SAN ANTONIO, TX (KSLA) - A new arrest has been made in the murder-for-hire plot that resulted in the death of Ernest Luttrell in July 2010: his step-daughter.
A Caddo Parish Grand Jury has returned a secret indictment against Linda Kate Passaniti for second-degree murder, 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.
In an interview with KSLA News 12 in July 2010, Passaniti repeatedly insisted that her mother would never have had anything to do with her husband's death, describing her as emotional at her husband's funeral. "When they handed her the flag, she cried. She didn't get to see him. Never got to say goodbye to him."
She also indicated that her mother did not know what she was thinking all of the time and that she could not have planned the killing.
Passaniti was arrested on Thursday, March 22, by the San Antonio Police Department on a bench warrant as a result of the indictment.
Investigators from the District Attorney's Office traveled to San Antonio on Thursday to assist in the execution of a search warrant at Passaniti's residence at the time of her arrest. Passaniti is being held in San Antonio pending extradition.
According to the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, documents recovered in the initial investigation led investigators to evaluate Passaniti's participation and involvement in the manipulation of Ernest Luttrell's finances prior to and after his death.
Passaniti has refused to consent extradition. A Governor's Warrant will be obtained to order her to be returned to Caddo Parish, where she will be taken to the Caddo Correctional Center and arraigned on the murder and forgery charges in Caddo District court as a co-defendant with her mother, who was found incompetent to stand trial earlier this year.
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