Trial set for Ponthieux in Larto triple homicide; Adams released
posted Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 @ 3:18 pm
A Catahoula Parish woman accused in three murders in Larto last summer was released from jail Tuesday under no bond, while a man charged in the case will be tried on April 1.
Debbie Adams, 57, the daughter of one victim and sister of another, was charged by the Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office on August 20, 2012, with three counts of first degree murder.
Also booked in the case was Lee John Ponthieux Jr., who lived in Larto at 975 Moody Road.
Pontheiux was indicted October 15, 2012, on three counts of first degree murder by a Catahoula Parish grand jury. The victims included 76-year-old Annie Bell Adams; her daughter, 51-year-old Edris Adams Ellard; and 45-year-old John D. Ellard Jr.
The Grand Jury did not indict Debbie Adams.
She had been incarcerated for five months prior to her release on Tuesday.
First degree murder carries a sentence of death or life in prison.
On Tuesday, Adams' attorney, Robert Clark, filed a motion in Judge Leo Boothe's court seeking her release. According to the state's "701" statue, a defendant being held for a felony which carries a punishment of death or life imprisonment must be indicted within 120 days of arrest.
District Attorney Brad Burget said, however, that the murder charges filed against Adams "do not go away."
"This remains an open investigation," he said. "The grand jury could have taken one of three actions -- returned a true bill and charge her with a crime, return a no true bill or pretermit the matter."
He said last October the grand jury pretermitted the matter.
However, he said the charges previously filed against Debbie Adams "have not and will not go away. Any new evidence can be considered by the grand jury."
The Larto murders occurred at the home of victim Annie Bell Adams in Larto.
Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Glen Kelly previously reported that both of the female victims were stabbed in the neck, while the male victim was shot in the head. Both a shotgun and a blood-stained "large folding pocket knife" were recovered at the crime scene, he said.
Ponthieux has reportedly confessed to the murders.
Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office Investigator Tony Edwards said in court in August that Ponthieux has a lengthy arrest record dating back to 1988 and had been booked in Pineville, Rapides Parish and Thibodeaux on a variety of charges, including battery on a juvenile, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, simple burglary, theft of a truck, simple criminal damage to property, indecent behavior with a juvenile, illegal use of a weapon and resisting an officer.
Ponthieux is represented by attorney Andy Magoun.
Pretrial motions in his case are slated for March 5.