LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The man convicted of first degree murder in the brutal killing of Linda Moore has been sentenced following a move seeking a new trial for Roman Lastrapes. Moore was murdered on a cold day in January 2010...
Eight years later, Lastrapes was convicted.. During the trial he admitted giving her a rock of crack cocaine in exchange for sex the day before she died, but denied killing her.
Defense attorney Richard White says he believes Lastrapes is truthful.
"It's my job to believe in my client and I did, I believe in his innocence and I still do to this day. And I don't think the fight is over. I think this will continue int he courts of appeal," said White.
White says he asked for a new trial because the original attorney on the case Robert Shelton died. White says it forced him to have a trial by judge, instead of a jury, to which White says he would never agree.
"We were stuck trying a case using a strategy that we would never have embraced and one that we even defined. We couldn't ascertain exactly what he had in mind, what advantage he thought he might have gained by waiving a jury. And I thought that put us at a disadvantage," said White.
"Basically there was a strategy formulated by Robert Shelton and it perished with him," he said.
As well White says the circumstances caused Lastrapes to suffer ineffective legal representation.
"Look, if I"m going to pitch in a major league game, I'd rather start with a count zero to zero and not down three balls or whatever. I started out with a strategy that I never would have been comfortable with."
Still the judge denied the motion for a new trial and then heard tearful victim impact testimony from Moore's family members. they spoke of trauma and heartache they've gone through.
Judge Mike Canaday called the crime horrendous and with deliberate cruelty to the victim. Canaday says Lastrapes has never accepted responsibility or shown any remorse and he sentenced him to spend life in prison.
Moore's family members traveled from California for the sentencing but did not wish to talk on camera. Prosecutor Daniel Vermaelen was unavailable for an interview, but says he's confident the judge's ruling will stand up on appeal.