One of two Baker men serving life prison terms in the 1989 drug-related slaying of four people inside a Zachary mobile home is asking a Baton Rouge federal judge to reverse his second-degree murder convictions.
Freddie King Jr., 47, claims the performance of his court-appointed trial attorneys was constitutionally deficient — an allegation each of his former lawyers disputed Monday.
“I’m astounded,” Ed Walters said when informed of the petition King filed Wednesday in federal court.
“Sooner or later, every good lawyer has to go through this,” said Frank Holthaus.
Mike Walsh noted that he and his co-counsel were successful in persuading prosecutors to drop the death-penalty part of the case.
“The case proceeded to trial and Mr. King was identified by a surviving eyewitness,” he added.
King did not testify at his trial.
The victims were killed July 27, 1989, when King and another man, Joseph Warren Jackson, now 58, entered William “Little Man” Tennart’s trailer on West Mount Pleasant Road to retrieve a gun that was part of a trade Jackson had made for cocaine from Tennart.
Authorities said Tennart was a known drug dealer.
Jackson, armed with a .357-caliber revolver, shot the 36-year-old Tennart and Angie Rollins Summerall, 22, of Clinton, in a bedroom, according to testimony at King’s trial. King shot Tracie Hunsucker, 27, and Crystal Bruno Crawford, 28, of Prairieville, to death with a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the living room, according to testimony.
Two people who were in the living room and were injured in the attack, Cynthia Bacon and Roger Mixon, identified King as the gunman at his trial.
King alleges in his federal court petition that his attorneys failed to independently investigate the facts of the case; failed to effectively cross-examine Bacon and Mixon; and stated during jury selection and in opening trial statements that King was at the trailer and shot two of the four victims who died.
“But for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the results of the proceedings would have been different,” he contends.
King was found guilty of four counts of second-degree murder in December 1990 and was sentenced to four life prison terms. Jackson pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in September 1990 to avoid a possible death penalty and was sentenced to life behind bars.
Investigators who searched Tennart’s trailer following the killings found cocaine, marijuana, three semi-automatic weapons and nearly $900 in cash, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies also discovered books, records and receipts indicating drugs were being sold in the mobile home.
King, who is serving his time at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, is requesting a hearing in federal court and the eventual reversal of his convictions.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick.
King’s state court petition that also claimed ineffective assistance of trial counsel was denied last year by 19th Judicial District Judge Richard Anderson.
The Louisiana Supreme Court later turned down King’s appeal.