Ronald Dominique sentenced to eight life sentences

Ronald Dominique sentenced to eight life sentences - The Bayou Blue serial killer suspected of raping and strangling as many 23 south Louisiana men over a 10-year period was sentenced to serve eight consecutive life terms in prison today after pleading guilty to eight murders in Terrebonne.
Ronald Joseph Dominique, 44, shackled and clad in white prison uniform, hung his head and mumbled into a microphone as he admitted the murders before

District Judge Randall Bethancourt in a courtroom filled with police, lawyers and family members of his eight victims.

In return, prosecutors in Terrebonne agreed to not seek the death penalty, though Dominique could still face execution if he is prosecuted in St. Charles, Lafourche or Orleans, the other parishes where he is suspected of murder. Ronald Dominique from the Bayou Blue area of Louisiana,

Terrebonne District Attorney Joe Waitz Jr. said Dominique has yet to be indicted in another parish.

The arrangement between Dominque’s lawyers and prosecutors came after months of discussions with the families of the victims, according to Mark Rhodes, the assistant district attorney who handled the case.

“Everybody was in agreement,” Rhodes said. “There was no dissent.”

The guilty plea will ensure Dominique no longer poses a threat to society and save the families of his victims from enduring what could be more than a decade of death penalty proceeding and appeals, Rhodes said.

Arrested in December of 2006, Dominique was originally indicted for nine killings in Terrebonne. The District Attorney's Office opted not to prosecute Dominique for the murder of Kenneth Randolph because it is believed to have occurred in another parish, though his body was found in Terrebonne, Rhodes said.

Asked if he wished to make a statement prior to sentencing, Dominique, a balding, stocky man not more than 5-feet-4 inches tall, declined with a soft “No sir.” Ronald Dominique in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Ronald Dominique killed 23 men,

Relatives of the Terrebonne victims – Michael Barnett, Leon Lirette, August Watkins, Kurt Cunningham, Alonzo Hogan, Chris Deville, Wayne Smith and Nicholas Pellegrin – packed the courtroom Monday.

A handful gave wrenching victim statements prior to the sentencing.

Shaking so hard she could barely speak, Jodie LeBouef, Pellegrin’s sister, regretted a falling out with her brother five months before he was murdered.

“We will never get to speak to him and tell him how much we love him and missed him,” she said.

Chris Cunningham, brother of Kurt Cunningham, said his brother would never have a chance to have a child or grow old.

“He didn’t deserve to die the way he did,” Cunningham said. “Any punishment given to this man will never compare to the horrible death he gave my brother.”

“I’ll miss him to the day I die,” he added, looking across the room to Dominique. “I hope hell finds you fast.”

Other relatives wondered why their loved ones were selected, largely at random, by Dominique, who picked up men off the side of the road or other places, propositioning them himself or luring them into his car with the promise of drugs or sex with a fictitious woman, police have said.

Dominique raped the men if they allowed themselves to be tied up, then suffocated or strangled them before dumping their bodies, which were found in cane fields and near remote bayous across a swath that stretched from New Orleans to Iberia Parish.

“The nature of what he did, and how he left my brother’s body in a cane field for rodents to eat at him,” said Cynthia Barabin, sister of Chris Deville. “When we found him he was nothing. Nothing … We had to bury bones.”

After they spoke, reporters and others were ushered from the courtroom. A group of Dominique’s family members were allowed to speak privately to the victim’s family members.

“I know what he did was wrong and I apologized to the families,” said his sister as she left the courthouse in tears. She refused to give her name.

Rhodes, who was present when the family spoke, declined to characterize her sister’s words.

“I found her to be magnanimous and genuine,” he said.