Trial begins for woman charged in connection to the 2015 death of Ray Paul Lachney

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AVOYELLES, La. (KALB) - Trial began on Tuesday for Lisa Rabalais, 42, of Baton Rouge. Rabalais is charged with accessory to the felony of homicide for her alleged role in the 2015 disappearance of Ray Paul Lachney. Lachney's remains were found in 2016 on T-Doos Road in Mansura.

Lisa Rabalais | Photo Source: APSO

After jury selection wrapped up, the trial began with opening arguments. The prosecution, represented by District Attorney Charlie Riddle and Assistant District Attorney Tony Salario, was the first to begin. Salario assured the jury that after all evidence was presented, the jury will see that “Ms. Rabalais is, in fact, guilty as charged.”

Next to address the jury was defense attorney Chad Guillot. Guillot emphasized the need for the jury to be objective, paying close attention to the law.

“We need to concentrate on the facts of the case,” Guillot said.

Following opening arguments, the first witnesses took the stand.

Avoyelles Coroner Dr. L.J. Mayeaux was the first to testify. Riddle questioned him first, asking about his experience in the medical field and about his background as a coroner. Because Lachney’s remains were identified through the LSU FACES lab, Riddle asked about the process of identifying remains. Dr. Mayeaux responded by saying that the FACES lab gives a letter of the findings to the coroner once they have results. That letter was passed around to the jury to read.

Next, Guillot briefly questioned Mayeaux, asking if anyone was ever able to determine the cause of Lachney’s death. Mayeaux said that could not be determined, but described the injuries Lachney had, and that his thyroid bone was missing.

A second witness, Lana Barr, took the stand. Salario asked if Barr knew Rabalais. Barr said that Rabalais cleaned Barr’s beauty shop to pay her bills between jobs. She said that one day, at the beginning of September 2015, Rabalais came into work upset and wanting to talk to her.

According to Barr, Rabalais told her that she was worried because her friend, Lachney, was missing. Rabalais told Barr that she had let Lachney stay at her house temporarily because he had nowhere else to stay. Rabalais then went on to tell Barr that Lachney, Rabalais, and Rabalais’ boyfriend, Andy Bordelon, traveled to Denham Springs to pick up a trailer that Bordelon had purchased. She said that Bordelon was jealous of Lachney, which caused arguments between the two throughout the trip. Sometime on the trip to back home, Lachney felt sick, so Bordelon pulled over on the side of the road. Rabalais then told Barr that Bordelon stepped out of the car to get Lachney, but Lachney never got back in, and Bordelon drove away without him.

According to Barr, Rabalais then told her that Bordelon dropped her off at home, then left the house and returned around 3 a.m. When the State asked Barr what Rabalais told her Bordelon said when he returned home, the defense objected, claiming it was hearsay. Ultimately, Judge Bennett, who is overseeing the jury, overruled the objection. Barr then answered the original question, saying that Rabalais told her that Bordelon admitted to killing Lachney while he was gone, and mentioned a good place to dump the body.

Barr did not give police an official statement on the information Rabalais gave her until Dec. 2017. Guillot questioned why Barr “sat on this for two years.” Barr said she was scared to say anything because Lachney’s family was harassing her online, and that Rabalais told her that Bordelon would be looking for her.

The trial will continue on Wednesday. See the related links section of the page for the original story.

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