CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Roman Lastrapes took the stand today to defend himself as his trial on a charge of First Degree Murder winds down. Lastrapes denies killing Linda Moore, though he admits giving her a rock of crack cocaine in exchange for sex the day before she died.
Defense Attorney Richard White says he's convinced Lastrapes is telling the truth.
"I have had Roman subject himself to my cross-examination twice, and I can't poke any substantive holes in the story. I believe him. I believe he's being absolutely truthful."
Lastrapes started crying at one point, saying he had seen pictures of the victim and that it was sad. When police questioned Lastrapes about Moore he used extremely vulgar language which he says he now regrets.
"It was the first time he'd ever seen the graphic, color photos. So when they were brought to us and we were reviewing them during the trial, he was having trouble with them then. I believe that he had a momentary emotional collapse of sorts. He regathered himself quickly and I think it was utterly sincere," said White.
Lastrapes underwent vigorous cross-examination by prosecutor Daniel Vermaelen, who managed to bring out some inconsistencies between Lastrapes' testimony and previous statements to police.
Lastrapes also refuted testimony from the mother of his children about bloody clothing. He denies even owning a white jacket and shoes, let alone wearing them to her apartment with blood on them.
Lastrapes says if he did have blood on his clothes it was from a different time and his own blood after he got into a fight.
In this 11th hour, the defense is trying to locate one last witness.
"Her name is Tamika Francis. I expect her to testify that another person was involved in this crime," said White.
Moore died of blunt force trauma injuries to the head, according to the coroner.
Judge Mike Canaday is presiding over the bench trial and will decide whether Lastrapes is guilty.
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