• 46°

Estranged husband convicted in former resident’s slaying

[03/28/01] A Louisiana man accused of killing his estranged wife, a longtime Vicksburg resident, was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder and will automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

Roy McLaughlin Jr., 43, was convicted in Baton Rouge in the death of Marianne Allison McLaughlin. She was last seen at her home in Baton Rouge on June 11, 1998, after telling relatives she planned to meet with her estranged husband to discuss their pending divorce.

Marianne McLaughlin, the daughter of Rose Allison of Vicksburg and Dr. James Allison, a former Vicksburg pediatrician, was a 1976 graduate of St. Aloysius High School in Vicksburg.

The couple had two sons, both teen-agers at the time of their mother’s disappearance.

Marianne McLaughlin disappeared about five days before their first scheduled hearing in the divorce case. A hunter found her body in the Homochitto National Forest in Franklin County 18 months after her disappearance.

A jail inmate, James Howard Johnson, testified that Roy McLaughlin said he smothered his wife with a pillow at a hotel after she told him she wanted a divorce. Defense attorneys pointed out that Johnson also claimed that Roy McLaughlin said he had cut up the body, but there was no evidence of that on the corpse.

Louisiana law requires a trial to be held in the parish where the offense was committed. If acts constituting an offense or if the elements of an offense occurred in more than one place, the offense is assumed to have been committed in any parish where any such act or element occurred.