Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in cold case

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Kergan family left district court with the greatest sense of relief and justice they have felt in decades. Ted Kergan still remembers the day he learned his brother was killed.

"This crime happened 29 years, 5 months, 15 days, and nine hours ago," Ted says.

Gary Kergan was murdered in November 1984. Leila Mulla, who was an exotic dancer at a club on Plank Road then admitted she conspired with her alleged pimp, Ronald Dunnagan, to rob and murder Gary. investigators believe she took Kergan back to the apartment she shared with Dunnigan and served him poisoned wine. She says Dunnagan murdered him and put his body in the trunk of his own car. The car was later found in Metairie, but his body was never located.

Mulla and Dunnagan were arrested, but released after a grand jury determined there wasn't enough evidence to link them to the murder. In 2012, DNA linked the pair to Kergan. Mulla pleaded guilty to manslaughter and has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in their case against Dunnagan. District Attorney Hillar Moore says investigators tracked Mulla to an apartment in New York.

"We sought out other agencies, federal agencies in New York, and the FBI," Moore said. "We worked every angle that we could. That eventually led us to this lady."

Gary's son Wade, who was only ten years old at the time of his father's murder, fought back tears as he expressed his gratitude.

"It feels amazing to see closure for the case and have some justice," Wade says.

Mulla's Attorney Frank Holthaus says his client was a victim of human trafficking. He says when Mulla ran away from home in her teenage years, Dunnagan picked her up, robbed, and raped her.

"She was kept locked up, hooded, drugged and brought from city to city with other girls where men who had money had their way with her," Holthaus says.

Dunnagan was arrested and released twice before. He remains a free man.

"He's in Shreveport having frozen margaritas and having ballpark nachos," Holthaus says.

Prosecutors say they know how to find him and they are confident this time they have the evidence they'll need to put Dunnagan away for good.

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