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Murder trial ends when defendant failed to show

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BATON ROUGE - A suspected murderer was picked up in St. Tammany Parish Tuesday after skipping out on court this week.

Tressie Newberry is accused of principle to second degree murder. Her son, Mason Chiapuzio, is the accused triggerman in the case.

Newberry's trial was set to start Monday, but she did not appear in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

"Most people show for their days of court," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "This is quite unusual for us particularly in a murder case."

Brandon Harris was killed in 2012 on Sharlo Avenue in Tigerland. His family members said he was shot in the back and the head.

"You don't take a life," Carol Harris, the victim's aunt said. "That's a soul. That's a loved one who we miss so much."

Newberry was arrested in 2013 along with her son. Both posted a $250,000 bond, according to booking records.

"That's a bond that is surely within the range of all the judges who have set bonds here," Moore said. "Depending on the judge and circumstance, could be higher or lower but I think it was an adequate bond to have her come to court today, but obviously she chose not to be here."

An arrest warrant was issued for Newberry, and authorities spent time looking for her. Moore said there is no way she couldn't have known her trial was scheduled.

A few hours after this story first appeared on WBRZ News 2 at 6:00, Moore said Newberry had been apprehended outside New Orleans.

"That's a guilt, a sign of guilt," Harris said. "If you didn't do anything, then why would you have to run?"

For the Harris family, they won't rest until justice is served.

Newberry's son, Mason Chiapuzio, was extradited back to Baton Rouge to face a murder charge two years ago.  Now that Newberry has been caught, it is expected that paperwork will be filed to revoke her bond.


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