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Sunday, May 27, 2018

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Judge unseals document in Lockport murder case

Judge unseals document in Lockport murder case

A Thibodaux judge Tuesday agreed to allow public access to the defense’s request for a new trial in a Lockport triple murder case.

A jury on Oct. 30 unanimously convicted David Brown, 39, of Houma, of killing 29-year-old Jacquelin Nieves and her daughters, 7-year-old Gabriela and 1-year-old Izabela. Brown stabbed all three victims, raped Jacquelin and Gabriela and set the family’s apartment on fire Nov. 4, 2012.

The jury decided Nov. 1 that Brown should get the death penalty.

New Orleans attorney Kerry Cuccia and his Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana represented Brown during his trial. The New Orleans-based Capital Appeals Project has since taken over his case.

The Capital Appeals Project asked for a new trial July 7. State District Judge John LeBlanc sealed that motion from public access in accordance with Project attorney Christopher Murrell’s request.

In a hearing Tuesday, Lafourche Parish District Attorney Cam Morvant II said the public has a right to know what the motion entails, as the case has thus far proceeded in open court. The District Attorney’s Office has a copy of the 65-page document.

Murrell argued that almost nothing in the motion is public knowledge. He said it contains “very sensitive information” about Brown, his family members, trauma and sexual and physical abuse.

Brown’s family members deserve the same privacy and respect as the victims, as they were not charged with a crime, Murrell said.

He also noted that Brown hasn’t yet been formally sentenced and that his conviction is “very far from being final.” He asked LeBlanc to keep the motion for a new trial under seal until Brown’s conviction is final.

LeBlanc granted Morvant’s request to open the motion to public access. Brown’s attorneys said they plan to ask the Louisiana 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to block the judgment until another hearing can be held.


-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.