3 sentenced in gold coin, triple-murder case

3 sentenced in gold coin, triple-murder case

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Three men were sentenced Wednesday evening in the brutal Ascension Parish triple murder case that happened in 2012, bringing an end to the nightmare for the victims' family. Five men were arrested and charged in the brutal murder that rocked the Gonzales community.

Rolondo Stewart was sentenced to 63 years in jail, and Travis Moore was sentenced to 26 years. Devon James will serve 15 years.

Stewart and Moore were both sentenced to 15 years for aggravated burglary, five years for obstruction of justice and six years for three counts accessory after-the-fact to first-degree murder (two years for each count).

Devon James was sentenced to 15 years for obstruction of justice, two years for compounding a felony and 15 years for three counts of accessory after-the-fact to first-degree murder (five years for each count).

Stewart was also serve five years for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced for other charges not related to Marchand case, 30 years for attempted second-degree murder and two year for introduction of contraband into prison.

The charges against Stewart and Moore will run consecutively, while James' charges will run concurrently since he pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a plea deal.

All three men have been credited time served for the years they were in jail awaiting trial and sentencing.

Deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office went to the Marchands' home on Babin Road on Feb. 18, 2012 after family members were unable to get in touch with them. Robert Marchand and Douglas Dooley were already dead when deputies arrived on the scene. Shirley Marchand was clinging to life. Investigators said they were all found with their throats slashed. Shirley Marchand died almost two weeks after the attack.

Authorities said there was no forced entry into the home. A safe containing about $500,000 in gold coins was taken from the house. The safe was found two days later at a park in Livingston Parish. It had been torched open and most of the contents removed. The coins are still missing.

Michael Aikens, 36, of Gonzales, pleaded guilty on October 1, 2013 to three counts of first degree murder in exchange for three life sentences with no possibility of probation or parole. Aikens was the first of the five suspects to go on trial.

He was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the February 2012 deaths of Robert Marchand, 74; his wife, Shirley, 72; and her son, Douglas Dooley, 50.

Bernard James pleaded guilty to the triple murder and avoided the death penalty. He received three life sentences after being charged with three counts of first degree murder.

Investigators said Aiken and the other four suspects were trying to steal gold and valuable coins from the Marchand's home in Ascension Parish. Aikens worked for the couple.

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