Men accused of triple murder plead 'not guilty'
GONZALES - Four men accused of murdering an Ascension Parish couple and their son earlier this year pleaded not guilty this morning to first-degree murder charges.
Michael Aikens, Devon James, Bernard James and Rolondo Durrell Stewart, all of Prairieville, entered their pleas in a Gonzales court. A fifth suspect, Travis Moore of Baton Rouge, pleaded not guilty back in March.
"I don't know that the court would have accepted anything but that given that it's a capitol offense I think by court procedures, there shall be an adjudication for first degree murder, they could not plead guilty in this case," said Ascension Parish Jeff Wiley.
Sheriff's deputies accused the five of breaking into the home of Robert Irwin Marchand and his wife Shirley Marchand back in February. They said the group attacked the couple and slit their throats, along with Shirley Marchand's visiting son, Douglas Dooley.
Dooley and Robert Marchand were found dead in the home the next morning. Shirley Marchand died from her injuries a few weeks later.
Detectives said robbery is believed to be the motive for the killings, and that a safe containing rare gold coins was missing from the home. Investigators later found the safe broken into, but haven't located all the missing coins.
"Our case doesn't just stand on the fact of whether there were gold coins stolen or whether we recovered gold coins our stands on statements made by the violators witness statements, evidence at the scene quality evidence that our detectives and crime scene people took," said Sheriff Wiley.
The five men will face a judge again on June 19th for motions hearings.