District Attorney Trent Brignac confirmed a 19 year old “Cold Case” involving “Forcible Rape” ended with the conviction of the defendant on Wednesday, February 26, 2013. After a three day trial which began on Monday, a jury of twelve found Lawrence Walker Lafleur, age 50, of Opelousas, LA , guilty of Forcible Rape. The rape occurred in 1994. This case was unusual in that it occurred nearly nineteen years ago. In 1994, DNA extraction was not available as it is today. Therefore, evidence from the rape was simply stored at the Acadiana Crime Lab until a suspect could be identified. Jurors heard testimony from Carolyn Booker, a forensic DNA analyst employed by the Acadiana Crime Lab located in New Iberia. Booker testified that in 2003, due to the serial killings by Derrick Todd Lee, backlogged DNA cases were outsourced to be worked by a private company. DNA was extracted from the evidence in this case at that time; however, there was no match to a suspect in this case. In 2011, Mamou Chief of Police Greg Dupuis was contacted by the Acadiana Crime Lab identifying the name of the person whose DNA matched the DNA found on the evidence. The match resulted from the arrest of Lafleur in St. Landry Parish on an unrelated charge.
Subsequent investigation by Chief Dupuis and Detective Marie Potter along with the District Attorney’s Office led to locating the victim in Gretna, Louisiana. The victim, in her mid-thirties at the time of the crime, related that she was raped by a black male in the spring of 1994. Her testimony at trial indicated that the rape occurred late in the evening. Lafleur, wearing a bandana across his face, entered the washeteria on Sixth Street in Mamou, Louisiana. The victim was alone. He asked for her money and when she replied that she had none, he forced her into the bathroom and raped her. She immediately reported the rape to the Mamou Police Department but could not identify her assailant. The case remained unsolved until 2011.
The crime of Forcible Rape carries a maximum sentence of forty years imprisonment. Sentencing is set in this matter for June 6, 2013.
District Attorney Trent Brignac thanked lead prosecutor, Marcus Fontenot and Assistant District Attorney, Nicole Gil, for their efforts in prosecuting the case. He further thanked all prospective jurors and especially those selected, for their time and service.
Brignac also commended the Mamou Police Department for their efforts both during the investigation and throughout the trial.