OPELOUSAS — A prosecutor described a 69-year-old woman on trial for second-degree murder Wednesday as a controlling mother who fatally shot a 21-year-old man because she didn’t want him living with her son.
In opening statements in the trial of Odeal Lirette Pippins, prosecutor Donald Richard described the scene leading up to the shooting outside a Krotz Springs home around dusk on Nov. 4, 2013.
Richard said James “Ricky” Guillory, the man living with Pippins’ son, approached Pippins and the two exchanged words before Pippins fired a .25-caliber handgun, killing Guillory from close range.
Pippins lived in a North Levee Road house adjacent to the one occupied by Guillory and her son, Brandon Pippins. A grand jury charged her with second-degree murder in February 2014.
Richard told jurors Guillory was on a cellphone speaking to Brandon Pippins and complaining that Odeal Pippins was “yelling, cursing and raising sand” before she fired two shots into Guillory’s chest.
“Brandon hears a shot and then another one. Guillory says, ‘Your mama just ... shot me,’ and falls at the steps of the house,” Richard said.
Odeal Pippins, Richard said, was adamant that Guillory should no longer live with her son. Odeal Pippins also complained to town police officers and sheriff’s deputies before the shooting about Guillory’s behavior, Richard said.
Richard said that in the minutes before his death, Guillory walked up to the house with Leah Credeur, an acquaintance.
When Odeal Pippins and Guillory began arguing, Richard said, Credeur ran to the nearby Atchafalaya River levee, where she watched the shooting unfold.
Defense attorney Frank Olivier gave a different account of what happened in his opening statement. He said Odeal Pippins didn’t initially recognize Guillory and Credeur as they walked toward her.
Odeal Pippins, he said, just saw two figures cross over from the levee and walk to the house where she and her deceased husband had lived.
“She told them to get away from that house. They ignore her and (Pippins) gets a gun to protect herself,” Olivier said in his statement.
After shooting Guillory, her defense lawyer said, Pippins called Krotz Springs police.
“She said that she had just shot Little Ricky (Guillory) and that he’s dying and to come see,” Olivier said.
Olivier said Odeal Pippins was upset about what she saw as “unusual activity” at the house after Guillory moved in with her son.
“She told police that people were coming and going from the house all the time. It was so bad that she changed the locks on her door and put up no trespassing signs,” Olivier said.
Richard said the house where Brandon Pippins and Guillory lived was owned by Brandon Pippins’ sister. Richard said they were renting the property from a real estate company.
Former Krotz Springs police Officer Josh Evans testified on Wednesday morning that Odeal Pippins was holding a handgun after he was the first to arrive on the scene.
Evans said during direct examination that Guillory was lying on the ground when he arrived.
“I ordered (Pippins) to take a step back and drop the weapon, and she complied,” Evans testified.