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Woman pleads guilty to three-decade-old murder

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Posted: May 15, 2014 4:36 PM by Chris Nakamoto
Updated: May 15, 2014 6:49 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

Topics: Leila Mulla, Guilty Plea, Cold Case Murder, Gary Kergan, Ronald Dunnagan

BATON ROUGE- A woman involved in the 1984 killing of Gary Kergan plead guilty today to a manslaughter charge for her role in the murder.

She received a 30-year sentence as part of a plea agreement and must testify against another suspect implicated in the murder.

Prosecutors said Gary Kergan was lured to Mulla's apartment in 1984 on Byron Street in Baton Rouge, where she gave him poisoned wine. Investigators said Mulla lived with a man named Ronald Dunnagan at the time, and that Dunnagan completed the murder before stuffing Kegan's body in the trunk of car. The car was later found abandoned in Metairie, but Kergan's body was never found.

"It feels amazing to have some closure for the case and to have some justice," said Wade Kergan, the victim's son.

Since the murder, Gary Kergan's brother also fought for justice.

"I've been mad for 30 years," Ted Kergan said. "Now I'm angry she took my best friend from me."

Frank Holthaus is Kergan's defense lawyer.

"She's remorseful," Holthaus said. "We don't recommend people say sorry to victims because when victims hear 'sorry,' they always say 'oh you're just trying to get out of the trouble.'"

Despite no apology, the Kergan's believe they can finally start moving forward.

"The family has worked this case for 30 years," Prosecutor Dana Cummings said. "So they've been incredibly cooperative and persistent and that's what it took to bring a case to justice after 30 years."

Although there was never enough evidence to charge Dunnagan with the murder, prosecutors hope they can seal a conviction with Mulla's help.

"The next step is the other gentleman in this matter," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "We hope to present this matter to a grand jury sometime in the future."

There's no time frame on when this case could go before a grand jury. Dunnagan is currently living in north Louisiana, and prosecutors don't think he's a flight risk.

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