Joel Bailey guilty of First Degree Murder

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - Joel Bailey suffers from schizophrenia-- but it didn't stop a jury from finding him guilty as charged of first degree murder of his father and attempted first degree murder of his mother.

The verdict was announced in State District Court in DeRidder about 3:15 p.m.

Thirty six year old Joel Bailey expressed no emotion as he was led by sheriff's deputies from the courthouse just having heard the verdict against him: Guilty as charged of First Degree Murder of his father Eugene and guilty of the attempted First Degree Murder of his mother Dorothy-- it was a verdict that came after the jury of nine women and three men deliberated for three hours.

In his closing arguments Assistant District Attorney Ritchie Blankenship told jurors Bailey was angry at his parents and that that was the family's little secret.  "He made a statement that his life was miserable. That he hated his existence and I guess you take it out on your mom and dad when those things happen. I don't know why. Joel was mad at his parents, got a gun, shot his dad in the head, shot his mom in the face. That's what I know."

The defense had produced two experts who believed that Joel Bailey was insane when he shot his parents. But the jury apparently didn't buy it. That is even though Bailey has schizophrenia jurors must have believed he knew right from wrong when he fired the shots. Explains Blankenship, "He ran, he hid, he expressed fear of retribution from his family, he left town, he told the police officers, the sheriff's officers when he got back he knew what he had done was wrong. It was full of evidence that he knew what he did was wrong."

A poll of jurors in open court revealed the verdict was not unanimous but 10-2 finding Joel Bailey guilty as charged. Defense attorneys and family members did not wish to be interviewed.

The mandatory sentence for Bailey will be life in prison on the murder charge. Formal sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13th.