ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — A Eunice man retried for murder due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling has been found guilty for a second time in the 2012 murder of his wife.
Robert Lee Heard, Jr., of Eunice, was found guilty of second-degree murder for stabbing, burning, and killing his wife in September of 2012. He will be sentenced on April 28 before District Judge Jason Meche.
Heard, who has a reported extensive violent criminal history, was accused of stabbing his wife of only four months over 40 times with multiple knives and then setting her body on fire. Heard was tried and found guilty in 2017, but the verdict was 10-2, according to a press release from St. Landry Parish District Attorney Chad Pitre. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Daily Advertiser reported.
Heard appealed the conviction claiming it was unconstitutional because of the non-unanimous jury verdict. The Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal in November 2018, according to the Advertiser. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in April that non-unanimous jury verdicts violate the rights of defendants, giving Heard a new murder trial, according to a December appellate court judgment.
Pitre said that Heard was entitled to another trial under the ruling. The jury deliberated for less than two hours, returning with a unanimous guilty conviction of second-degree murder.