Ryan Sharpe

Accused Louisiana serial killer Ryan Sharpe’s conviction voided due to split-jury verdict

An East Feliciana Parish jury on Friday found Ryan Sharpe, an alleged serial killer, guilty of first-degree murder after prosecutors convinced jurors he wasn’t insane when he gunned down Brad DeFranceschi, who was trimming weeds in his yard. It was one of four shootings, three of them fatal,…

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Law enforcement officials escort convicted serial killer Ryan Sharpe from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after his trial ended Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Law enforcement officials escort convicted serial killer Ryan Sharpe, center, from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after his trial ended Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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From left: Brad DeFranceschi’s mother-in-law, Kelly Quebedeaux, and his wife Kaylene DeFranceschi speak after the arraignment of alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe in Clinton on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. DeFranceschi’s family said they wore the “aloha” shirts to court because they were “bright like him.” Sharpe pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the slaying of DeFranceschi in October.

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Law enforcement officials escort convicted serial killer Ryan Sharpe, center, from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after his trial ended Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Law enforcement officials escort convicted serial killer Ryan Sharpe, center, from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after his trial ended Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Law enforcement officials escort convicted serial killer Ryan Sharpe, center, from the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after his trial ended Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Buck Hornsby leaves the East Feliciana Parish Courthouse in Clinton, after Ryan Sharpe, 36, of Clinton, was arraigned Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tommy Bass, and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Hornsby, who survived.

  • ADVOCATE STAFF FILE PHOTO BY TRAVIS SPRADLING
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Carroll Breeden (photo contributed by family)

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Defense attorney Tommy Damico leaves the East Feliciana Parish Court House for the lunch break as jury selection in the trial for alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe begins Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in Clinton, La. Sharpe is accused of killing two people and wounding one in East Feliciana Parish, as well as killing a former BREC commissioner in East Baton Rouge Parish, Carroll Breeden.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Assisstant District Attorney Lee Hall, left, and District Attorney Sam D’Aquila chat while leaving the East Feliciana Parish Court House for the lunch break as jury selection in the trial for alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe begins Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in Clinton, La. Sharpe is accused of killing two people and wounding another in East Feliciana Parish, as well as killing a former BREC commissioner in East Baton Rouge Parish, Carroll Breeden.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Buzz Breeden, left, son of former BREC commissioner in EBR Parish, Carroll Breeden, talks about being pleased that this trial is finally underway as he leaves the Clinton Court House for the lunch break as jury selection in the trial for alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe begins Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019, in Clinton, La. Sharpe is accused of killing two people in East Feliciana Parish, as well as a former BREC commissioner in EBR Parish, Carroll Breeden.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Friends and family of the victims including Buzz Breeden, right, son of former BREC commissioner in EBR Parish, Carroll Breeden, wait outside the East Feliciana Parish courthouse for the jury verdict in the trial of serial killer Ryan Sharpe Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

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Rosemary Breeden, sister, Marcie Flotte, daughter, and Angie Davis, daughter of former BREC commissioner in EBR Parish, Carroll Breeden, talk outside the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after the jury verdict in the trial of serial killer Ryan Sharpe came back guilty Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG
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Kaylene DeFranceschi, Brad’s wife, walks outside the East Feliciana Parish courthouse after the jury verdict in the trial of serial killer Ryan Sharpe came back guilty Friday Dec. 13, 2019, in Clinton, La. Authorities say he gunned down four people, killing three.

  • STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

An East Feliciana Parish judge on Tuesday voided the first-degree murder conviction of alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe after lawyers argued the jury’s split verdict was unconstitutional.

A jury in December found Sharpe guilty in the killing of Brad DeFranceschi, 48, one of three men authorities say Sharpe gunned down during streak of violence in 2017.

Jurors swiftly returned an 11-1 guilty verdict. Using a Louisiana case, the U.S. Supreme Court recently banned non-unanimous jury decisions in cases similar to Sharpe’s.

Defense lawyer Tommy Damico on Tuesday argued Sharpe’s conviction should be voided and a new trial be set following the Supreme Court ruling. A district judge affirmed Damico’s motion and set a new trial for Sharpe in December.

“He clearly was entitled to a new trial,” Damico said following a Tuesday morning hearing in Clinton.

Accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe’s attorneys say Supreme Court could void split-jury conviction

A judge in East Feliciana Parish declined Tuesday to hold a new trial and delay sentencing for alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe, even though …

In 2018, Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment ending non-unanimous jury convictions in major felony cases.

The jury in Sharpe’s case was allowed to return a split decision because the killings happened before 2019 and prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty. Under the law in place then, after the panel reached more than 10 guilty votes, it no longer needed to deliberate.

Accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe’s trial: Life in prison likely after he’s found guilty

Kaylene DeFranceschi stepped out of the court in Clinton overcome by emotion moments after the man accused of killing her husband and two othe…

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“They had a legal verdict at the time,” said District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla, who added that jurors could have deliberated for days, potentially, to reach a collective verdict.

Had Sharpe been sentenced before the nation’s highest court weighed in, it may have resulted in a similar overturn through an appeal.

The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office noted that roughly 100 cases could be impacted in a filing the office made last fall ahead of the Supreme Court ruling.

Though Sharpe’s trial concerned the death of DeFranceschi, a Boy Scout leader and father who was fatally shot while trimming weeds in his front yard, prosecutors were allowed to present evidence linking Sharpe to three other shootings, two of which were fatal.

Sharpe additionally was charged with second-degree murder in the July 2017 shooting of 62-year-old Tommy Bass, who was killed in the carport of his home; attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 shooting of 47-year-old Buck Hornsby, who was wounded while exercising on his property; and second-degree murder in the September 2017 killing of 66-year-old Carroll Breeden, a former BREC commissioner who was fatally shot while doing yard work in front of his home in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Authorities said Sharpe circled the men’s homes and would leave his phone at home so investigators couldn’t track it.

The killings happened within a seven-mile radius of Sharpe’s home near Clinton and put the Bluff Creek area on edge for months when authorities warned the public the shootings may have been related.

Like most of the other victims, DeFranceschi was killed outside in broad daylight.

Following his arrest, Sharpe told investigators the government ordered him to fill a certain amount of “tags” by shooting the men. In a taped interview that was presented at his trial, he told officials it was as part of a “big federal operation.”

Several psychiatrists examined Sharpe but raised doubts he had a mental illness or an affliction that would impact his memory.