Alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe will be retried next summer in Clinton in the October 2017 shooting death of a Boy Scout leader, and then stand trial next fall in Baton Rouge in the fatal September 2017 shooting of a former BREC commissioner.

An East Feliciana Parish jury voted 11-1 last December to convict Sharpe of first-degree murder in the killing of Brad DeFranceschi outside his home on the Avondale Scout Reservation on La. 63, but a judge threw out the conviction in June after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed non-unanimous jury decisions two months earlier.

Sharpe's attorney, Tommy Damico, told an East Baton Rouge Parish judge on Friday that Sharpe's retrial in East Feliciana Parish has been scheduled for Aug. 30.

State District Judge Tiffany Foxworth, of Baton Rouge, then set Sharpe's second-degree murder trial in the slaying of BREC Commissioner Carroll Breeden Sr., 66, for Oct. 18.

"I'm looking for not guilty by reason of insanity" at both trials, Damico said after court. "He did not know right from wrong. There's no doubt about that."

Damico noted that the lone dissenting juror in the jury's 11-1 vote last December voted for not guilty by reason of insanity.

Doctors who examined Sharpe reported he was not insane at the time of the shootings. Sharpe was declared competent to stand trial by judges in East Baton Rouge and East Feliciana.

Sharpe, 39, also is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal July 2017 shooting of Tommy Bass, 62, outside his residence on La. 960 in East Feliciana, and attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 wounding of Buck Hornsby outside his residence close to La. 63.

Hornsby was shot a week before Breeden was killed.

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Sharpe faces a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole in his pending homicide cases.

Though Sharpe's trial a year ago in Clinton concerned the death of DeFranceschi, 48, prosecutors were allowed to present evidence linking Sharpe to the other shootings.

The killings happened within a seven-mile radius of Sharpe's home near Clinton and put the Bluff Creek area on edge for months when authorities warned the public the shootings may have been related.

Authorities said Sharpe circled the victims' homes and would leave his phone at home so investigators couldn’t track it.

Following his arrest, Sharpe told investigators the government ordered him to fill a certain amount of "tags" by shooting the men. In a taped interview that was presented at his trial, he told officials it was as part of a "big federal operation."

Several psychiatrists examined Sharpe but raised doubts he had a mental illness or an affliction that would impact his memory.

Sharpe pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, which put the onus on his defense team to convince jurors he was unable to tell right from wrong.

Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 ending non-unanimous jury convictions in major felony cases.

The jury in Sharpe's case was allowed to return a split decision because the killings happened before 2019 and prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty. Under the law in place then, after the panel reached more than 10 guilty votes, it no longer needed to deliberate.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.