Trial delayed for Louisiana inmates charged with slaying of Ohio man

Published 10:41 pm Friday, October 26, 2012

The trial for two Louisiana inmates charged with kidnapping an Ohio businessman from Vicksburg and killing him later has been delayed until February.

Ricky Wedgeworth of Memphis and Darian “Drake” Pierce of Bogalusa, La., are charged with kidnapping David Cupps, 53, from a hotel on Pemberton Square Boulevard on March 4, 2011, after the two escaped from the Louisiana State Police compound in Baton Rouge.

They were part of a work detail at the compound.

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A filing Friday said Wedgeworth’s lawyer is “continuing to work with other jurisdictions to consolidate all charges so that a plea agreement might be entered in this matter.” The trial had been scheduled for next month, but is now set for Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Natchez. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

Cupps, from Sunbury, Ohio, was on an overnight trip to Vicksburg for contract work at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station in Claiborne County.

His body was found dumped March 9, 2011, outside a motel in Bessemer, Ala.

The inmates were caught March 14, 2011, after crashing a pickup in Memphis. Police said that before their capture, the men tied up a county park worker and stole a government parks department truck from Madison County, Tenn.

In September, Cupps’ family filed a lawsuit against Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana corrections department alleging that the men should not have been allowed on a work crew because they were convicted of violent crimes.

Wedgeworth was serving time for armed robbery, and Pierce was in prison for attempted second-degree murder. They are believed to have stolen a prison van before hitchhiking to Vicksburg and spending the weekend here before carjacking Cupps.