Coroner: Marrero murder-suicide suspect placed toys, dolls around his children after stabbing them

The New Orleans Advocate

Liam and Caten Mata, ages 2 and 4
Liam and Caten Mata, ages 2 and 4 The Advocate

The man who committed a triple murder in Marrero placed dolls and toys around his young sons’ bodies to create a macabre, staged scene before killing himself Sunday morning, the Jefferson Parish coroner said Monday.

Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said investigators believe David Mata, 46, killed his wife Kelli, 40, and their sons Liam and Caden, 2 and 4, by slicing their necks inside the family’s home in the 4800 block of Brandi Street in Marrero. Mata had several stab wounds himself, Cvitanovich said, but authorities suspect he ultimately died of an overdose.

The coroner’s assessment of the bloody murder-suicide came as friends and acquaintances expressed shock that Mata could have slain his wife of three years and their two children.

There had been at least one warning sign, however: Mata cut Kelli, then his girlfriend, in the face with a glass vase when she was 8½ months pregnant with one of their children, according to a 2010 police report.

Cvitanovich said the bathrooms and kitchen in the Matas’ well-kept house were clean. Inside the boys’ separate rooms, both Caden and Liam were lying in their beds with blankets pulled up to their necks — and both of those necks had been sliced once.

“He had laid toys and dolls around the boys,” Cvitanovich said. “It was staged.”

Closer to the front door, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. John Fortunato, the boys’ parents were found together in a pool of blood.

Read the full story at The New Orleans Advocate.