Lisa Rabalais’ attorney moves for acquittal in Ray Lachney death case
Lisa Rabalais should have been found not guilty due to insufficient evidence to convict her of being an accessory after the fact to the 2015 felony homicide of Ray Paul Lachney, defense attorney Chad Guillot states in a motion seeking a “post-verdict judgment of acquittal.”
The motion was filed in 12th Judicial District Court last Friday (Sept. 20), two days after Rabalais was found guilty by a jury at the end of a two-day trial.
A hearing on the motion will be held before Judge William Bennett on Oct. 8.
Rabalais was released on $100,000 property bond while she awaits sentencing on Nov. 12.
Lachney went missing in July 2015. His decomposed body was found in January 2016 along the railroad track in Mansura. Rabalais was arrested in 2018 after she reportedly told people about Lachney’s death.
FAILED TO PROVE CASE
In his motion, Guillot argues the state did not prove all aspects of the case it had to prove to convict his client.
Those elements include evidence that the alleged principal, Andrew Bordelon, committed a homicide; that Rabalais harbored, concealed or aided Bordelon; that Rabalais knew or had reason to believe Bordelon committed an intentional homicide; and that she harbored, concealed or aided Bordelon to avoid his arrest, trial, conviction or punishment.
“Based on the evidence submitted at trial, it is apparent the state has fallen woefully short of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Andrew Bordelon committed an intentional homicide against Ray Paul Lachney,” Guillot said in the motion.
Guillot said there is no direct evidence that Bordelon committed a homicide.
The line of reasoning is that if Bordelon did not commit the homicide, Rabalais could not have known about the homicide and intentionally concealed evidence of the crime.
Guillot said the physical evidence that has been presented argues against homicide in that there were no wounds on Lachney’s remains.
He cited a December 2018 1st Circuit Appeals Court ruling that “to convict a defendant of being an accessory after the fact, it is necessary to prove the guilt of the principal beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Guillot said the evidence against his client consisted of two witnesses who said she told them that Bordelon killed Lachney.
Rabalais never told law enforcement officials that, which is the basis for the accessory charge.
‘NO DIRECT EVIDENCE’
Guillot said the “entirety of the facts tending to prove that Andrew Bordelon committed an intentional homicide against Ray Paul Lachney is circumstantial -- no direct evidence of an intentional homicide.”
The defense attorney also alleges in the motion that “because this case deals with an intentional homicide where the cause of death of the victim is undetermined, there is no murder weapon, there are no perimortem (at or near the time of death) wounds on the victim’s remains and the only evidence tending to prove that intentional homicide took place is the uncorroborated testimony of two witnesses who testified that the defendant told them certain things about the alleged homicide, the defendant should have been found not guilty.”
Guillot also contends “other reasonable hypotheses of innocence were introduced at trial that were not disproven.” Those alternate theories on Lachney’s cause of death include suicide, homicide by someone other than Bordelon, being hit by a vehicle, accidental death from a fall and natural causes such as heart attack.
“Because this element -- the element of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Andrew Bordelon committed an intentional homicide against Ray Paul Lachney -- has not been met, then the accessory after the fact conviction against Lisa Rabalais should be vacated and set aside and a judgment of acquittal be entered in this matter,” Guillot stated in the motion.