Man found guilty in three murdersPublished 12:09am Saturday, December 21, 2013
Vidalia — A Catahoula Parish jury found a Mansura man guilty on three counts of first-degree murder Thursday afternoon following a three-day trial and approximately 50 minutes of deliberation.
Lee John Ponthieux Jr., 43, was arrested in August 2012 after being suspected of killing his girlfriend’s mother, sister and brother-in-law.
Ponthieux was convicted of killing all three victims, Edris A. Ellard of Jonesville, John Ellard Jr. of Monterey and Annie Bell Adams of Jonesville.
In October 2012, a grand jury indicted Ponthieux on three counts of first-degree murder.
Jury selection began Monday in the Catahoula Parish courthouse in Harrisonburg.
Opening remarks began Tuesday, and the trial concluded Thursday afternoon with the verdict reading.
District Attorney Brad Burget said he was pleased with the jury’s verdict.
“It was a lot of hard work the sheriff’s office in Catahoula put into this investigation to help solve these murders quickly,” Burget said Friday. “I’m very proud of these efforts, but this is not the end of the investigation.”
Days after the murders in 2012, Debbie Adams, a relative of one of the victims, was arrested and joined Ponthieux as prime suspects in the case.
Debbie Adams, Edris Ellard’s sister, called police shortly before 3 a.m. Aug. 6, after reportedly leaving the residence during the fight and then hearing gunshots.
Debbie Adams was originally booked on an obstruction of justice charge, but those charges were later upgraded to first-degree murder.
Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly said at the time of the arrest, Debbie Adams told Ponthieux several times she “wouldn’t shed a tear if someone were to kill my momma.”
Last year, a grand jury decided to “pretermit” — or not make a decision — in Debbie Adams’ case.
Burget said he plans to bring Debbie Adams back before a grand jury in January.
“We will continue the investigation and hopefully present the matter to the grand jury again to seek indictment,” Burget said.
Ponthieux and Debbie Adams were inside a Moody Road house, when Ponthieux went into the bedroom of Annie Bell Adams and stabbed her to death, Kelly said at the time of the murders.
Ponthieux then walked outside to a shack, where John Ellard and Edris Ellard were staying.
After a brief scuffle between Ponthieux and John Ellard, Ponthieux shot John Ellard point blank with a shotgun.
Edris Ellard managed to dodge a second shot from the shotgun, but Ponthieux stabbed her to death with a knife.
Ponthieux left the scene of the crime on his black Honda motorcycle and evaded law enforcement officials before being arrested near the scene of the crime later that day.
Ponthieux had previously been arrested in Catahoula Parish in 2011 for a charge of driving while intoxicated and also had a list of other charges, including battery of juvenile, theft and illegal use of weapons, from various parishes dating back to 1988.
Sentencing for Ponthieux will be Jan. 7. Ponthieux faces life in prison without the benefit of probation and parole.