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Prosecutors could seek death penalty for 1984 murder

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Posted: Feb 5, 2014 5:07 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: Feb 5, 2014 5:07 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Leila Mulla, Death Penalty, Suppress Statement, Gary Kergan, Murdered, 1984, WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Prosecutors could seek the death penalty against a woman accused of murdering a man nearly 30 years ago.

All sides were in court today. Prosecutors say defense lawyers needed more time to file motions to suppress a confession Leila Mulla allegedly made after her second arrest in 2012.

Mulla is charged with first degree murder in the 1984 killing of Gary Kergan. Kergan's body was never found, but blood was found in his abandoned car in Metairie in 1984.

"When the case happened, they didn't have the capabilities of running DNA," Prosecutor Dana Cummings said. "So they couldn't identify the blood as belonging to him and now they have."

Ted Kergan misses his brother everyday.

"He was great," Ted Kergan said. "We literally did everything together. We were in business together. Everything we did, we did together. His loss was a stunning blow that I still feel."

Gary Kergan was last seen on Byron Street. He was declared dead several years after his disappearance. What happened to his body remains a mystery.

"I don't know that I understand what closure really means," Kergan said. "Gary just disappeared. He's out there somewhere, and we don't know where."

Ronald Dunnagan was also implicated in Kergan's murder in 1984. However, Dunnagan and Mulla were released from jail after prosecutors determined there wasn't enough evidence to move forward with the case. But, Dunnagan was also picked up with Mulla one year ago a second time. This time prosecutors said they have what it takes to land a conviction.

The case was brought before a grand jury. Dunnagan was not indicted and remains free. Mulla was indicted on first degree murder charges.

Mulla's attorney contends his client is innocent. Frank Holthaus said Mulla's DNA was never found in Kergan's abandoned car.

It's a case that hasn't gotten any easier for the Kergans.

"It's been such a long process," Ted Kergan said. "Sometimes I forget what it's been like."

All sides are due back in court on May 15.

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