NEW ORLEANS — The conviction and death sentence of a man who killed his estranged wife’s son, mother and stepfather in 2008 was upheld Wednesday by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Hoping to avoid a death sentence for his client in a 2011 trial, defense lawyer Larry English had conceded Robert LeRoy McCoy’s guilt in the face of strong evidence.
The court record showed that the trial court ruled that McCoy’s motion to fire English came too late. It also showed that English believed McCoy was delusional and that acknowledging his guilt might result in a life sentence instead of capital punishment.
In his appeal, McCoy argued that he should have been able to switch attorneys after English refused to put on an alibi defense — a defense that would have been based on false evidence.
The Supreme Court rejected that and other arguments.
“The alibi defense the defendant wanted Mr. English to put on, but which could not be substantiated, had no reasonable chance of success, but exposed those who attempted such a defense to the charge of perjury,” Justice Jefferson Hughes wrote in Wednesday’s ruling.
“Conceding guilt, in the hope of saving a defendant’s life at the penalty phase, is a reasonable course of action in a case in which evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” Hughes added.
The victims in the Bossier Parish murders were Christine Colston, 55; Willie Ray Young, 50; and McCoy’s 17-year-old stepson, Gregory Lee Colston.
McCoy has more avenues of appeal and no execution date has been set.