Man accused of shooting pregnant wife had previous murder charges dropped

Frank Atkins being escorted to Parish Prison
Frank Atkins being escorted to Parish Prison

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Frank Atkins was arrested Wednesday afternoon after being accused of shooting his estranged pregnant wife, Kayla Atkins. But one woman tells 9News, Atkins should have been serving a murder charge and never have been out.

Atkins was arrested in 2011 for a murder charge, a charge that was later dropped.

Bernard Lands' niece said her uncle was shot and killed last year.

"In July of 2011, Lands, 51, ...was shot to death on his porch by a person that we believe to be Frank Atkins," said John Dauthier, lead homicide detective on the case.

The sole piece of evidence prosecutors say link Atkins as the killer? A very credible witness statement.

"He had a second degree murder charge in 2011, and we had one cooperating witness, and unfortunately that witness died, not related to him or his case," said East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore.

So even though Atkins was arrested, he was never charged because Moore said detectives were unable to develop any other witnesses or evidence.

"That left the District Attorney's office in an unfortunate position of being unable to proceed with the case due to a lack of evidence," said Dauthier.

The niece said she wants her uncle's killer to pay: be it Atkins, or whomever else is responsible because the man was her father figure.

"I just got married, and my uncle was supposed to be here to walk me down the aisle and he's not here," said the niece. "I would love to have justice and closure for my uncle"

A bond has not been set for Atkins. Meanwhile, Kayla Atkins is expected to pull through, but she is still in ICU.

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