St. John murders remain unsolved

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 5, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The Oct. 27, 2003 murder of Eugene “Gene” Maxent and the Sept. 20, 2004 murder of Natasha Butler remain unsolved despite the offering of monetary rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person(s) responsible for their deaths.

Maxent, 47, of 235 Joe Parquet Circle in LaPlace was found shot dead at 4:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Fir Street. His body was entangled in the 26-inch Murray bicycle he had been riding.

A passerby first noticed Maxent’s body, but thought the man was simply passed out, and alerted the family nearby. When the family arrived, they realized Maxent was dead. The disconcerted family’s sorrow spurred a neighbor to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s office.

When deputies responded to a 911 call placed by the neighbor, they discovered Maxent lying in the street with a single gunshot wound. The man was surrounded by a pool of blood.

The murder was heralded as the parish’s first homicide in 2003.

In October 2004, the Criminal Investigations Division announced a $10,000 incentive reward on the behalf of Maxent and circulated reward posters. The incident drew national attention when it was as aired on television by Crimestoppers.

Similarly, a $2,500 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and convictions of the person(s) responsible for murdering Butler.

Butler was found at approximately 8:55 a.m., burned, bound and gagged in the bathtub of her single-level home located at 2253 Country Club Drive in LaPlace.

The woman was found by a male friend, who called the 911 Center before seeking help at the home of Butler’s neighbor.

Authorities believe Butler’s house was intentionally set on fire to destroy evidence of the murder. Soot containing footprints of the possible murderer was discovered by local firemen responding to the call. The fire marshal removed remnants of carpet and buckets of soot from the home.

Several articles were taken from the home of Butler, including her black Ford Mustang convertible, for further investigation.

Butler’s pet cat was rescued unharmed. However, her aged Cocker Spaniel was removed in a silver body bag. It was unclear at the time if the dog died in the fire or if it was killed by the perpetrator.

Anyone with information regarding Maxent’s murder should call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111 or Detective Freddie A. Young at (985) 652-2773.

Anyone with information regarding Butler’s murder should call Detective Sgt. Terrill St. Martin at (985) 652-2773 or Crimestoppers.