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Tristin James sentenced to 40 years for 2019 death of his mother

Pleaded “guilty” to lesser charge of manslaughter Friday morning
Hannah Desselle and Tristin James (Credit: APSO)
Hannah Desselle and Tristin James (Credit: APSO)(KALB / APSO)
Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 1:21 PM CST
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AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The son of an Avoyelles Parish woman, who was beaten to death with a baseball bat and dumped into the woods in Big Bend, pleaded guilty this morning for his role in the death of his mother.

Tristin James, 21 of Moreauville, changed his plea to “guilty” to the lesser charge of manslaughter. He was initially charged with second degree murder.

Judge William Bennett sentenced him to the maximum - 40 years in prison. He’ll serve 39 years for the manslaughter plea and an additional year, to run consecutive, for simple escape.

Tony Salario, an Assistant District Attorney for Avoyelles Parish, prosecuted the case.

Back in May 2019, the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office said James and his girlfriend, Hannah Desselle, were at home with his mother, Kasey Bigum, in Marksville, when James and Bigum got into an argument.

Detectives said James hit his mother, then beat her with the baseball bat. He and Desselle then wrapped her body in a blanket and left her off of S&B Cutoff Road.

James’ defense attorney, Chad Gulliot, told News Channel 5 about the reason James took the plea, “At trial, I think the best-case scenario would have been a manslaughter conviction. So I think he made a good deal by going in and pleading guilty now to the reduced charge. I think that’s what would have happened at trial regardless. Of course, he also had a chance at second degree murder and looking at life in prison. I think this was the smart decision for him.”

The case against Hannah Desselle is still working its way through court. She’s also charged with second degree murder.

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