Plumbing company owner charged in 3 Louisiana slayings

CLINTON, La. — In a string of attacks that began in July, a plumbing company owner killed three men and wounded a fourth, shooting all of the men at their homes or on their property in a rural area north of Baton Rouge, authorities said.

The slayings put the area on edge for weeks. The latest killing occurred Monday when authorities said Brad DeFranceschi was gunned down while the Boy Scouts employee trimmed weeds in front of his house. DeFranceschi lives on Boy Scouts camp property in Clinton, a town of 1,600 people about 30 miles from the state capital.

Authorities announced the arrest of Ryan Sharpe, 36, late Wednesday. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

DeFranceschi was the fourth middle-aged or older white man to be shot at their homes or on their property since July. East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux would not comment on a possible motive or say whether Sharpe, also a white man, knew the victims.

A convenience store owner told The Associated Press he saw Sharpe interact with one of his alleged victims at his business within the last year.

Asked by a reporter if Sharpe was a “serial killer,” Gautreaux said, “No, but I mean it could be categorized as anything, really. We’ve been open-minded in this whole investigation.”

“Our citizens can rest easy tonight knowing that we are confident we have the right person,” the sheriff added.

East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Jeff Travis said Sharpe confessed when investigators questioned him after his arrest, but the sheriff didn’t elaborate.

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