Husband gets life, no parole in killing of Marianne McLaughlin

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

[04/29/01] A Louisiana man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for killing his wife, a Vicksburg native, and hiding her body in a Franklin County forest.

Roy McLaughlin Jr., 43, was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Marianne McLaughlin, whose body was not found until 18 months after she disappeared from her Baton Rouge home.

Marianne McLaughlin’s June 1998 disappearance occurred about five days before the couple’s first scheduled hearing in a divorce case. In December 1999, a hunter found her skull in the Homochitto National Forest, not far from where Roy McLaughlin owns property in Franklin County. Authorities found more body parts near the site a few days later.

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Roy McLaughlin denied any involvement in his wife’s disappearance and claimed he was being framed.

A week after his wife disappeared, Roy McLaughlin was arrested at a Mississippi motel, where authorities said he was trying to persuade two women and an underage girl to pose for photographs.

Roy McLaughlin was jailed again shortly afterward in Baton Rouge on unrelated charges of passing a bad check and food stamp fraud. He was then booked with murder in June 1999 after a report from a jailhouse snitch.

According to an affidavit, an inmate at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison told sheriff’s officials that Roy McLaughlin told him and other inmates that “he just lost it and killed (his wife)” when she demanded a divorce.

James Howard Johnson, one of the inmates, also claimed Roy McLaughlin said he smothered his wife with a pillow at a hotel and cut up her body. However, there was no evidence on the corpse.

Marianne McLaughlin, a 1976 graduate of St. Aloysius High School, was the daughter of Rose Allison of Vicksburg and Dr. James Allison, a former Vicksburg pediatrician. The McLaughlins had two sons, both teen-agers a the time of their mother’s disappearance.