5 April 1984 – Elmo Patrick Sonnier
Elmo Patrick Sonnier may have made the ultimate sacrifice for his brother on this day in 1984. He carried the can and went to the electric chair for murder, but was the killer his brother Eddie all along?
The two siblings were found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Loretta Anne Bourque and 16-year-old David Le Blanc. Elmo was on parole in Louisiana at the time when they abducted the two innocents.
They drove the pair to a deserted oil field where Elmo proceeded to rape Bourque. She then pleaded with them by bargaining to sleep with Elmo’s kid brother Eddie in return for their lives. But the ploy didn’
t work. Elmo got wise to the plan following the second rape and realised that the two may blab to others if they let them get away.
Rather than run the risk of being banged up jail again, Elmo decided to kill the teenagers, by shooting them both twice in the back of the head.
The police caught up with them and the boys shared the blame. But a month after the crime, they apparently agreed to say that Elmo had pulled the trigger. This earned Eddie a life sentence rather than death. Only once the lesser sentence was in the bag did Eddie purport that he was actually the killer.
Even Elmo got a sniff of life when his sentence was revoked on a technicality. But he was re-sentenced and got a second death penalty, despite the fact that Eddie tried to take his fair share of the murderous blame.
But this late show of brotherly love made no odds –
Elmo Sonnier was executed on Old Sparky in 1984, aged 34.
s stint on death row came sharply into focus when he became the inspiration behind ‘Dead Man Walking’. The story went on to be was captured on celluloid in 1995, starring an Oscar-winning Susan Sarandon as the nun who befriended the character based on Sonnier, played by Sean Penn.