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David Bueso, 19

A 21-year-old Honduran man maintained his innocence in two languages Friday as a state judge sentenced him to life in prison in the 2017 bludgeoning death of his former roommate in the Gardere area of Baton Rouge.

David Bueso, who did not testify in February at his second-degree murder trial in the killing of Jhoel Tercero Brisuela, turned and spoke in Spanish to Brisuela's family and then told state District Judge Richard Anderson in English that he and Brisuela were the victims of an armed robbery inside Brisuela's Coy Avenue apartment.

“I’m a victim too,” Bueso said, adding that he didn’t murder his “best friend.” He said he now regrets not testifying in his own defense.

Anderson had noted moments earlier that Bueso told detectives where they could find the pants he was wearing the night Brisuela, 22, was killed, and Brisuela's blood was discovered on those jeans.

Kyla Blanchard-Romanach, one of Bueso’s appellate attorneys, said afterward she will ask the judge to reconsider the sentence.

Prosecutor Morgan Johnson objected during Bueso’s statement, saying Bueso was merely “antagonizing” Brisuela’s family with his remarks.

Johnson argued at Bueso’s trial that he killed Brisuela during a “cowardly ambush” while the victim slept on Aug. 5, 2017. She suggested Bueso murdered Brisuela in a dispute over money. Bueso was jobless while he roomed with Brisuela, a painter, and was supposed to pay half the rent, the prosecutor said.

Johnson also suggested to the jury that a 24-inch machete found in a bathroom next to a spray bottle of bleach was the murder weapon, but Bueso’s DNA was not discovered on the machete. Bueso’s DNA and Brisuela’s blood, however, were found on the bottle, she said.

Brisuela died of blunt-force trauma to the head. He suffered skull fractures and bruises of the brain. Bueso was the last person seen with the victim, Johnson said.

Less than two months after Bueso was found guilty by an East Baton Rouge Parish jury, it was revealed in another case that no one born after June 2, 1993, has ever had a chance at jury service in East Baton Rouge — or even received a summons — because their names didn't make it onto the parish's jury rolls due to a computer glitch.

In addition, anyone who has moved into the parish since 2011 has been left out.

Bueso's appellate attorneys were the first to challenge what the Louisiana Supreme Court on April 18 deemed to be an "improperly constituted" East Baton Rouge jury pool. His lawyers are asking for a new trial. Anderson denied that request April 26. An appeal is being filed at a state appellate court.

Jury trials that have been on hold in East Baton Rouge since mid-April will resume next week now that the parish's jury pool has been updated, 19th Judicial District Court administrators have said.


Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.