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Sunday, March 24, 2019

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Death penalty still possible in triple-murder trial

Death penalty still possible in triple-murder trial

A man charged in the Nov. 4, 2012, stabbing deaths of a Lockport woman and her two young daughters could still face the death penalty in Lafourche District Court if convicted.

According to the Daily Comet, Judge Jerome Barbera on Monday rejected defense attorneys' motions to rule out the death penalty for David Brown, 36, of Houma and Texas. He also denied the defense's request that the trial be moved out of Lafourche Parish.

Brown is set to stand trial April 20 in Thibodaux on three counts of first-degree murder. He is accused of killing 29-year-old Jacquelin Nieves and her daughters, 7-year-old Gabriela and 1-year-old Izabela, in the family's apartment in Lockport.

The New Orleans-based Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana argued that capital punishment violates modern decency, isn't applied consistently and that innocent people have been sentenced to die.

The defense also asked Barbera to bar the death penalty because of factors outside of Brown's control. Brown was without a death penalty-certified attorney for four months after the killings.

Brown's defense team requested the trial be moved out of Lafourche on the claim that residents have prejudged Brown as guilty and worthy of death.

Barbera ruled in favor of prosecutors with the Lafourche Parish District Attorney's Office, who contended that multiple pieces of evidence linking Brown to the killings would work together in the case.

Barbera denied a motion to keep the prosecution from referring to the alleged crime as “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” as the defense claimed stabbing alone does not meet that description. Soignet said evidence shows more harm than just stabbing.

The defense also requested more time to review photographs to be used as evidence. Brown's attorneys want “gruesome” crime scene and autopsy images excluded from the trial. That motion was delayed until Dec. 8.