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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Jury selection begins in double murder trial

Jury selection begins in double murder trial

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the murder trial of 38-year-old Toronzo Thompkins, accused of orchestrating the murder of Nikki Landry, 41, and Harry Lefort, 54, on Sept. 22, 2013. The bodies were discovered in Landry's Larose apartment, each having suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Investigators believe Thompkins ordered Traveyon Blackledge, 22, who is his son, and Jerrard Major, 38, to kill Landry, a police informant who was set to testify against him the very next day in his cocaine distribution trial.

Thompkins, who was convicted of that charge despite Landry’s death, is serving a life sentence for that conviction.

Blackledge was found guilty of the murders during his trial in January and given two life sentences in prison for his part in the murders.

Major will be tried separately and at a later date for his involvement in the crime.

The penalty for second-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

A principal, or accomplice, can face the same penalty even if he doesn't directly commit the murder. An accessory after the fact - someone who helps an offender after a felony with the intent that he'll avoid criminal consequences - can face up to five years in prison.