NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A family involved in a tragic and brutal triple murder is urging the Orleans Parish court system to rethink its decision to order a retrial for a convicted killer.
On Thursday, ad hoc Judge Michael Kirby ruled Rogers Lacaze's initial trial was held in error. He vacated his conviction and sentence.
Kirby said he granted Lacaze's retrial because one of the jurors was a former State Police officer when commissioned law enforcement officers were legally barred from sitting on a jury.
In 1995, Lacaze was convicted along with former NOPD officer Antoinette Frank of killing her partner Ronald Williams, and Ha Vu and Cuong Vu at the New Orleans East restaurant, Kim Anh Noodles.
"They felt like friends and family, and they turn around and kill our family," said the Vu's mother, Nguyet Nguyen.
Nguyen owned the restaurant that is now in Harahan. Frank often worked an off-duty detail there. She said she felt close to Frank and Lacaze, saying she often cooked for them.
When she heard a judge had ordered a retrial for her children's convicted killer, the memories of loss and suffering from that day overwhelmed her.
"It hurts to have to go through it again, and if the justice system wants to do their part, then let them handle it," Nguyen said.
"Our whole family is really upset, and Mary Williams, she called me and she's really upset and doesn't understand why," said the victims' sister, Chau Vu. "It's more than 20 years already. It's suppose to be finished already, and it's still going on."
Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro released a statement saying: "The District Attorney's Office is presently reviewing the very lengthy decision of the course in this case. Despite the fact that Mr. LaCaze's attorneys made a multitude of claims, it appears that Judge Kirby only found legal merit in a single claim, namely that a law-enforcement officer served on the jury. With respect to his ruling on that issue, the DA's office respectfully disagrees and we intend to seek appellate review."
Judge Kirby denied LaCaze's bond, and he will remain in prison while his case makes its way through the system.