Francise arrested in connection with 25-year-old cold case, bond denied

Andrew Green
Tommy Francise

On October 27, 2016 at approximately 5 a.m., detectives with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested Tommy Francise for the murder of Curtis “Cochise” Smith and George Barrett. Francise was found in Lafayette.

His arrest follows an investigation by the IPSO detectives into two cold cases stemming from 1991 and 2002, respectively.

Curtis “Cochise” Smith was last seen in February 1991 and George Barrett was found shot dead in his home in March 2002.

Investigators said Francise killed Smith for allegedly stealing his air compressor.  Smith’s body was never recovered, and officials believe he was put in a barrel with holes poked into it then tossed into the water.

In 2002, Francise killed Barrett after he threatened to go to police for his alleged role in helping get rid of Smith’s body in 1991.

Officials credited the hit television series “Killing Fields” in assisting with Francise’s arrest.

“These guys brought in some of the latest sonar equipment to scan the bodies of water around Bayou Pigeon,” said lead prosecutor Tony Clayton.

Francise, 61, of Plaquemine was booked into the Iberville Parish Jail on two counts of second degree murder.

“I want to thank the detectives with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office for their hard work and tireless efforts to bring justice to the family members of Curtis Smith and George Barrett,” Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

On Monday, October 31, Judge Alvin Batiste, Jr. denied bond for Tommy Francise after hearing harrowing testimonies from two of Francise’s ex-girlfriends.

According to officials, Francise has been arrested 28 times since 1985.  They also described Francise as a capable “dangerous” man who has threatened prosecutors before.

“He’s still a dangerous person,” said Clayton, “at least we feel, and he should be locked up.”

Prosecutors plan to introduce the case to an Iberville Parish grand jury in December.  If found guilty, Francise faces a mandatory life sentence.