Jury finds woman guilty of manslaughter for mother's death - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Jury finds woman guilty of manslaughter for mother's death

Joleslie Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Joleslie Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Lauren Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office) Lauren Looney (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A jury found a woman guilty in the 2014 death of her elderly mother. 

The jury found Joleslie Looney, 56, of Baton Rouge, guilty of manslaughter. Her sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 10, 2018. 

Judge Mike Erwin presided over the trial.

Looney was found guilty of manslaughter of her mother, Bessie Looney, 82, who was found dead in September of 2014 in what investigators described as "horrid conditions."

East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Dr. William Clark said Bessie Looney died from a blood infection caused by untreated bed sores.

Court began Thursday morning with an emotional 911 call played for a jury made up of 11 women and one man. The caller was the defendant, Joleslie Looney. In the audiotape, she could be heard saying, “My mother is dead.” That audio was followed by gruesome images of the victim’s body that showed her injuries.

The state then called Dr. Clark to the stand as an expert witness in Emergency Medicine. Clark stated that while he didn’t conduct the autopsy, he is the final decision maker in the cause and manner of death based on the results. The autopsy was conducted by the deputy coroner, who is a forensic pathologist.

Clark said the autopsy revealed the victim was malnourished and considered emaciated, weighing only 82 pounds with a body mass index of 13.6. It was revealed in court the victim suffered from several illnesses, including vascular dementia, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. The coroner testified that toxicology results tested negative for any drugs in the victim’s system, indicating she wasn’t being treated. Clark said she was also dehydrated.

Despite those issues, Clark ruled Looney’s death as a homicide. He said the cause of death was septic shock due to infected pressure sores. Septic shock can cause the body to slowly shut down. Clark said the victim had an overwhelming bacterial infection in the sores on her hips, arms, and feet. He said the bacteria found in her sores are most commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Clark said pressure sores form when someone is immobile and in the same position for long periods of time.

Perhaps the most shocking part of Clark’s testimony was that septic shock is treatable if caught in time. He said if the victim had been treated by a physician, she could have possibly lived.

The defense also called two witnesses to testify on behalf of Joleslie Looney. Both witnesses stated they had known the defendant for several years, describing her as someone who cared deeply for her mother. One witness testified that her close friendship with the defendant formed when both were employees for the City of Baton Rouge. The witnesses testified that Looney, at the time, was a “loyal employee," and single mother who was just a "regular, ordinary person trying to make a life for her child."

The second witness stated she knew the elderly victim as well as the defendant. She said the last time she saw the victim, around March of 2014, she was using a walker and seemed a little weak, but was coherent.

Both witnesses said the defendant was dealing with a lot of stress from work and would enter a state of depression when she took on a task she couldn't handle. When asked by the state why the defendant might not have asked for help to care for her ailing mother, one witness stated she "had a problem asking for help."

The victim’s granddaughter, Lauren Looney, 21, is also charged with manslaughter. Her bench trial before Erwin is scheduled to begin on March 19.

RELATED STORIES:

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Veteran sues New Orleans VA Office saying his rights violated concerning benefits

    Veteran sues New Orleans VA Office saying his rights violated concerning benefits

    Friday, August 17 2018 9:02 PM EDT2018-08-18 01:02:04 GMT

    George Jackson is a navy combat veteran from the Vietnam war.  he's bedridden since a fall fourteen years ago... "I cannot walk around.  I can feed myself, and basically that's the extent of what I can do.  I can brush my teeth.  Other than that I get help from my wife to do everything else that I need to do." Jackson explains, his disability became so  severe because of injuries  stemming from his SERVICE. "I didn't have the problem befo...

    More >>

    George Jackson is a navy combat veteran from the Vietnam war.  he's bedridden since a fall fourteen years ago... "I cannot walk around.  I can feed myself, and basically that's the extent of what I can do.  I can brush my teeth.  Other than that I get help from my wife to do everything else that I need to do." Jackson explains, his disability became so  severe because of injuries  stemming from his SERVICE. "I didn't have the problem befo...

    More >>
  • Topsy homicide suspect found

    Topsy homicide suspect found

    Friday, August 17 2018 8:34 PM EDT2018-08-18 00:34:46 GMT
    Jeff Davis authorities are investigating a homicide on Ieyoub Road in Topsy. (Source: KPLC)Jeff Davis authorities are investigating a homicide on Ieyoub Road in Topsy. (Source: KPLC)

    The search for the suspect in last Friday's homicide in Topsy has been found. Authorities in Beaumont, Texas spotted a vehicle suspected to be driven by the suspect, David Wade Clark. After being spotted, Clark lead Jefferson Country Sheriff's deputies on a pursuit through a neighborhood. Clark was traveling with a man named Michael Castille from Lake Charles, who had been helping Clark in his travels. The two were able to escape the authorities and abandon the vehicle at a sma...

    More >>

    The search for the suspect in last Friday's homicide in Topsy has been found. Authorities in Beaumont, Texas spotted a vehicle suspected to be driven by the suspect, David Wade Clark. After being spotted, Clark lead Jefferson Country Sheriff's deputies on a pursuit through a neighborhood. Clark was traveling with a man named Michael Castille from Lake Charles, who had been helping Clark in his travels. The two were able to escape the authorities and abandon the vehicle at a sma...

    More >>
  • Too much crime, say people living at Lake Charles apartment complex

    Too much crime, say people living at Lake Charles apartment complex

    Friday, August 17 2018 7:50 PM EDT2018-08-17 23:50:48 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    People who live inside the Place Vendome apartment complex where a man was shot Thursday night say the violence must stop. "They're always talking about guns back here, they're always talking about something crazy," said residents Ashley & Ivy Lee. "Normally stuff like this is just shots..random people playing around just doing stuff like that, this is one where somebody actually got hurt and someone we know," said Ashley. Right now few detail...

    More >>

    People who live inside the Place Vendome apartment complex where a man was shot Thursday night say the violence must stop. "They're always talking about guns back here, they're always talking about something crazy," said residents Ashley & Ivy Lee. "Normally stuff like this is just shots..random people playing around just doing stuff like that, this is one where somebody actually got hurt and someone we know," said Ashley. Right now few detail...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly