Man accused in 2015 killing of BR couple takes plea deal, gets 30 years in prison
BATON ROUGE - The trial of a man accused in the kidnapping and murder of a Baton Rouge couple ended just as soon as it began.
Frank Garcia, charged in the 2015 killings of Dennis and Suzanne Duplantier, took a plea deal Wednesday that will keep him in prison for 30 years. Garcia pleaded guilty to lesser charges of manslaughter in the killings.
"We think this is a reasonable outcome. Not one that we would like to have for the family, but we're satisfied," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
A jury had only just been selected for Garcia, one of two charged in the murder plot, and opening statements were slated to begin Wednesday morning.
"In the last couple of days during jury selection we've been back and forth with the prosecutors. I think we got an amicable resolution to the case," said defense attorney, Michael Destafano.
The Duplantiers were beaten, bound, and kidnapped from their Highland Road home and later found dead inside their car, which was abandoned at a Hammond truck stop. Investigators said the couple's safe had been raided and some of the stolen items were later found at Garcia's home in Florida.
Ernesto Alonso, a handyman who lived on the Duplantiers' property, was also implicated in the murders and is scheduled to go to trial separately.
District Attorney Hillar Moore previously said language barriers, changing venues and the resignation of one of the defense attorneys has dragged out the process of having the case prosecuted for years.