Daughter, granddaughter indicted in 82-year-old Baton Rouge woman’s death _lowres

Joleslie Looney, left, Lauren Looney

Lauren Looney has been free on bail for nearly two years awaiting trial on a manslaughter charge in the gruesome 2014 death of her 82-year-old grandmother in Baton Rouge.

Her freedom may now be in jeopardy.

Looney and her 56-year-old mother, Joleslie Looney, face manslaughter charges in the death of Bessie Looney.

On Thursday, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings filed a motion asking state District Judge Mike Erwin to order the 20-year-old Lauren Looney held without bond in the manslaughter case until that trial because of her latest arrest, a July 15 drug bust.

Lauren Looney, who was released on bail shortly after the drug arrest, is being charged with felony cocaine possession, misdemeanor marijuana possession and resisting an officer. 

Cummings wrote in his motion that Lauren Looney has violated the conditions of her manslaughter bond and "has shown that she has absolutely no respect for the law and that she poses an imminent danger to this community."

Gail Ray, who is Lauren Looney's attorney in the manslaughter case, said Friday she will oppose any attempt to revoke her client's bail.

"I just don't think everybody needs to be locked up," Ray said, adding that she doesn't view Lauren Looney as a threat to the community.

Bessie Looney was found dead Sept. 29, 2014, inside her North Acadian West home, sitting naked in a wheelchair in feces and riddled with infected bedsores. She also was surrounded by trash, gnats and fruit flies, police said.

Joleslie Looney, the daughter of Bessie Looney, and Lauren Looney, who was 17 at the time of her grandmother's death, were her primary caregivers, authorities have said.

The Looneys told police they were aware of Bessie Looney's condition but it "did not appear to be severe to them," according to the arrest report in that case.

The coroner ruled Bessie Looney's death a homicide after an autopsy revealed she died from a blood infection caused by severely infected bedsores. He also said malnutrition, dementia and heart disease were contributing factors in her death.

Joleslie Looney's trial is set for Aug. 28. She remains behind bars. Lauren Looney does not have a trial date. Her next scheduled court appearance is Sept. 11.

The arrest report in Lauren Looney's drug case says an officer observed a parked vehicle with the dome light on in a North Boulevard parking lot shortly after 1 a.m. on July 15. Officers smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and saw a crack pipe and metal filter used for smoking crack cocaine lying on the passenger seat.

Lauren Looney became emotional, and once she was put in handcuffs she said she "had a problem and needed help." While she was in the back of a police car, officers found two baggies of marijuana in her car and a small rock of crack cocaine near the pipe and filter, the report says.

Meanwhile, Looney had slipped one hand out of the handcuffs, so an officer removed her from the police car in order to secure her hands and put leg shackles on her. Looney tried to kick the officer, who used pepper spray to subdue her and put her back into the police car, the report states.

Looney was released on $10,500 bail after the arrest.  


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.