Self representation hearing set for man arrested for 1980 murder

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - A self representation hearing is set for Jan. 9 for Leo Laird, 64 of Oakdale, who was arrested back in August for murder in connection to a 1980 cold case.

Leo Laird and Gary Haymon (Also pictured is Donna Gayle Brazzell, who RPSO says was killed in 1980.) | Source: RPSO

According to the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office, on November 5, 1980, detectives received a complaint related to the discovery of skeletal remains near Highway 28 West in the Gardener area. The complainant reported the remains were located in a wooded area near Nichols Cemetery Road.

The LSU FACES Lab in Baton Rouge composed a reconstruction of the victim's skull, which provided investigators a likeness of the victim. The victim in the case, Donna Gayle Brazzell, 18, was positively identified this year with the help of the LSU FACES Lab and a family member who was able to ID her.

While the case has not gone to a grand jury yet, Laird is facing charges of first degree murder, first degree rape, and aggravated kidnapping. A co-defendant, Gary Joseph Haymon, 54 of Oakdale, is facing the same charges, but is also currently serving a 49-year sentence in another case.

Earlier this month, Laird filed two motions himself for discovery and preliminary examination. But, he also requested and received a public defender in his case. Because the law does not permit both, a hearing will be held on Jan. 9 in front of Judge Greg Beard to determine if Laird will choose to represent himself or continue with his public defender.

To read more on the history of this case, click on the "related links" section of this page.