A Livingston Parish man accused of shooting his girlfriend, chasing her down and then shooting her again as she ran for help claimed to investigators that the woman had a gun and was threatening him first.
But the account given by Errol Wayne Hicks was contradicted by a Livingston Parish sheriff's deputy who testified Monday that there was no evidence that the victim, Carol Hutchinson, was ever armed during her encounter with Hicks.
The 68-year-old Hicks appeared for the first time in Livingston Parish court Monday for a bond hearing on a second degree murder count. Judge William Burris ultimately ordered him held without bond after hearing limited details of the attack on Hutchinson, 48, on the evening of Sept. 28.
Dozens of Hutchinson's family members filled the courtroom Monday, several gasping or wiping tears from their eyes as Hicks appeared from behind a glass panel in the courtroom's inmate holding area.
Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office detective Jeff Beatty was the state's only witness at the bond hearing. He was one of the first deputies to respond to the McLin Road address where Hutchinson ultimately died, about 470 feet down the road from the home she once shared with Hicks.
A friend and coworker, Jo Hano,has previously said she believed Hutchinson and Hicks had recently broken up, and that Hutchinson was going to the McLin Road home that day to get some belongings.
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Beatty didn't testify to that element, but said the initial investigation by the Sheriff's Office shows Hicks shot Hutchinson at his home, then followed her down the street as she knocked on doors trying to get help.
One homeowner answered the door, but asked Hutchinson to stay in the carport area while he called 911, and it was during that time that Hicks shot the victim twice more, killing her, according to Beatty.
The detective told the court that Hicks claimed in an initial statement that Hutchinson pulled a gun on him, and that he slapped it away and shot her, then followed her down the street and shot her again.
But, Beatty said there was no evidence of Hutchinson ever being armed during the encounter.
In arguing to keep Hicks locked up without bond, Assistant District Attorney Serena Birch entered three items from the suspect's criminal history — a Tennessee assault with intent to murder charge from the 1970s, and two LPSO disturbance calls to Hicks' home in the last five years, one of which involved him reportedly pulled a firearm on his son.
Hicks' public defender objected to those entries, saying Hicks was not convicted of the 1970s charge and there were no arrests during the two disturbance calls.
Judge Burris overruled the defense lawyer's objections and accepted the history, adding that he believes Hicks presents a danger to the public and should be kept in custody without bond.
He noted that at least two key witnesses to the shooting are neighbors and within close proximity to where Hicks would stay if released.
Many of the family members in the courtroom Monday breathed a collective sigh when the judge announced his ruling. Hicks' next court date has not yet been set.