Matthew Sonnier sentenced to three life sentences for 2017 murders of three people
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - A Pineville man has pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder and has been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, avoiding his death penalty trial that was scheduled to begin next month.
Matthew Sonnier, 33, was accused in the October 18, 2017 deaths of 28-year-old Jeremy Norris, 33-year-old Kendrick Horn, and 42-year-old Latish White.
PHOTOS OF THE VICTIMS:
The Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office was seeking the death penalty.
White’s body was found in the road at the intersection of East Shamrock and Melrose Streets in Pineville. She had been stabbed multiple times. Later, Norris and Horn’s bodies were found shot and wrapped in a pool liner, burning in a ditch on the side of Old Boyce Road in Alexandria.
On Friday, Sonnier changed his plea to “guilty,” while the families of the three victims packed the courtroom to give their victim impact statements.
Elizabeth James, the mother of White, asked Sonnier through tears, “Why?”
“You knew Latish has a whole family that cares about her,” James told him, inconsolable. Sonnier had no reaction.
Aquanetta Bowie, White’s sister, asked Sonnier how he could live his life knowing that he killed three people.
“How do you sleep at night and wake up and be okay everyday? It’s okay. Because you’re going to get it,” said Bowie.
Brigeria White, White’s sister-in-law, called Sonnier “selfish.”
“I don’t know what goes through the mind of a murderer,” she told him. “And, I don’t want to know. You don’t deserve to have any pleasure in life.”
Champion White, one of White’s children, talked about the loss the family has experienced.
“I can’t look at you because of all the hate I have. I know it’s not good,” said White.
Brenda Horn, Horn’s mother, told Sonnier he was “evil.”
“To take him, I know he didn’t deserve to get what you gave to him. He did not deserve it,” Horn said. “You killed him already and then set him on fire. What kind of evil man are you?”
Jeremy Norris’ young son spoke next. He was notified at school about his father.
“I don’t have a father figure to look up to. It’s all your fault,” he said.
Laquanda Fraley, the mother of Norris’ youngest child, spoke about the impact Norris’ death has had in raising her child.
“My baby has to go to a graveyard to visit his dad,” she said. “I will never forgive you. I hope you get what you deserve.”
Viney Norris, Norris’ sister, said her brother was her “best friend.”
“You ruined everybody’s life in here,” she told Sonnier.
Bonita Carmouche, Norris’ mother, spoke about the feelings she feels everyday with her son gone: “agony, grief, frustrated, rage.”
“It took them eight days,” she said through tears of how they identified her son. “Eight agonizing days because you burned him so bad.” She said Sonnier’s “mojo” use “made you kill my son.”
“I know my son begged for his life,” she shouted. “You can’t tell me the people in that truck didn’t beg for their lives.”
Again, Sonnier showed no emotion.
“I hope you rot in hell and I hope I live to see it,” Carmouche told him.
Sonnier chose not to address the court or the families when given the opportunity. As he was being escorted out, there was shouting from the courtroom: “I hate you! You killed my mama!”
Afterward, Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell told News Channel 5 that the plea agreement was presented to the state by Sonnier’s capital defense attorneys. The families agreed to the three consecutive life sentences.
Terrell said the crime was one of the worst his office has seen.
“This is as heinous as I have ever seen in all my 40 years of being a lawyer,” he said. “It’s a horrible, horrible crime. It’s as heinous as they come. We got closure on this case and the likelihood is that Mr. Sonnier will never walk out of the gates of Angola.”
Sonnier’s sister, 35-year-old Ebony Sonnier, was also arrested in connection to the case in 2017. She’s charged with three counts of first degree murder and accessory after the fact. In a separate indictment, she’s also charged with two counts of obstruction of justice.
Her trial is scheduled for August 8.
Matthew Sonnier was represented by capital defense attorney Kyla Blanchard-Romanach. Special Assistant District Attorney Hugo Holland was the lead prosecutor on the case.
Judge Chris Hazel presided.
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