|Jury Starts Deliberating on Lamonica
September 5, 2008
AMITE — A Tangipahoa Parish jury began deliberations late Thursday on whether former pastor Louis D. Lamonica molested his two sons and included them in sex acts during occult rituals.
Defense attorney Michael Thiel concluded presenting evidence in defense of his client at 2:25 p.m. Thursday, and the seven men and five women of the jury began their deliberations at 6 p.m.
The trial was suspended five days as a result of Hurricane Gustav; testimony resumed Thursday.
The jury had yet to return a verdict by Thursday evening in the 21st Judicial District Court in Amite.
If convicted, District Judge Zoey Waguespack must sentence Lamonica to a mandatory life sentence in prison without parole.Lamonica, 49, of Hammond, faces four counts of aggravated rape charging him with molesting his sons when they were age 11 or younger.
The former pastor of now-defunct Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula is the second of seven church members to be tried for an alleged child-sex ring at the church.
Since Aug. 22, the jury has listened to testimony about Lamonica’s confession to molesting his boys and cult activities to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The jury also heard from mental-health and law enforcement personnel to whom the boys disclosed the abuse.
The jury also read hundreds of pages of confession writings by Lamonica and his sons about the alleged abuse.
The boys, now ages 21 and 18, took the stand last week to say their father never touched them.
Lamonica himself took the stand last week to say the same.
Thiel told the jury in his closing arguments Lamonica and his sons were coerced into making false confessions because they were being controlled by a self-proclaimed prophet who had visions from God.
Once they were away from the prophet, they were able to finally tell the truth.
“Truth is stranger than fiction,” Thiel told the jury.
Assistant District Attorney Don Wall told the jury in his closing arguments that Lamonica is simply a pedophile whose tale about being controlled by a so-called prophet is just as strange as what he did to his sons.
“While other fathers are teaching their kid how to ride a bicycle, how to catch a baseball, how to play football, Louis, according to his own statements, is teaching his sons how to perform oral sex, how to perform anal sex and how to have sex with a dog,” Wall said.
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