Murder defendant in murder-for-hire must pay for own attorney

Murder defendant in murder-for-hire must pay for own attorney

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A Caddo Parish judge has ruled that second-degree murder defendant Linda Kate Passaniti will have to pay for her own defense.

Passaniti was arrested in March in connection with a murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of Ernest Luttrell in July 2010. A Caddo Parish Grand Jury also indicted Passaniti with conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and three counts of forgery. Passaniti is the daughter of Loretta Luttrell, who was previously charged in the case.

At the time, Passaniti claimed to be unable to afford a defense attorney, and Judge John Mosely assigned indigent defender Stan Lockard to represent her. Then word came of a $25,000 trust belonging to Passaniti's husband, a house in San Antonio and a reference to noted local attorney Marty Stroud about possibly defending Passaniti.

Lockard moved to reverse a declaration of indigency that allowed Passaniti to have a court-appointed attorney, and Mosely agreed with Lockard's motion.

After the ruling, Mosely asked Passaniti if she understood the day's events, and Passaniti said she did. But when she asked to speak further, Mosely denied her request.

Passaniti remains in custody at the Caddo Correctional Center.

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