Teens to be tried as adults in Norco murder
Victim’s family hopes justice is served
Two 16 year olds arrested in connection with the murder of 77-year-old Mary Nancy Arico will be tried as adults, according to the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office.
Daniel Deese and Braiden Sumrall were both indicted for first-degree murder. Pauline Deese, 17, was indicted for accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and obstruction of justice. A fourth person arrested in the case, a 14-year-old girl, has been charged with principle to first degree murder and will be tried as a juvenile.
Arico, who lived at 115 Mary St. in Norco, was stabbed and beaten to death in her home on Nov. 8. On Nov. 26 her body was found on the kitchen floor by parish deputies.
In a press conference after the murder, Sheriff Greg Champagne said that deputies were called out to Arico’s home after the victim’s sister, who lives in New York, had trouble reaching her on the phone. The sister then called a neighbor, who went to Arico’s home but did not get a response.
The neighbor called the police.
When deputies arrived at Arico’s home, they discovered that the back door was open. When they entered, they found Arico lying on the kitchen floor in a severely decomposed state.
Through an autopsy, it was determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head along with multiple stab wounds.
Deputies canvassed the Norco area, and heard from several teens who said that the suspects had bragged about the crime. Champagne said that the teens didn’t believe the suspects at first because a body hadn’t been found.
Champagne said that it appears the group had planned to rob Arico because the rear of her home backed up against a vacant lot that would provide cover. Authorities say that the two boys got into Arico’s home by saying they had to use the phone. The 14-year-old girl told authorities she waited outside.
Champagne said that one of the 16 year olds distracted Arico, while the other began robbing her.
Published reports said that it was Daniel Deese who picked up several kitchen knives after entering Arico’s home and attacked the woman.
The reports say that the girl told investigators that she heard screaming inside the house and that Sumrall ran outside once Daniel Deese started stabbing Arico. Daniel Deese eventually came outside covered in blood, and told the girl that he had to hit Arico in the head with a microwave because she didn’t die after the stab wounds, the published reports say.
Arico’s death went undiscovered for so long because she rarely socialized with neighbors. Perry Waguespack, a relative of Arico, said that Arico was sociable until 2005, but then something changed.
“Mary lived in that house on Mary Street by herself and many times my mother would ask her if she was afraid to live by herself to which Mary replied ‘No, I love being by myself,’” Waguespack said. “My parents looked after Mary until my mother’s death last year and my father’s health no longer allowed him to drive.”
Waguespack said that Mary was a simple person in the fact that she did not have expensive jewelry or clothes as her childhood did not afford her those luxuries.
“That carried over into her adult life and she was fine with that,” Waguespack said.
He was shocked that anyone would try to rob her.
“They didn't have to kill her," Waguespack said. "If they would have told her what they wanted she would have just given it to them.
"The house was 100 years old…she had nothing of value in that house."
Judge Robert Chaisson will arraign the three defendants on Jan. 4, 2011. Assistant District Attorney Howat Peters will prosecute the case.
The law does not provide for the 14-year-old to be tried in adult court due to her age.
“If there is anything to be thankful for in this tragedy, if that’s possible, it is our belief in the justice system that these four monsters will never be allowed to destroy another family’s lives,” Waguespack said.
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