Jury convicts Allen in White Castle murders of wife, stepdaughter

Deidre Cruse

An Iberville Parish jury deliberated for an hour and 35 minutes last week before returning guilty verdicts against Ervin Allen Sr., 62, in the June 2007 murders of his estranged wife and step-daughter in the home they shared at 34210 Bowie Street, White Castle.

District Attorney Richard J. “Ricky” Ward Jr. said the jury convicted Allen on two counts of second degree murder after a two-day trial in 18th Judicial District Court.

District Judge Alvin Batiste Jr., who presided, ordered Allen held without bond until sentencing on July 7.

Second degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, Ward said.

Allen was accused in the murders of his wife, Lorna Allen, who was in her early 50s, and her daughter, Herkiesha Young, 27.

At the time of his arrest, Sheriff Brent Allain said Allen turned himself in at the scene of the murders when Iberville Sheriff's deputies and White Castle Police arrived to investigate. Initially, Allen was charged with two counts of first degree murder.

According to Allain, Lorna Young, found in one room, was dead of a single gunshot wound; her daughter, found in another, suffered multiple gunshot and knife wounds.  Young was taken by AirMed to a Baton Rouge hospital, where she later was pronounced dead, the sheriff said.

At trial, Tom Nelson and Jerry D'Aquila of the Indigent Defender's Office defended Allen. Chief Criminal Prosecutor Tony Clayton and assistant district attorneys Elizabeth Engolio and Dana Larpenter represented the state.