LIVINGSTON — The mother of Kayla Denham told the woman's convicted killer Monday that she hopes he feels the pain she and her family have suffered.
“We hope you are haunted by this the rest of your life,” Amy Lewis told Christopher Landry at his sentencing hearing Monday afternoon.
Landry was convicted of second-degree murder in Livingston Parish on Oct. 25. Prosecutors said he strangled and beat Denham to death at a home in Denham Springs on June 5, 2017.
Twenty-first Judicial District Judge Jeff Johnson sentenced Landry to the mandatory penalty of life without parole.
“Crime is like a tidal wave,” Johnson said as he delivered the judgment. “It doesn’t just take out the house on the point, it continues to flood and takes out all the houses along the coast.”
LIVINGSTON — A 26-year-old man was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday in a three-day trial that asked 12 Livingston Parish jurors to w…
Johnson said the group of 30 or so friends and family members of Denham who attended the hearing was the most he had seen in his 25 years working in the criminal justice system.
Landry did not make any comment at the hearing.
Prosecutors said Landry killed Denham outside a home in the 30000 block of Dunn Road after inviting her there for a paid, sensual massage. During a three-day trial, Livingston Parish Assistant District Attorney Greg Murphy showed pictures indicating Landry struck the 24-year-old in the head at least 15 times with a steel Indian war club, before getting down on his knees and strangling her with his hands. Her body was found in a plastic tub in a backyard shed hours later.
The motive was never clear, but prosecutors suggested Landry killed Denham after he was unable to pay for her services.
Landry’s defense attorneys, Shaan Aucoin and Tim Fondren, asked the jury to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. They leaned heavily on a statement in which the “nerdy” young man said he killed Denham in a panic when the woman tried to steal his computer bag that contained his few valuables.
At the sentencing hearing, Denham’s mother took the podium surrounded by family members dressed in purple shirts. As she delivered a statement about the impact of her daughter’s murder, Dewitt Denham, the victim’s father, held a poster with a photo of their daughter in Landry’s direction.
At the time of her death, Denham was an occupational therapy student at Delgado Community College who wanted to work with children, family members said. Her aunt, Angie Denham, said last month the victim may have placed herself in dangerous situations as she tried to pay her way through school.
Lewis said Denham’s death has caused her family such anguish that she struggles to sleep at night and is undergoing therapy for depression and anxiety.
“When you killed our beautiful daughter, you killed a part of us. We will never be the same people as we were before you took our daughter’s life,” Lewis said.
The mother said she does not know what God has planned for Landry’s soul, but she has a wish.
“If it was left up to us you would burn in hell because you are evil," she said. "You are the devil."