Ryan Sharpe

The trial of Ryan Sharpe, who is accused of killing three men on their rural properties north of Baton Rouge, is set to begin Tuesday.

The shootings started in July 2017 and occurred within a 25-mile radius of Clinton. They put the Bluff Creek area on edge for weeks.

Sharpe was arrested that October. The East Feliciana Sheriff's Office says Sharpe told investigators that he shot the victims to fill hunting "tags" issued to him by the government.

Sharpe, 38, of Clinton, faces a second-degree murder count for the death of Thomas Bass; first-degree murder in the death of Brad DeFranceschi; and attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 wounding of Buck Hornsby.

Officials in East Baton Rouge Parish also charged Sharpe with second-degree murder in the killing of former BREC commissioner Carroll Breeden Sr.

Bass, a 62-year-old Boy Scouts employee, was killed while trimming weeds in front of his home in Clinton. DeFranceschi was found fatally shot on a Boy Scouts property he owned near Clinton. Hornsby was wounded outside his home near La. 63, a few weeks before Breeden was killed.

Sharpe will appear in court Tuesday morning in Clinton. His trial in Baton Rouge is set for next year.

Defense lawyer Tommy D’amico plans to file a request to move the trial to a different location. He says the publicity of the killings has made it difficult to find local jurors who can remain impartial.

A judge will decide whether the case should move forward during jury selection Tuesday morning.

Prosecutors in East Feliciana Parish are not seeking the death penalty against Sharpe. He instead faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Sharpe had lived in Clinton for several years, working as a plumber. His father is a retired police officer who worked for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety.

Prosecutors say Sharpe fired at the men he's accused of shooting while driving by. He appeared to have little to no prior relationship to them.

His lawyer has argued that Sharpe cannot recall anything about the crimes he’s accused of committing. Several doctors examined Sharpe and declared him fit to stand trial in both parishes earlier this year. 

He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges against him in both parishes.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This report was corrected on Dec. 12, 2019. Sharpe's trial involves only one of the three shootings in East Feliciana: the first-degree murder of Brad DeFranceschi.

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