ST. FRANCISVILLE — A jury heard a recording Tuesday of Angola 5 defendant David Brown telling investigators that he dragged Louisiana State Penitentiary security Capt. David Knapps into an employee restroom and held the officer while a co-defendant hit him with a mallet.
Knapps, 49, died in the restroom of the Educational Building at Angola’s Camp D the night of Dec. 28, 1999, during an unsuccessful escape attempt. The inmates took two other officers as hostages, but they were rescued by a security team.
Brown, 38, is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder in the 1992 shooting death of Harvey Reese, 39, in Marrero.
Prosecutors from Jefferson and Caddo parishes are seeking the death penalty in Brown’s first-degree murder trial, which began with opening statements Saturday.
The state is expected to rest its case in the guilt phase of the trial after hearing from two more witnesses Wednesday.
If the jury of eight women and four men chosen in St. Tammany Parish convicts Brown of first-degree murder, it would hear additional evidence to decide on a life sentence or death sentence.
Brown told three investigators several hours after the slaying that Knapps was attacked in a hallway and began bleeding from stab wounds and blows to the head from a hard plastic mallet.
In his statement, Brown said he pulled Knapps into the restroom and held him while the victim suffered additional blows.
Brown surrendered before security officers stormed the building to rescue the other two hostages.
State Police crime lab personnel used DNA analysis to determine that Knapps’ blood was found on Brown’s hands, boot shoelace, both boots, long john pants, jeans and a sock, according to testimony Tuesday.
Defense attorney Mark Marinoff, questioning DNA analyst Carolyn Booker, revealed that Knapps’ blood also was found on at least three co-defendants and three inmates who were in the building but not charged in the case.
Marinoff also asked questions about the possible contamination of the crime scene by officers and inmates walking about the building.
In an unusual move, presiding Judge Jerome M. Winsberg allowed the jurors to submit written questions to him, and three jurors took him up on the offer.
Winsberg said he does not solicit questions as a rule but he noted that jurors attempted to ask questions of him while touring the Education Building at Angola Tuesday morning.
He allowed the attorneys to look at the questions, then placed them under seal.
St. Tammany juries convicted inmates Jeffrey Cameron Clark, 50, and Robert G. Carley, 43, of first-degree murder earlier this year. Clark was sentenced to death, but Carley’s jury could not unanimously agree on his sentence, and Winsberg sentenced him to another life term as required by law.