DESOTO PARISH, LA (KSLA) – Accused child-killer, cab driver and convicted sex offender Brian Horn will face the death penalty if convicted on charges upgraded Monday by a DeSoto Parish grand jury.
DeSoto Parish prosecutors presented evidence to a grand jury Monday morning of Horn's intent "to kill or cause great bodily harm" in the first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of 12-year-old Justin Bloxom. It took the grand jury less than an hour to return a "true bill," granting the prosecution's request to upgrade the charge from second-degree murder.
Bloxom's family was in the courtroom when the indictment was handed down. Justin's mother Amy looked on, surrounded by family members and close friends, as Horn was asked for his plea to the upgraded charge. Ross Owens, a court-appointed attorney for Horn, entered a plea of 'not guilty' on his behalf.
The 34-year-old was arrested on March 30th, the same day Bloxom's body was found in a watery ditch in the woods just off Highway 171 south of Stonewall. District Attorney Richard Johnson says since then, investigators in both DeSoto and Bossier Parish have gathered evidence and witness statements supporting the allegation that Horn posed as a young girl, using text messages from a cell phone to lure the boy out of his friend's house and into his cab early on the morning of his disappearance.
"This is a very important case, one of the most horrendous crimes I've come across in DeSoto Parish. Perhaps the most horrendous," says DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Johnson. That's why Richards says they will aggressively pursue the death penalty in this case, and he says Bloxom's family is on board with that pursuit. "We've consulted them every step of the way. We seek their opinion on everything that we do. Obviously, we reserve the final decision but we feel it's right to let the family know and be a part of everything that's going on in this case."
Horn remains in the DeSoto Parish Detention Center without bond. A new court date has not been set, but all the attorneys involved expect to meet with Judge Robert E. Burgess, who will preside over the trial, within the next couple of weeks to set hearing and trial dates.
As horrendous as the case may be, Richards says, it's one that won't be resolved overnight. "It's going to be a while. We wish it would go faster, it's just not going to happen. We've told the family to expect that things may proceed at a deliberate pace."