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Sabine Parish District Attorney talks about Barthelemy case, death penalty possibility

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Don Burkett, Sabine Parish District Attorney Don Burkett, Sabine Parish District Attorney
Robert Barthelemy, 33 Robert Barthelemy, 33
SHREVEPORT, La. -

The case against Natchitoches Police Officer Robert Barthelemy will go before a grand jury next month, according to Don Burkett, Sabine Parish District Attorney.

Burkett said Wednesday it will most likely take place the third week of September. He said his office needs to collect evidence and reports that it will present to the grand jury. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Body found identified as Tony Procell; police officer faces first degree murder charge

Barthelemy, 33, is in jail in at the Sabine Parish Detention Center charged with first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and home invasion.

He was appointed a public defender, but bond has not been set.

Sabine Parish District Attorney Don Burkett said Wednesday, he unfortunately has had to handle similar cases to this one, but he knows his team can handle it.

"I've got a good staff and we'll work closely with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's department, Louisiana State Police and who ever else is involved in the investigation," said Burkett.

Burkett said he will also be in close contact with the victim's, Tony Procell's family, especially since the death penalty could be on the table.

"The final decision is up to myself as district attorney, but I always consult with the victim's family before making a decision of that magnitude," he said. "So we'll get their input and visit with them."

After Procell's body was found Sunday, Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson said the DA would go after the death penalty. Burkett did not deny that.

"Sheriff Ronny Richardson and myself have been good friends for a long time," said Burkett. "A sheriff can say somethings that a district attorney as a prosecutor is not allowed to say. For the most part, I think Sheriff Richardson and I are on the same page."

A spokes person for Procell's family told KTBS they will not make funeral arrangements for Tony until after the coroner releases his body.

He said that could be in two weeks because they try to figure out what the murder weapon was--either the baseball bat found near by or the shovel used to bury him.

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