Death penalty still possible for man accused of Beauregard Town murder, judge rules

Death penalty still possible for man accused of Beauregard Town murder, judge rules
Allie and Ariana Engler (Source: Family)
Allie and Ariana Engler (Source: Family)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After more than six years, the case against a man accused of murdering a woman and wounding her daughter will move forward.

Judge Anthony Marabella ruled Friday that Aramis Jackson is not intellectually disabled, which means that he is eligible for the death penalty. That also means that the case against him can move forward.

Jackson is accused of killing Alexandra Engler, 42, and critically wounding her daughter Ariana, who was 9 years old at the time. The shooting happened at Engler's home in the area of downtown Baton Rouge known as Beauregard Town. Investigators believe the suspect was attempting to steal a television in the home.

According to the district attorney's office, DNA evidence links Jackson to the scene of the crime.

Jackson's defense filed a motion in 2015 that argued that Jackson is intellectually disabled. In a previous interview, Jackson's defense attorney noted that he scored a 64 on a standard IQ test, which would place him below normal intelligence.

Jackson was examined by several experts, and the issue was argued in a hearing in March. After considering the evidence, Marabella ruled Jackson was not disabled and could face the death penalty. Jackson's attorney said they have 30 days to consider their options.

Meanwhile, District Attorney Hillar Moore said he is ready for the trail to proceed. As for pursuing the death penalty, Moore said he felt was appropriate due to the nature of the crime.

"If you went to this crime scene, which I did and stayed there for two or three days, saw it myself, saw the effect on a young child, on a grandmother, on the father of a young child," Moore said. "If there is a case for the death penalty, this is the case."

Moore expects a trial date to be set soon and for the trial to begin in 2017.

The victim's mother, Bonnie Hunt, was in court for the latest hearing. She said her granddaughter, now 15, is doing well. However, she said they are all eager to see the trial begin.

"It's been a long time. It's been a tough time," Hunt said.

A status hearing in the case is scheduled in 30 days.

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