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In rare move, grand jury charges ankle-monitoring companies, employees after St. Francisville woman is killed in domestic shooting

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WEST FELICIANA PARISH – Two ankle-monitor companies, the owner of one and an employee of the other were charged Thursday with negligent homicide, almost a year after a man who wore a monitor killed his estranged wife before turning the gun on himself in St. Francisville.

It’s an indictment that could be the first of its kind in Louisiana, according to Sam D’Aquilla, district attorney for the 20th Judicial District, who called the ankle-monitoring system “worthless.”

A West Feliciana Parish grand jury handed up the indictment Thursday, charging Deborah Shirley; Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Electronic Monitoring; AEM of Louisiana; and Van Hopkins with negligent homicide.

Shirley is an employee of American Electronic Monitoring. Hopkins is an officer of AEM, according to Louisiana Secretary of State records.

“Hopkins and Shirley should turn themselves in soon,” D’Aquilla told the WBRZ Investigative Unit Thursday evening.

The charges stem from a domestic killing in September 2021.

Marshall Rayburn, 63, shot and killed Peggy Rayburn, 70, during an argument. Marshall Rayburn also shot another woman in the shoulder. Her injury was not serious.

Rayburn was out of jail on a $100,000 bond when he killed his wife and himself. Among the stipulations of his bond was an order to wear an ankle monitor.

Despite that, the company that was supposed to monitor his activity never notified authorities about Rayburn’s violations, including drives past his wife’s house, The Advocate reported in March.

Among the major red flags the newspaper reported was the night of Sept. 20, 2021, when Rayburn parked near his wife’s home and wrapped his ankle monitor in foil and duct tape to cut the signal, which was not reported.

Hopefully the Legislature or someone will take notice and look into the worthless ankle monitoring systems in Louisiana and some type of guidelines or oversight set in place to keep our society safe,” D’Aquilla said.


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