Investigators have matched bullets from two fatal shootings to a rifle found inside the home of alleged East Feliciana serial killer Ryan Sharpe, who was arrested last week in those two shootings and two others that have occurred in the Clinton area since July, according to an arrest warrant filed Wednesday by the East Feliciana Sheriff's Office.
An analysis by the Louisiana State Police crime lab determined that bullets from the killings of Carroll Breeden, 66, and Brad DeFranceschi, 48, were fired from the rifle, the warrant says. Investigators had previously matched the bullets themselves but had not yet announced their connection to a particular weapon.
Officials said in the warrant that Sharpe confessed to killing Breeden and DeFranceschi in addition to Thomas Bass. He also confessed to shooting 47-year-old Buck Hornsby, who was wounded but survived. All four men were shot outside during the day within 25 miles of each other — two while doing yard work in front of their houses.
“It should be noted that Sharpe gave further accounts about all four shootings in great detail and gave information that would only have been known by investigators or to the person who actually committed the (crimes),” the warrant says.
Investigators also found at least one shotgun inside Sharpe’s home, according to the warrant. Both Bass and Hornsby were shot with a shotgun, the warrant states, while Breeden and DeFranceschi were shot with a rifle.
On the day law enforcement arrested Sharpe and booked him into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, officials reported having “significant” physical evidence linking Sharpe to all four crimes but declined to comment further on the exact nature of that material. They also said he had confessed but didn’t provide further details on his confession.
A source close to the investigation told The Advocate on Tuesday that Sharpe had called the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office himself to admit his role in the string of shootings, leading officials to identify him as a suspect.
According to the warrant filed Wednesday in East Feliciana, Sharpe admitted to shooting Hornsby and DeFranceschi from the road in a moving vehicle. According to a warrant filed last week by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, a witness to the Breeden murder reported seeing a car stopped in the road immediately after hearing gunshots.
Bass, 62, was found dead the morning of July 8, his body laying on the carport floor outside his La. 960 home. About two months later, Hornsby, 47, was shot while walking along the border of his property close to La. 63. One week after that, Breeden, 66, was killed while spraying weeds in his front yard on Port Hudson-Pride Road. Then DeFranceschi, 48, was fatally shot Oct. 9 while trimming weeds outside his house on the Avondale Scout Reservation, also near La. 63.
Sharpe had lived in Clinton for several years. While in his early 20s, he bought 6 acres of land on La. 959 where he built a house — not far from the homes of the men he is accused of killing. Sharpe was a plumber and owned his own plumbing company, often working within the Clinton community.
Officials have not provided a possible motive in the crimes, and family members of the victims have expressed confusion over why their loved ones were targeted, saying they don't know about connections to Sharpe. On Monday, 20th Judicial District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla announced that a grand jury scheduled for this week would be continued until November because investigators had received new information they believed could help them identify a motive.
Sharpe, 36, was being held without bail in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of first-degree murder, assault by drive-by shooting and illegal use of a firearm in the slaying of Breeden, who was shot outside his home in Pride right over the East Baton Rouge Parish line. The other three shootings occurred in East Feliciana Parish.
East Feliciana Sheriff's Office Chief Criminal Deputy Greg Phares said Sharpe was booked into East Feliciana Parish Jail early Wednesday on one count each of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, as written in the arrest warrant.
However, Phares said Sharpe will be transported back to East Baton Rouge Parish Prison later Wednesday, where he will again be held without bail.