Brandon Francisco trial put on hold

Louisiana Supreme Court to review matter involving introduction of evidence of prior crimes
The trial for Brandon Francisco, 36, of Mansura, in Rapides Parish is on hold until further notice by the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:07 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 9:22 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - The trial for Brandon Francisco, 36, of Mansura, in Rapides Parish is on hold until further notice by the Louisiana Supreme Court as the court reviews a writ filed by the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Francisco is charged with attempted second-degree murder for a 2018 shooting near Cheneyville, which court documents state involved an alleged outstanding drug debt.

Jury selection was underway Tuesday, Aug. 23, with the first panel of potential jurors being questioned when Judge Greg Beard got word from the Supreme Court that there had been a stay ordered. This comes after Assistant District Attorneys Johnny Giordano and Brian Cespiva, notified the court last week of their intent to introduce evidence of a prior conviction for attempted second-degree murder that happened in Avoyelles Parish. In that case, Francisco pleaded guilty to stabbing his ex-girlfriend in 2007 upwards of 20 times.

Defense attorney Tiffany Sanders argued that the case should not be allowed to be discussed during the trial because it was a domestic violence incident, and the case at hand involved an alleged drug debt.

While Judge Beard ruled to allow that evidence in, the Third Circuit put a stop to it after Sanders filed a writ, which was granted Friday, Aug. 19. Giordano and Cespiva asked the Supreme Court to review that decision, and around 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23, proceedings were halted until further notice after the Supreme Court notified Rapides Parish it would review the matter.

There’s no word yet on when the trial could continue. In addition to the attempted second-degree murder charge, Francisco is charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. However, this trial only involves the attempted second-degree murder charge.

Francisco is also a person of interest in the disappearance of Ella Goodie of Scott, Louisiana. That case remains under investigation.

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