Court hearing for man charged in church killing

| July 13, 2010

WYNNE — A Cross County circuit judge set a Sept. 20 court date for a Washington state man accused of murdering an 80-year-old woman in a church June 6.

Circuit Judge Olly Neal Jr. of Marianna set the court date for Rene Patrick Bourassa Jr., 34, who was arrested on suspicion of capital murder in the death of Lillian Wilson.

Wilson’s pastor, Dixon Pratt, found her body in the Central United Methodist Church.

Bourassa was arrested June 10.

Authorities allege that Bourassa stole Wilson’s 2003 Mercury Marquis, purse and other items after killing her. Police also allege that he used Wilson’s credit card in Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, Idaho and Washington state.

The investigation intensified June 10, when authorities traced Bourassa to the Bremerton, Wash. area, a suburb of Seattle.

Daryn Coburn of Bremerton told The Sun Monday that Bourassa was a former roommate.

“When he got here, we hadn’t seen him in four years. And when he left here, he left on bad terms. And we were surprised he even came to our house,” Coburn said in a phone interview.

“When we were sitting on our front porch, the police drove by three times, and he didn’t even flinch.” Coburn said Wilson’s car was parked on the street. He said police in Alabama had called his residence looking for Bourassa a few years ago. Coburn said he told Bourassa about that call, and it didn’t phase him.

“He said, ‘Oh, I’m doing great in Arkansas. I bought a new car. I’m just up here vacationing,’” Coburn said. He said he later learned of the murder and the search for Bourassa on a local news Web site.

Coburn said he called police and told them he (Bourassa) was driving the murder victim’s car and where to find him.

Federal marshals arrested Bourassa within a couple of blocks of where Coburn said he would be, he said.

Police said Bourassa admitted to killing Wilson, stealing her car and using the credit card.

Bourassa, who is being held without bond in a state prison near Brickeys, also faces aggravated robbery, commercial burglary, fraudulent use of a credit card and theft of property charges.

First Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long of Forrest City said attorneys in his office are still reviewing whether to seek the death penalty.

Bourassa is being represented by attorneys in the state public defender’s office.

Tags: ,

Category: Church Security

Comments are closed.