Handyman accused in strangling deaths of couple found at Hammond truck stop

The New Orleans Advocate

Denis and Suzanne Duplantier
Denis and Suzanne Duplantier The Advocate

A man who did odd jobs for a Baton Rouge couple and lived in a barn on their property was arrested Wednesday in Florida and accused of strangling them and then leaving their bodies at a Hammond gas station.

Authorities went to Hollywood, Florida, and arrested Ernesto Llerena Alonso, 42, in the deaths of Denis “Bubby” Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne “Suzy” Duplantier, 70, Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said.

After Alonso is returned to Louisiana, he will be booked with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, unauthorized entry and possibly robbery, Dabadie said.

Lt. Jonathan Dunnan, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, said authorities do not know yet where the Duplantiers were killed.

Dunnan did say there is “one or more” people involved in the slayings and that detectives were interviewing Alonso in Florida to determine the identity of his accomplice.

Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman, said Alonso lived in a barn at 4950 Nicholson Drive, on property owned by the Duplantiers. He was living there until he fled to Florida Sunday or Monday, McKneely said.

While authorities weren’t sure how long Alonso had been living in the barn, East Baton Rouge Parish Court Clerk records show Alonso was given a speeding ticket in August 2011 that listed the same address.

Dabadie said Alonso performed odd jobs, including handyman and maintenance work, for the Duplantiers though the investigation is still in its early stages.

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The couple’s bodies were found Monday night at the Hammond gas station by police after worried family members reported them missing.

Their bodies were in the backseat of their red pickup truck parked in a remote area of the gas station’s parking lot.