Covering Louisiana

Sep 12, 2013 12:31 PM by AP, PHOTO: MGN ONLINE

Death penalty sought against Natchitoches cop

MANY, La. (AP) - Sabine Parish District Attorney Don Burkett has filed notice of his intent to seek the death penalty against a Natchitoches police officer indicted on charges related to the Aug. 20 kidnapping and beating death of a Many man.

Burkett tells The Times he reached the decision on going for death following discussions with the family of homicide victim, 24-year-old Tony Procell, and after "consideration of the facts of the case."

Indictments were handed up on Robert Barthelemy following a special grand jury session Wednesday that lasted more than two hours.

The grand jury agreed with the charges lodged last month by the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office against Barthelemy: first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and home invasion.

Barthelemy will be arraigned, a process where he enters an initial plea, before District Judge Stephen Beasley on Sept. 26. Shreveport attorney Daryl Gold is representing Barthelemy.

Procell's body was discovered Aug. 25 in a shallow grave in Winn Parish. Investigators say he suffered extensive head injuries. A shovel and bat are being tested for DNA evidence to determine which one was the potential murder weapon.

Barthelemy, 34, of Natchitoches, is accused of forcing Procell at gunpoint from his home then driving him to Winn Parish, where he was killed. Barthelemy was arrested early the next morning in south DeSoto Parish following a car chase.

He initially denied harming Procell but then stopped cooperating with investigators. Searchers scoured areas familiar to Barthelemy in Natchitoches Parish and ultimately located Procell's body just over the parish line.

The men, both of whom served together in the Louisiana Army National Guard, apparently were involved in a dispute involving a woman.


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