BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The two men accused of kidnapping and killing a Baton Rouge couple appeared in court Wednesday morning for arraignment.
Both Ernesto Alonso, 42, and Frank Garcia, 48, pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping. The judge set a motion hearing in the case for June 23.
Denis Duplantier, 71, and his wife, Suzanne, 70, were found bound and beaten to death in their truck that was parked at a truck stop in Hammond late in the evening on Oct. 19, 2015. Their home on Highland Road had been broken into the night before and officials said a large amount of money was missing out of the safe.
The victims' families were in court for the arraignment hearing.
Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department said Alonso was a handy man for the Duplantiers. He was staying on their property and was sometimes an employee of the victims, according to the arrest warrant.
Alonso was arrested in Hollywood, Florida shortly after the kidnapping and murders of the couple. He returned to Louisiana on Dec. 4, 2015. Garcia was arrested in Hollywood on Nov. 18, 2015.
His arrest warrant stated investigators linked Garcia to the kidnapping and murders after police said they found some of the stolen items at his Hollywood home.
Investigators also said they found a vehicle registered to Garcia and license plate trackers showed the vehicle coming into Baton Rouge on Oct. 17, 2015 and leaving the Capital City the next day, the time of the murders.