Kenneth Gleason, a suspected Baton Rouge serial killer accused of fatally shooting two men nearly three years ago, has been scheduled for a trial next spring, and a woman who had three children with one of the victims said it's about time.

"I'm just ready for this court date to get on. I'll be waiting for it," Lakisa Flowers said Thursday in a telephone interview shortly after state District Judge Beau Higginbotham set an April 5 trial date for Gleason in the September 2017 slaying of Donald Smart and Bruce Cofield.

Flowers is the mother of Smart's three children and was his partner.

Higginbotham ruled Thursday that Gleason, who is White, was sane when he allegedly shot Smart and Cofield, two Black men, to death and fired into the home of a Black family in three separate September 2017 incidents.

The judge, based on the reports of two doctors who examined Gleason, also determined that Gleason is competent to stand trial.

"I will be there," an insistent Flowers said. "It's been a long journey."

Gleason, 26, is charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 12, 2017, killing of Cofield and first-degree murder in the Sept. 14, 2017, slaying of Smart.

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Gleason also is charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder stemming from a Sept. 11, 2017, incident in which he allegedly fired several shots into the home of the only Black family on the Sandy Ridge Drive block where he lived with his parents. Two men were inside but not injured.

Authorities have said the three nighttime shootings were apparently random and possibly racially motivated.

Cofield, 59, was shot as he sat at a bus stop on Florida Street near South Acadian Thruway. Smart, 49, was killed at the Alaska Street BREC park while walking to his overnight shift at Louie's Cafe.

Gleason is linked to Cofield's killing and the nonfatal shooting through DNA evidence, and to both fatal shootings and the nonfatal incident through ballistics evidence, authorities have said.

Prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty after consulting with Smart's family.

Gleason would be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty of first-degree murder. Second-degree murder also carries a penalty of life imprisonment.


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