The 2010 murder of 50-year-old Beaumont man Darrell LaFleur remains unresolved after Judge Lane Walker of Jefferson County’s 252nd Criminal District Court declared a mistrial, calling the jurors “hopelessly deadlocked” at a 6-6 vote Wednesday, Oct. 9, more than three years after LaFleur’s body was found in a grassy lot by Beaumont police.
“It was split right down the middle,” said 86-year-old jury foreman Charles Moses after jurors had spent approximately eight hours deliberating and were still unable to reach a verdict. Moses explained that six members of the jury felt that with no witnesses, there was not enough evidence to convict the accused, 30-year-old Alfred Earl Durousseau of Beaumont.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Examiner, Durousseau had gotten into an argument with LaFleur at 1375 Schwarner on May 30, 2010, three days before LaFleur’s body was found by Beaumont Police in the 1900 block of Verone Street in Beaumont.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head, and LaFleur’s death was ruled a homicide, according to the affidavit.
A sworn statement police obtained from Durosseau stated that other than arguing with LaFleur, he had not touched him that night and that once LaFleur had left the house, he had gone to bed. However, according to the affidavit, police obtained a statement from a witness stating that Durousseau had left the house prior to LaFleur after the argument.
The affidavit also stated human blood was found on clothing belonging to Durousseau and subsequent DNA testing revealed that the blood on the clothing seized from the accused belonged to LaFleur.
But it wasn’t enough for the jury to reach a guilty verdict.
“We didn’t get the result that we might have hoped for, but the case is never forgotten,” said prosecutor Perry Thomas of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. “What we do at this point is re-examine the case. We’ll take another look at it and talk to the family and see how they want to resolve this in the future.”
As part of the mistrial, Durousseau’s bond was reduced to $10,000. His family celebrated following the ruling by Walker, saying that he would soon be free.
“I was able to visit him about a year ago, and he always expressed his innocence,” said Mosha Beverly, Durousseau’s cousin. “And I believe him.”
Beverly went on to say that she believed that it was important for jurors to take their time and make the right decision because multiple lives are affected by their verdict or lack thereof.
“The defendant’s family, the victim’s family — everybody is affected by it,” she said.
“I’m so overjoyed,” said Enolia Bolt, Durousseau’s grandmother, adding that she had raised Durousseau since he was a baby.
LaFleur’s family, however, said they were unable to find the closure they so desperately sought.
“It’s not over with,” said Donald LaFleur, Darrell LaFleur’s brother. “I just put it in God’s hands right now. He’s in control.”