Five Convicted in Marchand Family Murder
Compiled by Lewis Loflin
Update: all five convicted.
Gonzales LA: Residents of this peaceful community are stunned at the horrific events that has driven a wedge of terror into this close-nit community. Robert Irwin Marchand, 74, and his stepson, Douglas Dooley, 50, had been butchered having their throats cut.
Mr. Marchand's wife, Shirley, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Hospitalized since Saturday, Feb. 18, she was the only survivor of this deadly home invasion. She later died at the hospital.
Neighbors say of Mr. Marchand, "He had character. That's the best way to put it. The man had character. What a horrible way to end your life. Why? Why? And how could they? These were wonderful, generous people."
Officials claim this was a robbery over safe full of rare coins, and the "they" are a gang of five feral black males. According to the local press,
Ascension Parish Deputies arrested three in a Gonzales triple murder home invasion. Rolondo Stewart, 22, Travis Moore, 19, and Michael Aikens, 35, are locked up. (Later) Devon Tremain James, 24, and Bernard R. James, 25, have also been arrested.
To further quote,
Travis Moore, 19, of Baton Rouge is seen being taken into custody at the Ascension Parish jail. He was arrested along with Rolondo Stewart, 22, and Michael Aikens, 35, -- both of Prairieville -- and charged with 3 counts of first degree murder for the home invasion deaths of Shirley and Irwin Marchand and Doug Dooley.
Aiken was a former employee of Mr. Marchand. A rare coin collection worth half a million dollars was stolen during the robbery. Sheriff Jeff Wiley says a tip led to Tuesday's arrest and that Stewart was actually already in jail, accused of shooting another man within the last few days.
No mention yet of seeking the death penalty.
Robert and Shirley Marchand
They found the safe
A torched safe found in Livingston Parish has been positively identified. Ascension Parish deputies say that safe was the target of a deadly home invasion in Gonzales less than two weeks ago...That safe was found in a remote part of Livingston Parish off of the Frost exit last week. Once the safe was opened, deputies found one Morgan Silver Dollar. It was package in a protective sleeve with hand-written notes about the coin. This information matched the inventory taken from the Marchand home earlier in the investigation.
All five convicted
Update: all five convicted. All escaped the death penalty, most were repeat criminals. The New Orleans Advocate reports:
The (last three) defendants, who had faced three counts of first-degree murder, reached plea bargains with prosecutors after the two central figures in the Feb. 17 slayings, Michael Aikens and Bernard James, had previously been convicted on three murder counts and sentenced to life in prison.
Rolando Durrell Stewart, 25, 15379 Roy Rogers Road, Prairieville, who also had been convicted on unrelated charges, including an attempted second-degree murder count, received the longest sentence Wednesday, 63 years at hard labor.
Travis “Buddah” Moore, 22, 4950 Wilot St., Baton Rouge, who had agreed along with co-defendant Devon James, to testify for prosecutors, received 26 years in prison.
James, 27, 40140 S. Autumnwood, Prairieville, who received 15 years, did not participate in the robbery and murders. But he lent Bernard James, his cousin, his Suburban for the robbery, helped open the safe later, clean it of fingerprints with bleach and dispose of it in Livingston Parish, according to the plea read in court...
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