Death penalty trial for Matthew Sonnier delayed due to Hurricane Ida’s impact

Third Circuit grants writ filed by capital defense attorneys; new trial date uncertain
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:41 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The death penalty trial for Matthew Sonnier, 33 of Pineville, which was set to start in the 9th Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish next week, has been continued due to Hurricane Ida’s impact.

The decision was made by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal on Friday based off a writ filed by attorneys with the Baton Rouge Capital Conflict Office.

The Third Circuit stopped short, however, of granting a stay in the case.

Sonnier is charged with three counts of first degree murder for the Oct. 18, 2017 deaths of Jeremy Norris, 28, Kendrick Horn, 33, and Latish White, 42. He also faces two counts of obstruction of justice from a separate indictment related to the case. If convicted on the murder charges, he faces the death penalty.

White’s body was found on Melrose Street in Pineville. She had been stabbed multiple times and thrown out from a car. The bodies of Norris and Horn were found several hours later wrapped in a pool liner burning in ditch on Old Boyce Road, just outside of Alexandria.

Sonnier’s sister, Ebony Sonnier, is also charged in the case.

Meanwhile, a second writ filed by the defense looking to stop the trial due to COVID-19 was outright denied by the Third Circuit.

There’s no word yet on when the trial for Sonnier will now take place.

Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell issued this statement about the Third Circuit’s decision.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant District Attorneys Hugo Holland and Lea Hall. The case is assigned to Judge Chris Hazel.

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