Husband charged with wife’s murder months later

Published 7:49 pm Thursday, January 10, 2008

Months after she disappeared charges have been brought against Leo Laurent for the murder of his wife.

Hancock County Chief Investigator Kenny Hurt said Wednesday morning that Leo Laurent, 30, was brought down to Hancock County from the Pearl River County Jail to be charged for the murder of his 29 year-old wife, Brandi.

After he was brought down to Hancock County and booked on the murder charge, Leo Laurent was taken back to Pearl River County jail. Friday he will attend his initial appearance before the Hancock County Justice court. Those court proceedings will take place at 1 p.m. in Kiln.

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Hancock has been holding their prisoners in Pearl River County since Hurricane Katrina destroyed their jail.

When asked if the investigation turned up enough evidence to charge Laurent, Hurt expressed confidence.

“I think we got enough, I don’t see no problem with it,” Hurt said.

Hancock County Sheriff Department Investigator André Fizer said the department waited until they got enough evidence before charging Laurent with murder.

“You have to get enough evidence to charge someone, you can’t just think someone committed a crime,” Fizer said.

When asked if the crime took place at the couple’s home in Pecan Trailer Park Fizer responded by saying that there has been some misinformation reported by the local media.

“The only thing we can say towards that, is in Hancock County,” Fizer said.

While some Gulf Coast news papers unofficially reported Brandi’s cause of death as strangulation, Fizer would not comment on an official cause of death.

Before Wednesday’s murder charges Laurent was being held at Pearl River County’s jail on charges of embezzlement. Picayune Police Records state he was arrested on Dec. 5, 2006, for embezzlement of merchandise while employed at the Picayune CVS Pharmacy. A bench warrant was issued on Dec. 20, by the Pearl River County Circuit Court when he failed to make a scheduled court appearance for that charge. Laurent turned himself in on Jan. 2.

Hurt said the Waveland Police Department also has charges against Laurent for possession of a firearm, discharging a firearm and making a false report. According to the Sea Coast Echo those charges stem from an incident on Dec. 7, where he called police to report two unidentified black males fired rounds at him from about 60 feet while he was walking on the beach.

Waveland police found a gun in Laurent’s vehicle of the same caliber as the casings found on the beach. Ballistics experts said gun powder burns on Leo Laurent’s shirt were improbable at the distance he described, according to the news story. A call to the Waveland Police Department Wednesday afternoon was not immediately returned.