A Rapides Parish judge has deferred a decision on whether to reconsider a bail reduction denial for David Anthony Burns, the Boyce man indicted on a second-degree murder charge earlier this year in the 2004 death of Courtney Coco.
What happened to Coco was unknown for almost 17 years. Her family kept pressing for a resolution, getting publicity locally and nationally.
Burns has been in jail since his arrest in April with bail set at $500,000. His defense attorney, Christopher LaCour, sought a reduction as low as $50,000 in June, but 9th Judicial District Court Judge Mary Lauve Doggett denied it.
Last week, LaCour filed a motion that asked Doggett to reconsider her decision. In court on Monday morning, he told her there is no evidence against his client in Coco's death.
He said that, even with Burns' past criminal history, he should be entitled to a bail reduction to between $150,000 to $250,000. He said Burns never has been convicted of a crime of violence.
And LaCour repeatedly asserted that the state has no evidence to tie Burns to the death of Coco, who was 19 when she disappeared from the Alexandria area on Oct. 3, 2004. Her body was found the next day in Winnie, Texas, and her car later was found in Houston.
He also claimed there still are multiple suspects in the case.
"This is just the one they decided to go with," said LaCour, pointing at Burns sitting next to him at the defense table.
He said there's no DNA, no weapon, no confession, that nobody saw Burns with Coco before she disappeared — "not one shred of hard evidence" — against Burns. The Texas witness who claims to have seen Burns driving Coco's car near where her body was found never saw the driver's face, he said.
And he said Coco's cause of death remains unknown, claiming a coroner took an "educated guess" that she was asphyxiated. He called it "the worst kind of circumstantial case."
Rapides Parish Assistant District Attorney Brian Mosley told Doggett that LaCour presented no new evidence during Monday's hearing so she should not reverse her decision. Nothing has changed since the June hearing, he said.
"You made a decision based on that, and nothing new was presented," said Mosley.
"There's nothing to present because they don't have a case," LaCour countered.
Doggett told LaCour she understands his argument, but agreed that no new evidence was presented. She said she would defer her ruling until after a Jan. 31, 2022, hearing on a motion LaCour filed to suppress the testimony of the Texas witness.
Doggett also told LaCour and Mosley that she wants to set a trial date at the January hearing.
This article originally appeared on Alexandria Town Talk: Attorney: State has no evidence against client in Courtney Coco's death