Family member of Nathaniel Code’s victims speaks to state panel

"After so many years — why has nothing been done?”

Albert Culbert, Jr. testifies during Louisiana legislative panel on the death penalty

BATON ROUGE, LA (KSLA) - A man who lost three family members in a quadruple murder about 34 years ago spoke to state officials about the death penalty Tuesday morning.

A legislative panel met to investigate why Louisiana allegedly has delayed justice for family members of Nathaniel R. Code Jr.'s victims and relatives of other victims whose killers still sit on death row.

Attorney General Jeff Landry says he, three members of victims’ families, Louisiana Justice Department experts and others testified before the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee in the Louisiana House of Representatives at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge.

The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections was not invited to today’s hearing.

LA state penalty at capitol

Among the witnesses who testified is Albert Culbert Jr., who lost three family members in a quadruple murder about 34 years ago.

“In 1990, Nathaniel Code was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder in Shreveport, Louisiana, by a jury of 12,” Culbert said. “So we ask this jury: After so many years — why has nothing been done?”

The family members he lost were his sister Vivian Culbert Chaney, his brother Jerry Culbert, Chaney’s 15-year-old daughter, Carlitha, and Vivian Chaney’s boyfriend Billy Joe Harris.

They died in a brutal attack July 19, 1985, in Shreveport’s Cedar Grove neighborhood.

Code was convicted in those murders in 1987.

Nathaniel R. Code Jr., Shreveport's first convicted serial killer, still sits on Death Row at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. (Source: Shreveport Police Department)
Nathaniel R. Code Jr., Shreveport's first convicted serial killer, still sits on Death Row at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. (Source: Shreveport Police Department)

Code has been at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola since January 1991.

At this time, there still is no timetable for executing Code.

It’s been nine years since Louisiana has conducted an execution.

“We believe in the power of forgiveness; but we also believe that Nathaniel Code must and should pay his debt to to society," Culbert testified Tuesday.

“We did not put Nathaniel Code on death row. Even those 12 jurors who found him guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in Shreveport, Louisiana, did not put Nathaniel Code on death row," he continued.

“Nathaniel Code put himself on death row in 1984 when he decided to snatch the life of Deborah Ford. Nathaniel Code put himself on death row when he took the lives of Vivian, Carlitha, Jerry and Billy Joe Harris. Nathaniel Code put himself on death row in 1987 when he took the lives of those two young boys, Eric and Joe, and his grandfather Nathaniel Code.”

Below is a timeline of how Code got to Louisiana’s death row:

Louisiana’s Corrections Department has 70 people on death row. They include 13 each from Caddo and East Baton Rouge parishes.

The only woman on Louisiana’s death row is 23-year-old Antoinett Frank.

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