Rubin sets sentencing after Francis found guilty of murder, rape
CROWLEY – Judge Edward Rubin was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Kevin Francis raped and murdered Linda Bonin in a crime he called heinous, disgusting, appalling, horrible and cold hearted.
Finding Francis guilty Tuesday after two days of sometimes conflicting testimony from those who were at the April 2009 murder scene, he said Francis’ actions were barbaric, “like those of an animal.”
“One can only imagine the excruciating pain she felt and to shoot her for screaming in that pain was a cowardly act,” Rubin told Francis, who just moments earlier had concluded the trial by testifying that codefendant Claude Morrison, Jr. shot Bonin after the third defendant, Ryan Williams, violated her anally with a sex toy found in the house.
Rubin didn’t believe him.
Morrison and Williams were 15 when they joined Francis, 16 at the time, in storming a West 14th Street in search of $50 owed them and the possibility of hidden narcotics, according to testimony.
Morrison and Williams took plea bargains, admitting guilt to lesser charges with the agreement they would testify against Francis.
Morrison, who hasn’t yet been sentenced, reneged Tuesday, taking the 5th Amendment. Williams, who got a 12-year sentence, did take the stand but his appearance was filled with questions he refused to answer or was hesitant to answer.
He did affirm his earlier statement that Williams was Bonin’s killer.
At one point Williams told the court he wasn’t going to respond to further questions, to “do what you want to do”.
A clearly exasperated Rubin told him as he left the court he might hear from him again.
After the conviction, the judge scheduled a contempt hearing on Sept. 28 for Williams. He called him back from the parish prison to advise him of that hearing, telling him “I’m the only bully in this town.”
That hearing will follow Francis’ sentencing. Under state law, he must get life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction.
On Monday, Ryan Snow had testified about the home invasion and subsequent violence. He said he and Bonin were bound with cord and placed face down on the floor of the house’s living room.
He said he was shot in the arm and played dead and saw Francis, out of the corner of his eye, execute Bonin after she did not heed his commands that she stop screaming after the rape.
Testimony revealed the man -- “C”-- who owed the $50 was not home when the incident occurred.
Francis and Williams face a first-degree murder charge in another case. The state was not prepared Tuesday to say whether it would purse that charge.
A codefendant in that case, Ove Wilson, invoked the 5th Amendment when called by the defense on Tuesday. Wilson is scheduled for January trial.
The three are charged with killing Eric Beverly on March 1, 2009, a month before the Bonin murder.