Laurent’s attorney wants off the case

The defense attorney for accused murderer Leo Lucas Laurent said Monday he wants to be taken off of the case because Laurent has intentionally tried to “sabotage” his own defense and has not been cooperative in preparing for trial.

Attorney Brian Alexander filed a two-part motion in circuit court Monday morning.

The first part of the motion asked the state to conduct a competency hearing on Laurent and the second part requested that Alexander no longer represent him.

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

When Laurent was charged with murder in January 2008 he gave statements to law-enforcement regarding his involvement in the case.

Alexander said he had sought to have those statements suppressed in pre-trial motions.

Laurent, however, apparently sent a letter to Anita Stroud–Brandi Laurent’s mother–in January, outlining many of the same things Laurent had told police, Alexander said.

Stroud then forwarded the letter to the district attorney’s office and Alexander said he did not learn of the letter until he noticed it in discovery evidence.

Alexander said Laurent has had an “emotional disconnect” regarding his murder charge, has resisted discussing trial strategy, and failed to stop communicating with the victim’s family despite advice otherwise.

Alexander said sending the letter to the mother of the murder victim “defies all logic” and shows an “irrational disconnect” that his client has with the case.

“The letter contains verbiage which might tend to implicate him (Laurent) in the crime for which he is charged and could undermine his defense at trial to such a degree as to evince a fundamental lack of understanding by him of the potential legal ramifications,” Alexander said. “I believe Mr. Laurent’s behavior raises sufficient doubt as to his mental ability to stand trial.”

Alexander said it is not the first time Laurent’s inability to keep quiet has gotten him in trouble.

Although Laurent was considered a suspect when the murder investigation began, it took law enforcement nearly five months to charge him.

After the disappearance of his wife in August 2007 and up until her body was found 100 days later, Laurent was frequently giving interviews with media about the case and even criticized police for not solving it.

He made claims that he had been shot at by Brandi’s killers at a youth soccer game and that he had been shot at while walking on the beach in Waveland.

Nobody ever corroborated the soccer game shooting and Laurent later pleaded guilty to creating a hoax with the Waveland shooting.

“Put in simpler terms, his imprudent tongue had seen to it that he was behind bars,” Alexander said. “He may have possibly even found a perverse pleasure in the notoriety associated with his case.”

The trial is scheduled to begin April 19 in Hattiesburg.

The case was moved to Forrest County after Alexander successfully won a change of venue motion in October.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark is expected to hear the latest motion and decide if Alexander can be excused from the case, and if Laurent is entitled to a psychological evaluation.

Laurent is still in the Pearl River County jail under $1 million bond.

BY Dwayne Bremer

The Sea Coast Echo


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