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Execution today will be first in Louisiana since 2002

Posted on Jan 7, 2010 in Courts, Local Issues

By The Associated Press January 07, 2010, 6:50AM Louisiana will conduct its first execution since 2002 when convicted killer Gerald Bordelon is put to death today by injection for murdering his 12-year-old stepdaughter. State prison officials say they don't expect any last-minute disruption to the execution plans at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Bordelon waived his right to appeal his death sentence, and his lawyer has pushed to proceed on schedule. "He's expressed no intention to stop it whatsoever and has told me in no uncertain terms to oppose any attempts by anyone else to stop his execution," said attorney Jill Craft. Bordelon, 47, a convicted sex offender out on parole, strangled Courtney LeBlanc after kidnapping her from her Livingston Parish home at knifepoint and forcing her to perform oral sex on him. LeBlanc disappeared on Nov. 15, 2002, and was found 11 days later when Bordelon led police to her body in a wooded area by the Amite River in Livingston Parish, about 20 miles from Baton Rouge. He gave a taped confession and was convicted of the murder in 2006. He is scheduled to be executed between 6 and 9 p.m. Craft said that Bordelon will meet this morning with his mother, sisters and other family members, who won't be present for the execution. He has asked Craft to read a statement after his death. LeBlanc family members are expected to be among the execution's witnesses, which also will include the prison warden, the coroner, a doctor, three media representatives and a minister if Bordelon requests one. Other inmates have been on death row for more years than Bordelon but still remain in court disputes over their cases. Bordelon refused to appeal his death sentence. Craft said Bordelon is the first person in Louisiana to successfully waive a death sentence appeal since the death penalty was reinstated in the state. "He has told me repeatedly that he made that decision because he has a right to an appeal and he has a right not to appeal. He felt very strongly about the issue. He spent greater than half his life in prison for rape. He admits freely that he's guilty of killing Courtney and the sex crimes he was accused of and accepts the punishment from the state of Louisiana," Craft said. Gov. Bobby Jindal said he has no plans to intervene. "In Louisiana, as across this country, the death penalty is reserved for only the most heinous, the most violent, the most atrocious crimes. I think justice will be done Thursday night," Jindal said. In his videotaped confession, Bordelon said he abducted LeBlanc from his estranged wife's trailer with a knife he grabbed from the kitchen, took her by car to Mississippi, where he forced her to have oral sex, then drove her back to Louisiana and strangled her. When LeBlanc's body was found, she was wearing only a pair of shorts and one tennis shoe. "I took Courtney and told her if she screamed or hollered or tried to get away, I was going to kill her," Bordelon said on the tape, which was played to jurors at his trial. According to court documents, Bordelon had two prior felony convictions for sexual assault in 1982 and 1990 and was sent to psychiatric treatment in 1979 after being accused of rape and kidnapping. He pleaded guilty to sexual battery in 1982, and he was convicted of rape and two counts of crimes against nature in 1990. He was out on parole when he met LeBlanc's mother, Jennifer Kocke, over the Internet and married her a year later. They separated after LeBlanc and her sister told their mother that Bordelon touched them inappropriately, but Kocke remained in contact with Bordelon after the split, according to documents filed with the state Supreme Court. Louisiana Parole Board officials said an officer spoke with Kocke before the marriage, notifying her that Bordelon was a convicted sex offender. Kocke was convicted of child abuse by a Mississippi jury for failing to keep Bordelon away from her children. Kocke received a suspended five-year sentence, with five years of probation. The documents say that when LeBlanc asked to waive his appeal, he said he would "commit the same crime again if ever given the chance." Eighty-three other people are on death row in Louisiana -- 81 men and two women, according to the state Department of Corrections. No other executions have been scheduled. The last person executed in Louisiana was Leslie Dale Martin, convicted of raping and killing a 19-year-old college student in 1991. Martin was put to death in May 2002.

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