Tommy Francise pleads not guilty at arraignment hearing

Andrew Green
Tommy Francise recently pleaded not guilty to two second degree murder charges at his arraignment hearing.

Tommy Francise pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing held Tuesday, March 7 on two counts of second-degree murder.

Francise’s two counts stem from connections to the Feb. 21, 1991 murder of Curtis “Cochise” Smith and the March 7, 2002 murder of George Barrett.

Francise was arrested on October 27, 2016 by the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office after an investigation by the IPSO into the two cold cases.

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

Judge Alvin Batiste, Jr. denied bond for Francise on October 31 and a grand jury handed down the two second degree murder indictments on Dec. 8, 2016.

According to Sheriff Stassi, nearly ninety percent of all cases plead not guilty, and it is usually not until the cases head into motions when talks of potential plea bargains begin.

“Sometimes it takes for them to see the whites of the jury’s eyes before they plead guilty,” Stassi said.