BATON ROUGE WOMAN FACES TRIAL FOR HUSBAND’S MURDER

In August of 1999, Andre Gatlin was murdered inside his Glen Oaks home. In the time leading up to the murder, Mr. Gatlin’s life was in turmoil. Despite allegedly selling drugs, he had no money. He had bounced checks and tried to apply for bank loans. The state accused Gatlin’s wife, Karen Benoit, of her husband’s murder.

Following the first trial, a jury convicted Ms. Benoit, but the conviction was reversed. At the second trial, the prosecution argued that Ms. Benoit claimed to be sleeping when Mr. Gatlin was murdered. However, following the murder, she left her baby in the home and ran fully-dressed to a neighbor’s home. The state argued that she would not have neither been fully dressed nor left her child in the home had another person killed Mr. Gatlin. However, Ms. Benoit’s attorneys argued that the neighbors did not see any blood on Ms. Benoit. Also, despite allegedly selling drugs all weekend, Mr. Gatlin had no cash on him, his wallet was gone, and someone had ransacked the house. The defense argued that these facts did not suggest murder by an angry wife.

Following its deliberation, a jury acquitted Ms. Benoit of the murder of her husband. The verdict ended a three-year legal quest to prove her innocence.