Wednesday, January 28, 2009

June 22, 2004 (A Newspaper Clipping)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
By Paul Purpura
The Times~Picayune
West Bank Bureau

A Covington woman whose son was murdered in Metairie more than two years ago told the convicted killer Monday that she has turned to God in her quest to forgive him.

"But I cannot do that right now," Lucille Thompson told Patrick Brasseaux of her attempts at forgiveness. "I just want you to know that you took a part of my heart."

Handcuffed and dressed in an orange prison suit, Brasseaux, 31, appeared in court Monday to be sentenced to life in prison. A drug dealer known among his friends as "Smack," slang for heroin, Brasseaux was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the killing of Charles Stevens, 48, who was an assistant manager at a West Bank fast-food restaurant.

"My life will never be the same," Thompson told Brasseaux, who showed no emotion. "You broke my heart, and I want you to remember that for the rest of your life."

Thompson found her son's body March 24, 2002, in his apartment at the Fox Run complex, 2411 Richland Ave. Brasseaux, who was Stevens' cocaine supplier, was arrested while driving Stevens' car in Lafayette three days later. Inside were some of Stevens' belongings, including his wallet. Brasseaux denied being the killer and said Stevens let him use the car in lieu of paying for drugs.

During the trial, prosecutor Roger Jordan presented witnesses who testified that Stevens had Brasseaux inject him with cocaine because he was unable to do it himself. Brasseaux told friends that he injected Stevens with heroin instead, making him lethargic.

Stevens was strangled with a rope. Brasseaux bragged about swapping out the drugs so he could rob Stevens, witnesses testified in his trial.

On May 7, a Jefferson Parish jury unanimously convicted Brasseaux of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence. Judge Joan Benge of the 24th Judicial District Court imposed the sentence Monday, rejecting defense attorney Donald Soignet's request for a new trial.

Soignet, appointed to represent Brasseaux, said the jury relied on circumstantial evidence in reaching its verdict. As he did during the trial, Soignet suggested that someone other than Brasseaux killed Stevens, stole his belongings and sold them at New Orleans pawn shops to get money for drugs.

"There are a number of people who had reason to commit this murder," Soignet said.

Benge said "an abundance of evidence" led to Brasseaux's conviction, including Stevens' phone records that show calls were made from the apartment to Brasseaux's friends on the night Stevens is believed to have died.

Soignet said he will appeal the conviction.

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