BENTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A man accused in the 2008 deaths of his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather, and teen-aged son will appear in Bossier Parish district court on Tuesday, May 23.  

In August 2011, a Bossier Parish Jury convicted 49-year-old Robert McCoy of first-degree murder in the deaths of Willie Young, Christine Colston, and 17-year-old Gregory Colston.

McCoy was sentenced to the death penalty.  

But in May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned McCoy’s conviction and sentence after affirming his claim that McCoy’s then-attorney, Larry English, did not heed McCoy’s instructions during the trial or the death penalty phase of the trial.  

Despite McCoy’s objections, English told the jury McCoy committed the murders but was in a mental state that prevented him from forming specific intent, which must be proved for a guilty first-degree murder verdict. McCoy, who testified in his own defense, claimed the three were killed by corrupt Bossier police.

The jury found McCoy guilty of first-degree murder in all three of the deaths.  

In arguing against the death penalty, English again admitted McCoy’s guilt, hoping mitigating factors would convince the jury to vote for life in prison rather than the death penalty. However, the jury unanimously sentenced McCoy to the death penalty.   

McCoy appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which upheld the verdicts. McCoy’s lawyers then took the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, and after hearing arguments from both sides in October 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the guilty verdicts and death penalty sentence.

McCoy’s case was sent back to Bossier for a retrial in May 2018.

McCoy, who had been on death row at Angola State Prison since his 2011 conviction, was sent back to Bossier’s Maximum Security facility in Plain Dealing where he still remains.  

Though it has been five years since McCoy was sent back to Bossier Parish to stand trial, and nearly 12 years since his original conviction, a number of setbacks have caused delays. One such delay was COVID-19 restrictions, and another was the recusal of all judges in the 26th Judicial District.

The 26th Judicial District includes both Bossier and Webster Parishes.  

In April, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman to preside over McCoy’s trial. Pitman set May 23 as the date for the first hearing.  

The May 23 hearing will deal with scheduling issues, including hearing dates for the plethora of motions submitted by McCoy’s attorneys Richard Bourke and Russell Barksdale of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center.

The case will be prosecuted by Bossier Parish Assistant District Attorneys Alexandria Aiello and Joseph Nerrin.