The second-degree murder conviction of confessed child-killer Ricky Langley has been reversed by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Langley admitted to killing a 6-year-old boy and hiding the body in his closet in 1992.
The story of Langley captivated the community from the start. When 6-year-old Jeremy Guillory went missing, dozens of volunteers searched the rural area near Iowa - looking for the little boy who was believed to have gone into the woods to shoot his BB gun.
Ultimately Langley led investigators to his closet in an old house off U.S. 90, where he had hidden the body of the boy.
Then-FBI agent Don Dixon questioned Langley who was new to Southwest Louisiana from Georgia and a sex offender.
“He sat in the back seat, I gave him his Miranda rights," said Dixon, who went on to become Chief of Police in Lake Charles. "Then I said, ‘Did you hear about this missing boy?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I saw it on the news.’ I said, ‘Well we have the command post right by your house.’ He was sitting in the back seat and I said, ‘You killed that boy, didn’t you?’ He hung his head and I knew then. He said, ‘Yeah, I killed him.’ I said, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘He’s in my closet.’ ”
In one of several confessions, Langley gave a detailed description of how he made sure the little boy was dead.
“I wrapped that string around his neck and pulled as hard as I could on it,” Langley said during the 1992 confession tape. “That still wasn’t stopping him from trying to breathe so I stuffed an old dirty sock in his mouth and I held his nose to make sure he couldn’t get no air and to end it.”
Langley admitted he knew what he was doing was wrong.
Langley told a detective: “Yeah, I knew it was wrong but I never had control over it. It seems the harder I tried the worse it got."
In all, Langley was tried and convicted three times - yet each time, it was sent back by an appeal court.
Dixon and Rick Bryant, who prosecuted Langley twice, are outraged.
“I’m sick to my stomach, I’m angry," Bryant said. “I am frustrated with the criminal justice system that tries to reward criminal defendants for their actions. This case was meticulously tried in front of two juries and a judge. They all found him guilty.”
“He is a murdering pedophile, has a history of it and admits he will kill again," Dixon said. “He enjoyed it.”
The reversal by the 5th Circuit deals with the issue of double jeopardy. The ruling reads that since Langley was acquitted of first-degree murder in 2003, he cannot face trial on any charge that requires proof of specific intent to kill.
Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier thinks the court is wrong.
“They are saying we can’t charge him with anything that requires specific intent," DeRosier said. “And that is, in our estimation, not the law.”
Bryant agrees and calls the ruling atrocious.
"It seems to us that they went out of their way to find a reason to let Ricky Langley walk free and that disturbs me greatly," said Bryant.
DeRosier says they are determined to launch a successful appeal and make sure Langley never gets released.
"We are going to use every resource this office has, as long as it takes, as much as it costs, to keep this horrible killer, this murderer, in prison for the rest of his life," said DeRosier.
“Because this individual will kill again," DeRosier said. "He has said he will kill again. And we have people to whom he has said that.”
It was emotional for Dixon and Bryant back in 1992, 2003 and 2009, and again today.
“They don’t understand what evil they are attempting to put back on the streets of the United States," Bryant said. “This doesn’t just affect Louisiana. This could affect anywhere where this individual goes. They better be on alert because he is a dangerous individual and your children are at risk.”
“Later on in other interviews, he admitted he enjoyed it and he told me and Det. (Lucky) DeLouche if he ever got out he would kill again," Dixon said. "This is outrageous. This is unbelievable.”
Looking into the TV camera, Dixon spoke directly to Langley.
“And Ricky, listen to me you little piece of s***, 'til the day I die, I’ll be watching you,” Dixon said.