A Pineville man was indicted Thursday in the September shooting death of a 33-year-old woman in rural East Baton Rouge Parish.

Steven Francisco Ortiz-Morales, 27, is charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 13 killing of Whitney Lane Durant, of Alexandria, in a home in the 15000 block of Pride-Port Hudson Road.

Detectives learned that in the hours before the shooting, Ortiz-Morales, Zebbie Berthelot and Durant were using drugs at the house where the homicide took place, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks has said.

Durant, a mother of three young children, struggled with addiction, her family said.

Berthelot and Durant had arrived together at the home, belonging to Berthelot’s brother, earlier in the week, Hicks said. That evening, Ortiz-Morales allegedly became highly paranoid, she said, prompting Berthelot to warn his brother and his girlfriend to avoid the house because of Ortiz-Morales’ erratic behavior.

When the brother returned later, ignoring Berthelot’s warnings, he found only Durant's body. Both Berthelot and Ortiz-Morales had fled.

Ortiz-Morales, who was later taken into custody, admitted to killing Durant, Hicks said.

Berthelot, 43, of Pride, admitted to being present when Ortiz-Morales shot Durant. He was arrested but has not been formally charged in the case.

Ortiz-Morales' case is assigned to state District Judge Kelly Balfour.

Berthelot was convicted of manslaughter for his role in the 1992 carjacking and slaying of LSU freshman Kipp Earl Gullett. Berthelot, who was not the shooter in that case, was sentenced to 20 years and was paroled in 2002.

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