2 indicted in August homicides
Two men in separate Morgan City homicides are scheduled for an arraignment hearing Nov. 19 in 16th Judicial District Court in Franklin.
Keith Allen Murphy, 51 was charged and indicted by a St. Mary Parish grand jury for second degree murder and Fernando Ariano, 34, was indicted for manslaughter.
Indictments were returned for each Oct. 28 in Franklin and they are to appear before Judge James McClelland for their hearings.
A Morgan City police arrest affidavit accuses Murphy of killing Robert Michael Gasek, 57, by bashing him in the face at least twice with a guitar on Aug. 15.
The affidavit provides the following information:
Murphy had been released from substance abuse treatment three days before and was staying with Gasek at 2321 Clements Street “until he could get back on track and get back with his wife” whom he had lived with the past 16 years. Murphy told police that Gasek had been rude and berating toward him and he had grown tired of the treatment.
Murphy said he and Gasek had been drinking beer when Gasek told him to tune a guitar, which he did. Murphy said when Gasek criticized the way he had tuned the guitar, he struck Gasek in the face with the instrument. Gasek fell forward and appeared to be getting back up when Murphy said he hit him again in the face with the guitar.
Murphy said he put Gasek on the couch still alive but when the victim stopped breathing Murphy fled. He called his wife and told her what he had done and informed one of the neighbors of what had happened and told that person to call police.
Police said when they arrived on the scene, Murphy was sitting on the front steps of the house and admitted to police he had been responsible for the victim’s death. Police collected a guitar, with what appeared to be blood on it, lying against the couch where the victim was found. There were also small blood splatters on the wall above where the victim was found.
Records reveal Murphy has had several arrests and convictions for drug and alcohol offenses, including drug distribution and at least four arrests for driving while intoxicated.
Ariano is accused of having shot and killed his brother, Mario Barahona, 29, near midnight Aug. 31 at an apartment in the 700 block of Federal Avenue.
The Morgan City police arrest affidavit said Fernando Ariano confessed to shooting his brother but his recollection of the shooting differs from that of his nephew, Christopher Ariano. Fernando Ariano said the murder weapon, a .38-caliber revolver, accidentally discharged during an argument with the victim. His nephew said Ariano deliberately pointed the gun at Barahona and him, and Ariano shot Barahona after the victim said, “pull it, pull it.”
The affidavit provides the following additional information.
Christopher Ariano said he and his two uncles had been at the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum festival earlier that evening having a good time and drinking alcoholic beverages. Upon returning home, Fernando Ariano had become upset with him when he asked about buying some cocaine and began arguing with him. Barahona tried to intervene and stop the arguing, which Christopher Ariano said upset Fernando Ariano even more.
Christopher Ariano accused his uncle of getting a gun from underneath a bed and pointing it at him and the victim. He said after shooting Barahona, his uncle struck him in the head with the gun and fled the house.
Fernando Ariano’s statement to the police was similar in most details. He said he consumed a significant amount of alcohol including a 12-pack of beer and three or four large cups of alcoholic beverages from the festival. He said his brother and nephew had consumed about the same amount of alcohol.
He denied the argument with his nephew was over drugs, but did admit there was an argument and Barahona had told him to leave his nephew alone, and he did so. He admitted getting the revolver and holding it in his lap. He said Barahona asked him if he was going to shoot him and told him to put the gun away. Fernando Ariano said he was not going to shoot but the gun discharged while in his hand. He said he threw the gun down and his nephew tried to keep him there, but he pushed his nephew away and bolted into a nearby wooded area.
There were two other occupants in the house at the time of the shooting. They both said they were asleep in another room when they heard what appeared to be an argument between the two brothers. Then they heard a single shot and they called the police.
When police arrived they noticed that inside and outside the house, the scene was littered with “numerous empty beer bottles and “Hurricane” cups consistent with those which could be purchased at the festival.
Police said they began searching for Fernando Ariano from the time that they responded into the early morning. At about 7 a.m. the road patrol located and detained him at the residence where the shooting occurred. The police said he appeared to be dirty and scraped up.