Neighbors say murders in Gonzales "not American, terrorist act"

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - While family gathered in Mississippi to lay Shirley Marchand, 72, to rest, neighbors in Gonzales say they can rest a little easier knowing the men accused of murdering her family are in custody.

Irwin and Shirley Marchand and Douglas Dooley were found dead in their Gonzales home February 18, 2012.  Since then, neighbors say they have been asking a higher power for answers.  And in the last 24 hours, those prayers were answered.  Now, they want to make sure those responsible are punished.

Babin Road is a quiet, country, rural road where people usually stay to themselves.  But neighbors do know each other.  Wayne Brignac says the music from his garage would often draw a visit from Shirley, who lived just down the road.  That's the memory that will sit with Brignac's band, Route 61, when they get together to practice.

"It's un-American.  Worst than terrorists.  That's a terrorist act because it terrorizes me and my whole community," Brignac said.  "To even imagine we have people in this parish that can commit those crimes..." he continued, fighting back tears.  

What's happened here has taken an emotional toll on several neighbors.  For weeks, Brignac and his neighbors have been asking the questions usually left up to detectives.  What happened inside the Marchand's house?  Who killed the couple and why?  

Now that at least five men are being charged in connection with murdering the Marchand's and Shirley's son, residents say their prayers have been answered.

"Amen.  What can we say? Yes, it's a wonderful day, it's a joyous day.  They're burying Shirley today, but that's okay.  Angels in heaven rejoice.  They sing hallelujah," said another neighbor.

For Brignac, he says what's important now is to make sure the judicial system doesn't fail the family.  "They need the most harsh punishment.  They need to be put to death."

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