LAFAYETTE — An appeals court on Wednesday upheld the murder conviction of a man accused in a 1989 beating that left a woman in a coma until her death in 2001.
Louis Joseph George is serving a mandatory life sentence in the death of Michelle Steven.
The investigation became a “cold case” for several years until a fresh review of the case linked George’s fingerprints and DNA to the crime.
A Lafayette jury convicted him last year on a second-degree murder charge.
He appealed the conviction, arguing that the judge should have delayed the trial to allow George’s DNA expert to testify and accused the judge of mishandling the jury selection process.
A three-judge panel with the state’s 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal set aside those arguments and upheld the conviction in an opinion released Wednesday.
Prosecutors alleged the attack was sexually motivated and that George gained access into Steven’s home on Cobb Road through a bathroom window and attempted to force Steven to have sex with him.
George beat her and strangled her when she refused, according to prosecutors.
A DNA expert testified at trial that George could not be excluded from a bloodstain found on Steven’s pants, and a fingerprint expert testified George’s fingerprints were found on a bathroom window outside Steven’s home.