Laurent trial set April 19 in Forrest Co.

The murder trial of Leo Lucas Laurent will be held on April 19 in the circuit court of Forrest County in Hattiesburg, court officials said this week.

The case was originally set for trial in January, but Laurent’s attorney Brian Alexander filed a continuance motion two weeks before the trial was set to begin.

The motion was granted by Judge Roger Clark and the case was reset for April 19, which fell under the court term of Judge Larry Bourgeois.

The case has been reassigned to Clark and the venue will remain in Hattiesburg.

It was moved to Hattiesburg last October after Alexander succesfully argued that the case had received heavy media attention in South Mississippi.

Alexander said he believed his client could not get a fair trial locally because of the media coverage.

Laurent, 32, is accused of killing his wife Brandi Hawkins Laurent, in August 2007 at the couple’s Fenton home.

Her body was found 100 days later when a Texas-based search group discovered her remains in a shallow grave about a mile from the Laurents’ home.

After the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Brandi’s body, Laurent made numerous claims and gave several statements to the press indicating that he was not responsible for his wife’s death, but he knew who was.

In December 2007 he claimed that two people who were responsible for his wife’s death shot at him while he was walking on the beach in Waveland.

Police charged him with faking the incident and he later pled guilty to the hoax.

He was charged with murder in January 2008 by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and he has remained in custody ever since.

Investigators said Laurent told them that he killed Brandi during a domestic dispute, loaded her body in a trash can, loaded her in the back of a vehicle, and then buried her in a shallow grave, all in view of the couple’s toddler.

Since his incarceration, Laurent has attended the state’s Regimented Discipline Program for an unrelated embezzlement conviction in Pearl River County.

If convicted of murder, Laurent faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

BY: Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo

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