OPELOUSAS — A trial jury deliberated 20 minutes Thursday before convicting a 68-year-old Krotz Springs woman of second-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of a man who lived with her son.
One man shattered the courtroom silence, shouting “all right,” as the guilty verdict was pronounced on Odeal Lirette, who shot James “Ricky” Guillory, 21, twice when the two argued outside her son’s Levee Road residence.
Lirette briefly left the defense table and moved unattended toward one of the courtroom exit doors after the verdict was read. She was quickly escorted by a court bailiff back to her seat beside defense attorney Frank Olivier, who began speaking to her and asking her to remain quiet.
District Judge Gerard Caswell, who presided over the two-day trial, set a Sept. 10 sentencing date for Lirette, who court records indicate has remained in the St. Landry Parish Jail since her arrest in the Nov. 4, 2013 shooting.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.
Lirette, who was indicted on second-degree murder by a grand jury on Feb. 26, 2014, did not testify at the trial.
Prosecutor Donald Richard told the jurors that just hours before the shooting, Lirette visited Krotz Springs police and told them she wanted Guillory removed from the house he shared with her son, Brandon Pippins, who was 32 at the time.
Pippins is Lirette’s son by a former husband.
Richard said Lirette told police she suspected ongoing drug activity since Guillory had moved in with Pippins. But, the prosecutor said, there was no evidence of drugs being dealt when Guillory lived in the house, owned by Penny Stermer.
As Richard told it, Lirette wanted Guillory removed in order to exert more control over her son.
“This is the most radical eviction that I’ve ever heard of in my life — just kill him,” Richard said in his closing argument.
The incident began when Guillory, accompanied by Leah Credeur, approached the house.
As Guillory and Lirette began to argue, Credeur fled to the Atchafalaya River levee across from Pippins’ house.
In a video-taped interview with Krotz Springs police that was played for the jury, Credeur said she heard two shots fired in rapid succession while she observed the incident from the levee.
When Krotz Springs police officer Josh Evans arrived at the scene, he found Lirette holding a pistol and standing near Guillory, who was lying face down near the home.
Penny Stermer, Lirette’s daughter, testified she drove to the crime scene, where her mother appeared “frightened, pale and shaking.”
Stermer said Lirette was still holding a handgun until one of the officers asked, “Miss Odeal, where’s the gun?”
Stermer said police stepped toward Lirette and her mother placed the weapon on the ground.
Olivier, the defense attorney, said it was dark at the time of the shooting and Lirette didn’t recognize Guillory and Credeur as they walked up to the house.
“This happened during an excited moment, and she shot while fearing for her life. The circumstances warranted action,” Olivier said. “Don’t think she doesn’t regret her action. But it was the perfect storm.”