Jury finds accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe guilty of first degree murder

Sharpe says he was “filling tags” as part of a case for a mysterious group of federal agencies

Jury finds accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe guilty of murder

EAST FELICIANA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - After deliberating for about 45 minutes, a jury has found accused serial killer, Ryan Sharpe, guilty of killing Brad DeFranceschi in East Feliciana Parish.

The jury was nearly unanimous, voting 11 to 1 to convict Sharpe. When the verdict was announced, friends and family of DeFranceschi let out a loud shout of emotion that drew ire from the judge.

A sentencing date will be decided Feb. 11, 2020.

The defense team for accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe presented their case to an East Feliciana Parish jury Friday, Dec. 13. Just before 11 a.m., defense attorneys rested their case. Closing arguments began at noon. The jury began deliberations around 1:45 p.m.

During closing arguments, Sharpe’s attorney, Tommy Domico, tried to make one final case Sharpe was not sane during the time of DeFranceschi’s murder. He used testimony from Sharpe’s friends earlier in the day to make his case. Sharpe’s friends said in the months leading up to the murder, Sharpe became more reclusive and started telling “off the wall” and “unbelievable” stories. They would not go into specifics.

East Feliciana District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla kept his closing arguments brief, focusing on previous testimony from doctors that Sharpe was mentally competent and knew what he was doing. He also asked the jury for justice.

Opening statements for the case began Wednesday, Dec. 11 in the first of what could be several trials for Sharpe.

During opening statements, D’Aquilla said DeFranceschi was a “fearless father.” He was cutting grass in his yard while his wife and son were inside the house when he was shot and killed. DeFranceschi’s wife says she heard a loud “cracking” noise and then saw her husband fall backwards. She tried to stop his bleeding, but he died in her arms around 11:20 a.m., D’Aquilla said.

Sharpe’s defense attorney, Tommy D’Amico, argued Sharpe was a talented, hardworking, self-taught plumber who owned his own business. He also said a few months before the killings, Sharpe’s friends noticed he was showing some bizarre behavior and was isolating himself, rambling, and becoming more and more paranoid. Sharpe reportedly stopped talking to friends, was ignoring calls, and neglecting his business.

D’Amico said before the killings, Sharpe’s father found $7,000 worth of checks that hadn’t been cashed. He asked the jury to keep an open mind.

Sharpe is accused of shooting three men in East Feliciana Parish and a fourth in East Baton Rouge Parish. He faces charges of murder in the deaths of Brad DeFranceschi, who was shot on Boy Scout property, and Thomas Bass, who was shot in his yard.

He’s accused of attempted murder in the wounding of Buck Hornsby.

During interrogation, Sharpe said to investigators, “I shot him, yes sir." Sharpe also said the killing happened in the moment. Sharpe claimed he was working a big federal case with different agencies and had so many “tags” to fill.

“When I fill tags, I’m supposed to call and turn it in,” Sharpe said. “I don’t go around shooting people for the fun of it.” Sharpe claimed he was supposed to call in tags one at a time or he wouldn’t get “credit.”

“If I wouldn’t have gotten picked up in two days, two or three tags would’ve been filled,” he said.

Sharpe said he didn’t call in the killing of Bass because he got nervous and then “got out of there" and went back home. He said he knew Bass and that his death was a vote among the special forces, state police, etc. to kill him. Sharpe called Bass a “good guy.”

Tommy Bass, Buck Hornsby, Carroll Breeden, and Brad DeFranceschi (Source: WAFB)
Tommy Bass, Buck Hornsby, Carroll Breeden, and Brad DeFranceschi (Source: WAFB)
Jurors selected for first trial of accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe

Sharpe will face an East Baton Rouge Parish jury for the murder of former BREC commissioner, Carroll Breeden, in June of 2020.

Members of Breeden’s family were in attendance at Sharpe’s trial. After watching Sharpe be led out in cuffs and whisked away to Angola, Breeden’s daughter, Marcie Flotte, said she felt relieved.

"Today was a great day because his games of playing are over," Flotte said. "They saw right through him."

Sharpe faces life in prison without parole.

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