicted man were visibly shaken; some burying their heads in their hands.
Sixteenth Judicial District Court Judge James McClelland remanded Hudson into custody to await a pre-sentencing hearing. Hudson was tried as an adult for a crime he committed before his 16th birthday.
Hudson could be sentenced to life in prison, but that is not mandatory and he cannot be given the death penalty because he was a minor when the crimes occurred.
Hudson was convicted for his role in the deaths of Larry Guillory, 49, and Audrey Picard, 75, on Feb. 3, 2010, at 6 Darce Lane, Franklin.
Co-defendant Randy “Crawfish” Joseph pleaded guilty in January 2012 to the murders and robbery of the pair. Joseph, Hudson’s cousin, was given two life sentences. Joseph could not be executed because he had been identified as borderline retarded by a psychologist.
Several Franklin police officers and detectives were around the courtroom during the three hours the nine women and three men deliberated the case.
“I want to stay until the verdict is read to show my respects for the victims,” said Amie Guidroz, one of the investigators.
The brutality of the murders left a nightmarish impression on both alternate jurors.
Picard was beaten so severely her dentures were broken and knocked out of her mouth, her eye socket smashed, blood splattered the wall five feet away and there was nothing left to her face to be recognized.
Guillory, Joseph’s uncle, had been struck multiple times on the head. Two of the blows left incisions that cut through the skull, one of which exposed the brain through the fractured skull.
Amy Baccarella, one of the alternates, said, “I still have nightmares of those pictures.”
Tim Duhon, the other alternate said, “I would have liked to have seen more evidence like maybe the murder weapon, but I believe (Hudson) was there.”
Both said without the benefit of deliberations, their initial inclination at the close of the trial was that the state had proven Hudson’s guilt.
Baccarella assessed the prosecution’s case as a “strong” one against Hudson, especially the DNA linked to Hudson that was removed from Guillory’s pocket. She said the defense had not presented anything to make her doubt the case against Hudson.
Bethany Harris from Acadiana Crime Lab said Thursday that DNA inside the turned-out pocket of Larry Guillory had a 99.97 percent probability of belonging to Hudson.
Defense attorney Edward Moses Jr. said, “You can’t say that DNA transfer was done in that house,” even if it was Hudson’s DNA. There could have been a handshake somewhere else that transferred Hudson’s DNA onto another person’s hand that eventually was transferred into Guillory’s pocket, Moses said.
“When are you going to show me evidence that Jamichael Hudson killed Audrey Picard and Larry Guillory,’” Moses said as he began his closing arguments. “What you heard was about Randy Joseph ... How many witnesses put Jamichael in the house? None.”
Joseph was brought in the courtroom Friday, shackled and in his Angola prison garb. He nodded and smiled at his cousin to his right as he walked toward the witness stand.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Saleme prosecuted the case and asked Joseph about the statement of facts before he pleaded guilty in 2012. Joseph said he remembered Assistant District Attorney Vincent Borne describe the murders and he agreed then that both he and Jamichael Hudson were involved.
Moses got Joseph to agree he did not implicate his cousin until after he was told by Franklin police that Hudson had implicated him.
“So, you decided to do one better and say Jamichael did it, right?” Moses queried.
“Yeah,” Joseph said. “I said so many stories I don’t remember.”
Neither attorney chose to ask Joseph if Hudson killed either of the victims.
Saleme argued the pair acted together.
“This is not the crime of one person. Randy Joseph is doing two life sentences. That is justice. Do not stop there,” Saleme said in closing.
If there is specific intent on both persons to commit an armed robbery and the victims are killed, both are guilty of second degree murder even if one is not the person to land the fatal blow, Saleme explained.
At least 10 of the 12 jurors were needed for the conviction which was returned after about three hours of deliberations.