Louisiana Supreme Court cancels execution for Antoinette Frank

by Gwen Filosa, The Times-Picayune Wednesday November 26, 2008, 12:46 PM



The Louisiana Supreme Court has canceled the Dec. 8 execution date for convicted killer Antoinette Frank, who remains on death row for the 1995 triple murder at the Kim Anh restaurant in eastern New Orleans.

Frank, 37, was a rookie officer with the New Orleans police department when she and Rogers LaCaze gunned down off-duty police officer Ronald Williams, and siblings Cuong Vu and Ha Vu, who worked at the family-owned Vietnamese restaurant, juries ruled after separate capital murder trials months after the killings.

Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Frank Marullo has twice this year issued a death warrant for Frank - the third time he has done so since her conviction - only to have the state supreme court overturn his execution order.

Marullo has repeatedly ruled that Frank has had an exhaustive appeal, while her defense attorneys said this year that Frank has yet to have a full-blown appeal of the jury verdict condemning her to die by lethal injection.

The supreme court recalled the death warrant on Monday without a written opinion and also placed a hold on Franks case pending her post-conviction appeal.

"The supreme court is stopping everything right now," said attorney Gary Clements, director of the Capital Post-Conviction Appeals Project of Louisiana. "We are just starting the post-conviction appeal. Its the first and only time that anybody who has lost their trial can come in and bring evidence of things that should have been brought in before and other new things that are discovered now."

In September, the Orleans Parish District Attorneys Office gave Clements their complete file on the Frank case, more than 18,400 pages that include police reports and notes. Louisiana law requires that after conviction, prosecutors make such files public, Clements said, including documents not available to the defense team at trial.

LaCaze, 32, is separately appealing his own death sentence and conviction for the Kim Anh murders.

Louisiana hasn't executed a convict since 2002, when Leslie Dale Martin was put to death by lethal injection for the 1991 rape and strangulation of Christina Burgin, 19, in Calcasieu Parish.
For details on the Frank, and the murders:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoinette_Frank