A Terrebonne Parish man pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday (March 15) to the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, admitting he stabbed her 44 times all over her body during an argument on Grand Isle.
Randy Paul Marcel, 29, of Chauvin, pleaded guilty knowing he would automatically be sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. He admitted he killed his girlfriend of two years, Jennifer Dozier, also of Chauvin, during the June 21, 2014, crime.
Dozier, 34, whose left leg had been amputated because of injuries sustained in an automobile accident, died about 10 p.m. Police found her body near her aluminum crutches in the grassy parking area near the beach at Cypress Lane and Louisiana 1.
Marcel, Dozier, her 2-year-old son and a friend and his cousin were visiting Grand Isle for the weekend when the couple argued over an array of reasons. Marcel knocked her to the ground during an argument over her having his cigarettes.
She got up and was walking to their vehicle, saying she was calling police, when Marcel attacked her with a blue-handle fillet knife he purchased days earlier. Marcel’s cousin and their third friend witnessed the attack, and Dozier’s child also was nearby.
Dozier’s mother, Patricia Killingsworth, testified during the sentencing hearing that she hears her grandson, now 4, cry every night for his mother.
”I cannot begin to tell anyone the heartache and the pain that I suffer every night, every day without her,” Killingsworth testified. “She was far from perfect, but she was mine. She was my daughter.”
Marcel wept quietly during the sentencing hearing but said nothing to the members of Dozier’s family that traveled to the Jefferson Parish Courthouse in Gretna from Terrebonne Parish to witness the sentencing.
Dozier suffered 10 stab wounds to her head, two of which punctured her brain; 24 wounds to her trunk; five to her neck; and three defensive wounds on her hands, among other injuries. She received at least one stab wound after she died, according to the Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office.
Marcel ran after the attack. A nearby resident saw the police searching the area and noticed Marcel hiding in tall grass near the end of Cypress Lane. The resident alerted police, leading to Marcel’s arrest. Marcel gave detectives three statements, initially saying he blacked out and remembered nothing. He finally confessed, but he recalled only stabbing Dozier twice in self-defense, he told Sgt. Travis Eserman, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detective who led the investigation.
Marcel, who has been jailed since his arrest, was to stand trial this week for second-degree murder. He sat in 24th Judicial District Court Judge Lee Faulkner’s courtroom dressed for trial, but entered the guilty plea before the first panel of prospective jurors was escorted to court.
Judge Faulkner then agreed to postpone the sentencing for several hours, to give Dozier’s family time to travel from Terrebonne Parish.
Dozier, a native of Laurel, Miss., left three children behind. She dated Marcel about two years, but he fathered none of her children. Last year, her brother, Adam Dozier, was held in contempt of court and fined $100 for punching Marcel in the face as he was escorted into the courtroom for a pretrial hearing.
“I’ve tried to be strong through this for my other children,” Killingsworth testified. “To them I apologize, because I haven’t been there for them. Because I was trying to grieve for my daughter. My life will never, ever be the same, and understand that. I’m just trying to move on.”
The last time a Jefferson Parish defendant pleaded guilty as charged second-degree murder was in 2011, when Mark Sonnier, stopped his trial just after a prosecutor finished her opening statements during his trial.
Sonnier admitted he killed a Metairie man with a brass lap in the man’s home during a home invasion. In pleading guilty, Sonnier told the court he pleaded guilty as charged to spare the victims’ families of having to sit through the trial. Faulkner presided over that case, too.
Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Molly Massey prosecuted the case.