The lives of two women were changed forever in 2007 when Trucko Stampley gunned down their closest family members.
Desiree Pedescleaux said Thursday at a crime victims recognition ceremony that her immediate family was taken from her within a split second when Stampley killed her mother, Marie Pedescleaux, and her only sister, Denise Pedescleaux.
The mother and daughter were found shot to death April 25, 2007, in their Crown Avenue home in Glen Oaks. Two days later, husband and wife Charles and Ann Colvin were discovered fatally shot in their Thibodeaux Avenue residence in Goodwood Estates.
Stampley, who was 19 at the time of the shootings, was convicted Feb. 3 on four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths. On April 19, State District Judge Bonnie Jackson sentenced Stampley to life in prison.
The Colvins’ daughter, Susan Colvin, said Thursday she still has a tough time believing what happened to her parents.
“It’s hard, it’s not fair and it hurts,” she said, adding there are still times when she believes the reality of her situation hasn’t sunk in.
Desiree Pedescleaux agreed and said she still struggles with how her mother and sister died.
“Their last minutes on earth were filled with fear and violence,” she said. “No one was there for them.”
Both women, however, said their faith in the justice system never wavered, and neither one of them is disappointed that prosecutors did not seek the death penalty against Stampley.
With family members of the victims present, East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors announced last fall that the death penalty was being taken off the table so the case could be brought to trial more quickly.
“The only thing the death penalty does is prolong the agony for the (victim’s) family,” said Susan Colvin, who lives in Birmingham, Ala. “I don’t want to have to come back to Baton Rouge for Trucko Stampley.”
Desiree Pedescleaux, a political science professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, said she wants to move on and focus on how her parents lived, not on how they died.
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said at Thursday’s event, hosted by area law enforcement and held on the 11th floor of the 19th Judicial District Courthouse downtown, that law enforcement shares the pain and grief of people such as Susan Colvin and Desiree Pedescleaux.
“We are aware that nothing in the world will undo the crimes that have been committed,” he said. “However, we are dedicated to providing services for victims and to fighting for victims’ rights.”
Baton Rouge Police Lt. Todd Lee said police are working hard to try and decrease the number of crime victims in Baton Rouge. The battle, he said, is manageable since there are a lot more people in the capital city who want to live peacefully than those who want to cause trouble.
“We’ve got the tools,” he said of the Police Department. “But, we need the community to join us and help us in this fight.”
To try and win that support, Lee said supervisors in each of the department’s four districts will soon be holding monthly meetings with area residents to discuss various topics related to crime.
“The community must get involved,” he said.