Plea deal for teen Norco murder suspects

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2011



HAHNVILLE – The St. Charles District Attorney’s Office has reached a plea deal with two siblings charged in the death of a Norco woman in November.

Daniel Deese, 16, was facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 77-year-old Mary Nancy Arico but instead pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Deese’s sister, 18-year-old Pauline Deese, was originally charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and obstruction of justice in connection with the case. The charge was downgraded to accessory after the fact to manslaughter as part of the plea deal. Prosecutors also agreed to dismiss the obstruction of justice charge and drop an unrelated drug possession charge from an arrest in July.

According to court documents, in exchange for his plea to manslaughter, the District Attorney’s Office is recommending Daniel Deese be sentenced to the maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, with credit for time served. The District Attorney’s Office also recommended Pauline Deese be sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence with three years of active probation. Her probation will include evaluation and substance abuse treatment as mandated by her probation officer.

Formal sentencing for the Deeses is set for Sept. 14.

The two siblings, along with 16-year-old Braiden Sumrall and a 14-year-old girl, were arrested in late November after Arico’s body was discovered on the floor of her home in the 100 block of Mary Street. Investigators say Arico may have been killed about three weeks before the body was found. The teens were arrested a few days after the body was found after receiving a series of tips from the public.

According to court documents, St. Charles Parish investigators believe the two boys and the 14-year-old girl went to Arico’s home in Norco looking for money to help the girl run away from home. Daniel Deese allegedly attacked Arico with several kitchen knives then hit her in the head with a microwave. She was stabbed several times and received blunt force trauma to the head, according to authorities.

Court documents also say Pauline Deese was told of the murder by her brother but later lied to investigators when questioned about the incident. Authorities said Pauline Deese also burned several articles of clothing and a knife allegedly used in the crime. The burned items were found at an abandoned house near the Deese’s home.

Daniel Deese and Sumrall were initially indicted in December as adults, but the case was shifted back to juvenile court earlier this year pending results of a sanity hearing. Daniel Deese was again indicted in adult court in March.

Pauline Deese was indicted on her charges in April.

Sumrall’s case, as well as the case against the 14-year-old girl, who was booked with principal to first-degree murder, will be handled in juvenile court.