One trial, two juries for men accused of killing Baton Rouge couple

Denis and Suzanne Duplantier (Source: Facebook)
Denis and Suzanne Duplantier (Source: Facebook)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The criminal case against two men accused of kidnapping and killing a Baton Rouge couple took an interesting turn Tuesday morning.

The state of Louisiana decided to try both men with one trial, but two separate juries. The suspects have separate attorneys.

Ernesto Alonso, 42, and Frank Garcia, 48, both face two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping.

Judge Trudy White has set a trial date for Nov. 27, 2017.

Alonso's attorney, Dwight Doskey, said there will be separate opening and closing arguments. He also said state prosecutors decided to do the trial this way for efficiency reasons.

Denis Duplantier, 71, and his wife, Suzanne, 70, were found bound and beaten to death in their truck that was parked at the Petro truck stop on Southwest Railroad Avenue in Hammond late in the evening on Oct. 19, 2015. The case was initially investigated by the Hammond Police Department.

RELATED STORIES: Denis and Suzanne Duplantier murder investigation

Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department said Alonso was a handy man for the Duplantiers.

Both Alonso and Garcia were arrested in Hollywood, Florida and had to extradited back to Louisiana.

Authorities said they will not seek the death penalty against the two men. District Attorney Hillar Moore said the decision not to seek the death penalty was the decision of the Duplantier family. Moore added he commends their (family's) courage and strength to make that decision in light of the circumstances.

Investigators learned the murders possibly happened at the couples' home on Highland Road in Baton Rouge. They believe the two were killed the night before their bodies were found.

Officials later revealed that the couple had a safe in their home and it was opened and emptied.

The Duplantiers, known as Bubbie and his wife, Suzy, had been married for 48 years. The Baton Rouge couple comes from a family which dates back to the founding of Baton Rouge.

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