5 arrested in gold coins triple murder in Gonzales
GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Five people have been arrested in connection with the horrific Gonzales home invasion where three people were killed.
Ascension Parish detectives arrested three men Tuesday night and two more early Wednesday morning; and they say there could be more arrests.
Michael Aikens, Rolondo Stewart, Travis Moore and Bernard James are all charged with murder, armed robbery and burglary. Investigators believe the four men went into Robert and Shirley Marchand's home in Gonzales and killed the couple and Shirley's son Douglas Dooley.
All three were found with their throats slashed, and there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Detectives believe a fifth person, Devon James, helped the other suspects make away with an estimated $500,000 in coins that were locked away in a safe inside the home.
James is charged with three counts of accessory after-the-fact to first-degree murder, accessory after-the-fact to armed robbery and accessory after-the-fact to aggravated burglary.
"Mr. (Devon) James was paid to allow to have the safe to come to his house and for the bad guys to break into the safe," Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said.
The safe was found two days later in a park in Livingston Parish; it had been torched open and most of the contents removed.
"We thought that was telling us something obscure in a way in that area. My understanding is that it was a random dump."
The sheriff says the case is far from closed and more arrests could come, but he feels confident the men who committed the brutal murders are in custody.
"We have some leads to the coins and gold coins. We're not sure, will unfold in the next day or two."
Aikens, Stewart and Moore all have extensive criminal records with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.
Aikens was arrested in 1996 for armed robbery and possession of cocaine; in 1997 for possession of drugs; in 2000 for illegal use of a weapon.
Stewart was arrested in 2009 for disturbing the peace; in 2011 for illegal carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana; in 2012 for attempted murder and introduction of contraband into a penal facility.
Bernard James and Devon James do not have criminal records.
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