Never before used law may apply to two alleged serial killer cases

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - They're two men who were operating at the same time --- Kenneth Gleason focused on the Baton Rouge area with two murders just two days apart and Ryan Sharpe focused in the East Feliciana Parish area with three murders and one attempted in a matter of three months.

The question now is how will the district attorneys in both cases proceed.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said there is a fairly new provision they're considering.

"In the serial killer provision, that came about several years ago when following the Sean Vincent Gillis case. Our office thought that the state of Louisiana needed a serial-type, a repeat murder-type of provision and we went to the legislature and had that provision passed," said Moore.

Under Louisiana Revised Statute 14:30, or the first-degree murder statute, paragraph 11 is what he is referring to.

"When the offender has a specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm and the offender has previously acted with specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm that resulted in the killing of one or more persons."

"If you have killed before, it just says previously and so it does not matter what parish the killing occurred in. It does not have to occur in the same parish. Really, it does not have to occur in the same state," said Moore.

Meaning it can be used for both Gleason and Sharpe.

Gleason is accused of shooting and killing Bruce Cofield, 59, on Florida Blvd. on Sept. 12. Two days later, Donald Smart, 49, was found near Louie's Cafe on Alaska St. shot 10 times. The alleged gunman was Gleason again.

He was arrested the following week.

In Sharpe's case, he's accused of shooting four men --- Tommy Bass, Buck Hornsby, Carroll Breeden and Brad DeFranceschi. Hornsby survived his injuries. Three of the cases were in East Feliciana Parish and Breeden was in East Baton Rouge Parish.

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Moore said in Sharpe's case, he can pursue first-degree murder because the statute includes death by "assault by drive-by shooting" or the so called serial killer provision, something he said has never been used since it became law.

"The one that particularly talks about a person acting previously has never been tried. This will probably be the state's first," said Moore.

Although under Louisiana law both men could be considered serial killers, Moore said by the FBI's definition, only Sharpe is a serial killer.

"The FBI's definition of serial killer is a person who kills three or more over a longer period of time," said Moore.

Moore said the Sharpe case for Breeden's death will go before a grand jury in the 6-8 weeks. Meanwhile, in East Feliciana Parish, Sharpe pleaded not guilty to two of the three shootings.

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