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LA- Police: Suspect hangs himself

6-19-2006 Louisiana:

VILLE PLATTE — A 79-year-old man facing decades-old molestation charges after being implicated in a suicide note hanged himself in his front yard Tuesday morning, Evangeline Parish authorities said. The hanging comes a week after Charles Guillory, 1100 block of Bumpy Pass Road, Ville Platte, was indicted on three counts of molestation of a juvenile and one count of aggravated rape in connection with incidents involving three children in 1968 and 1970.

Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Joe Demoruelle said neighbors discovered Guillory’s body Tuesday morning. “An apparent suicide by hanging. … He tied on a tree in the front yard,” Demoruelle said. The detective said no note was found. “It’s a tragic way for this to end,” Evangeline Parish District Attorney Brent Coreil said. The sexual abuse investigation began earlier this year after a suicide note left by a man in his 40s referenced childhood molestation by Guillory.

Family members brought the note to authorities, and the other alleged victims came forward during the investigation, Coreil said. Guillory, who had no criminal record, had been free on $25,000 bond pending trial. The District Attorney’s Office was prosecuting the molestation cases under a 2005 change in state law that extended the statute of limitations on certain sex crimes against juveniles from 10 to 30 years after the victim turns 18.

Even with the extension, Coreil said, one allegation against Guillory fell outside the 30-year limit. Coreil said the time lapse might still have been an issue in the other cases, and he was researching whether the new state law could be retroactively applied to prosecute Guillory in the old cases. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in cases involving similar laws that a revised statute of limitations for sex crimes cannot be applied to cases in which the statute of limitations had already expired.

“All those questions become moot now,” he said. “I just feel sorry for the family.” Coreil said last week that he struggled with the decision to pursue the case, considering the age of the defendant and the age of the allegations. The prosecutor said he came to the conclusion that prosecuting Guillory might help other victims and that “even if he is 79, this has to be pursued.” Guillory could have faced up to 15 years in prison on each of the three molestation charges and a possible death penalty or life in prison on the aggravated rape charge ..more.. : by PATRICK COURREGES, Acadiana bureau

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