An East Feliciana Parish judge set a June 9 sentencing date for Ryan Sharpe, an alleged serial killer who told authorities the government commissioned him to shoot four men, killing three of them in a streak of violence in 2017.
Sharpe, 38, appeared in district court Tuesday nearly two months after an East Feliciana Parish jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the killing of Brad DeFranceschi, a Boy Scouts leader who was trimming weeds at his home when he was gunned down.
Though Sharpe's weeklong trial in Decemeber centered around DeFranceschi's death, prosecutors presented evidence connecting him to the shooting death of Thomas Bass, 62, the September 2017 shooting of Buck Hornsby and former BREC Commissioner Carroll Breeden Sr., who was killed in his front yard in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The killings happened within a seven-mile radius of Sharpe's home near Clinton. During the killings, he circled the men’s homes, scoping them out to make sure no one was home, authorities said. He would also leave his phone at home so investigators couldn’t track it.
The killings put the Bluff Creek area on edge for weeks.
DeFranceschi, 48, like some of the other victims, was killed while doing yard work in broad daylight on Oct. 9.
During Sharpe's trial, Kaylene DeFranceschi described her husband as a “fearless father” who told her his family not to live in fear, despite her worries about the streak of seemingly random violence near their home.
DeFranceschi testified that she ran out to her husband to stop the bleeding from his chest caused by Sharpe's shotgun after he peeled away in his car.
He died in her arms, and DeFranceschi said she "felt his soul leave his body."
In Sharpe’s defense, his father and several friends said they saw a troubling change in him. They recalled him rambling about "strange" and "far-fetched" stories, neglecting his plumbing business and ending social gatherings at his home.
His defense at trial hinged entirely on proving to jurors that Sharpe had a serious mental disorder and couldn’t remember the shootings.
In a video of his interview with authorities presented in court, Sharpe told investigators that the government had ordered him to fill a certain amount of "tags" by shooting the men as part of a "big federal operation."
Several psychiatrists examined him and ultimately deemed him fit for trial and raised serious doubts he has a mental disorder or an affliction that affected his memory.
Sharpe’s plea of not guilty by reason of insanity put the burden of proof his defense team to convince jurors he couldn't to tell right from wrong.
Prosecutor Sam D’Aquilla argued the bizarre confession and fabricated tests were part of his plan to build an insanity defense.
Sharpe also has an upcoming trial in June in East Baton Rouge Parish and is accused of second-degree murder in Breeden's death. Other charges against him in East Feliciana remain pending though prosecutors don't plan to bring them to trial.
Sharpe has remained at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola since his conviction.
The jury's 11-1 vote was accepted because the case happened before voters in 2018 approved a constitutional amendment ending split jury verdicts in major felony cases and because prosecutors didn't seek the death penalty.
Sharpe instead faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.