° empty

Parish woman gets life sentence in case

Harrisonburg — A Catahoula Parish woman faces a mandatory life sentence for the killing of her mother, sister and brother-in-law.

A Catahoula Parish jury returned a guilty verdict against Debbie Adams for three counts of first-degree murder after deliberating for 13 minutes Friday. Adams is the second person convicted in the August 2012 stabbing deaths of her mother, Annie Bell Adams, 76, and her sister, Edris Ellard, 51, and the shooting death of her brother-in-law, John Ellard, 45.

Adams’ former boyfriend, Lee John Ponthieux, was convicted in December on the same charges. He was sentenced in February to three consecutive life terms in prison.

Annie Bell Adams was stabbed 12 times, while Edris Ellard was stabbed 23 times. John Ellard was shot point-blank with a shotgun.

Seventh Judicial District District Attorney Brad Burget said the verdict was unanimous.

While Ponthieux had previously made statements to investigators that he was the killer in the matter, the physical evidence did not match his statements, Burget said.

“(Ponthieux) took the stand at Ms. Adams’ trial, and he testified and said Debbie Adams killed her mother and killed her sister, and he accidentally shot Mr. Ellard,” Burget said.

“The jury decided based on the evidence either she directly killed them or had Mr. Ponthieux kill them on her behalf.”

Burget said the jury had a tough, complicated job, and thanked the members for their commitment to civic duty.