6-year-old Bella Fontenelle’s accused killer pleads not guilty

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 12:18 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2023 at 3:24 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - A Jefferson Parish Grand Jury on Thursday (Aug. 17) indicted the accused killer of six-year-old Bella Fontenelle.

Bunnak “Hannah” Landon, 43, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the girl’s horrific death and reportedly buried her own cell phone to hinder investigators, a source tells Fox 8.

During her arraignment on Friday, Landon pleaded not guilty.

Landon will face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office says prosecutors will not pursue the death penalty.

Hannah Bunnak Landon, accused in the horrific killing of 6-year-old Bella Fontenelle in Harahan.
Hannah Bunnak Landon, accused in the horrific killing of 6-year-old Bella Fontenelle in Harahan.(JPSO)

Authorities say Landon fatally assaulted and strangled Fontenelle on the night of Tues., April 25 in her father’s home, whom Landon was in a relationship with.

Investigators believe Landon committed the heinous crime Tuesday night, then took the deceased body inside a 10-gallon chlorine bucket on a wagon to the nearby residence of the girl’s biological mother.

The young girl’s father, Michael Fontenelle, first called law enforcement around 7:30 a.m. when he realized his live-in partner and his daughter were missing from his Donelon Drive home.

Harahan Police Chief Edward Lepre says that Landon had approached the police station seeking assistance early Wednesday morning, a mere few hours after the alleged incident had occurred. She was taken to a hospital and later booked into jail. A bond was set at $2.5 million.

Neighbors in Harahan said they were surprised to learn Landon would not face the death penalty.

“I would never ever, ever dream that somebody in one of these houses would do something so horrible,” said Sandy Bennett, who lives in the home next to Fontenelle’s biological mother. “I don’t know anybody’s state of mind, but it seems that all of the things that this woman did were planned on purpose.”

Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said the use of the death penalty is becoming rarer in Louisiana.

“One of the reasons you don’t do it, I think, is even if you’re successful, you don’t get closure for these people,” he said. “We have people that were sentenced to death 30 years ago in this state who have not been put to death.”

According to a petition for a temporary restraining order, conflicts between the accused murderer and Fontenelle’s mother trace back to 2021.

Landon is currently being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna on a $2.5 million bond.

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