Covering Louisiana

Jan 13, 2014 4:38 PM by AP

Man pleads guilty in death of Rayville officer

RAYVILLE, La. (AP) - A Monroe man pleaded guilty Monday to the September 2010 murder of a Rayville police officer.

District Attorney Mack Lancaster said Richard L. Long Jr. will spend life in prison without the benefit of parole or suspension. Lancaster tells The News-Star the plea offer was made with the support of officer's family and the police chief.

Long was one of three men arrested in the death of Police K-9 Sgt. Thomas Alexander, 57, who was shot and killed while responding to a burglary-in-progress call at the home of Theo and Frances Coenen in Richland Parish.

Alexander made sure Frances Coenen, who was home alone, was safe before he entered the structure. Alexander was shot as he approached a closet.

"We were pleased with the plea; it spares the family from going through a long drawn out trial," Alexander family spokesman Jimmy Alexander said. "We are pleased with the outcome. We're grateful Mr. Long finally decided to take responsibility for his actions."

A second defendant, Robert Walker, of Rayville, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in June 2011. Walker was determined not to have been the shooter, but reportedly arranged the burglary. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A third suspect, Anthony D. Oatis, of Monroe, is awaiting trial scheduled for May.

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