Reserve woman found guilty of murder

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 21, 2003


EDGARD – A Reserve woman will serve a mandatory life sentence for the Sept. 4, 2000 stabbing death of her boyfriend, following her conviction Thursday.

Laura A. Eugene, 42, was charged with the second-degree murder of David John Fluence, 33, after an argument between the couple over whether he had been seeing another woman. She was convicted by a jury of seven women and five men. Sentencing will be set within 30 days.

During the trial, which opened Wednesday before 40th Judicial District Judge J. Sterling Snowdy, Eugene claimed Fluence had attacked her, and she defended herself with a six-inch knife, stabbing him in the upper left chest.

A woman driving down Homewood Place that day discovered Eugene screaming for help in the street, according to the incident report, said Capt. Michael Tregre.

The passerby, Veronica Nicholson, attempted CPR on Fluence, but was unsuccessful.

The couple had a history of domestic violence. He had lived at the Homewood address since August 1988 and she moved in during November 1998. The couple later had a daughter together.

She never sought the help of any agency in ending the relationship, according to her attorney, Bobby Faucheux of LaPlace. Prosecutor George Ann Graugnard said “fairly sigificant differences” likely led the jury to make their decision, which came after nearly seven hours of deliberation.

According to Eugene’s statement to Detective Todd Hymel, she didn’t mention he tried to strangle her. This version came up much later. Her two sons, ages 13 and 14 at the time, likewise gave testimony which differed as to the couple’s relationship.

“She said he (Fluence) broke a broomstick, but one of the sons said that happened at a different time,” Graugnard said.

That night, after an evening of drinking and dancing in LaPlace, where Fluence’s blood alcohol level reached .18, the couple argued after she accused him of seeing another woman, Eugene testified. During the argument, Eugene claimed Fluence ran into the knife. At trial, she said the knife slipped.

Faucheux offered information on several calls to police, but Snowdy felt it was irrelevant, having to do more with obscene phone calls and reports of speeding in front of the house, with nothing to attach it to Fluence.