Lorilei Guillory: Mercy over revenge

Published: May. 15, 2018 at 7:57 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2018 at 9:25 AM CDT
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IOWA, LA (KPLC) - The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeal has reversed the second-degree murder conviction of admitted child killer and pedophile Ricky Langley.

Langley has been convicted three times of murdering a 6-year-old boy, Jeremy Guillory, near Iowa in 1992.

Jeremy's mother, Lorilei Guillory, argued against the death penalty for Langley during the trial, and her story was written into a play.

Lorilei: A Mediation on Loss, shows that after meeting Ricky Langley face-to-face at the parish jail in Lake Charles, Lorilei made the decision to testify and fight for Langley. She believed the man who took her child's life was insane, and because of that, he should not go to prison at all nor face the death penalty.

Langley's own lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, had this to say about him in an online article from 2015:

"Ricky was – and indeed still is – one of the most profoundly schizophrenic people I have ever known."

Smith and Lorilei believed that Langley's misfortune began before his conception and that his background contributed to his insanity.

During the play, Lorilei finds out about a car crash Langley's family was in that claimed the life of his five-year-old brother before Langley was born. The crash left Langley's mother, Bessie Mae, badly injured and in a full body cast. It was during this time that Ricky was conceived. Doctors continued to treat Bessie Mae for her injuries with narcotics and exposure to X-ray exams. They did not catch the pregnancy until she was five months along.

Doctors advised Bessie Mae to terminate the pregnancy but her husband refused. Langley grew up in a home of abuse and had an obsession with his dead brother.

According to Smith, Langley was an intelligent man who understood his pedophilia and mental illness enough to hate himself for it. Langley signed a document requesting to be permanently placed in a mental facility where tests could be run on him, and his behaviors could be studied and treated.

During the trial, Lorilei was asked if she believed Ricky Langley was mentally ill when he killed her son Jeremy. Her response shocked the courtroom:

"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I think that Ricky Langley has been crying out for help since the day he was born and, for whatever reason, his family, society and the legal system has never listened to him. As I sit on this witness chair, I can hear the death throes of my child, but at the same time I can hear that man crying out for help and yes, I think he was mentally ill when he did it."

Lorilei faced opposition and retaliation for appearing for the defense at Langley's 2004 retrial. The District Attorney's Office allegedly tried to have her second child taken from her, claiming she was an unfit mother because she was arguing against the death penalty for Langley.

The play depicts how the death of Jeremy impacted his mother; from her quest for revenge in the beginning, her suicide attempts, and her drug and alcohol abuse, to her compassion and mercy for Langley in the end.

Lorilei has remained adamant that she cannot forgive Ricky Langley, but she did not want to see him executed or incarcerated.

No word yet on if and when Langley will be released from Angola. Langley, who was 26 years old at the time of the crime, confessed to killing 6-year-old Jeremy Guillory. The Calcasieu District Attorney's Office is planning an appeal and has pledged to make sure he is never released including "seeking review at the United States Supreme Court and prosecuting him for every viable crime arising from his heinous acts."

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