april 9, 2014
MANSFIELD — Recently convicted child killer Brian Horn will be formally sentenced to death at 9 a.m. May 28.
District Judge Robert Burgess set the sentencing date Wednesday. It falls a few days after the 45-day window he initially envisioned Saturday after a jury voted unanimously to sentence Horn to death.
Even though the sentence is a given because of the jury vote, Burgess said he is required by the Louisiana Supreme Court to prepare a uniform capital sentence report. It likely will be dozens of pages in length to give a comprehensive overview of Horn and aspects of his trial.
For example, the report will include information such as the makeup of Horn’s family, his education level, any expert witnesses who testified at the penalty phase, work history, criminal history, details of the crime and victim, acknowledgment of the defense counsel and their years of experience and general information about the trial, including jury selection.
Also added will be a listing of previous first-degree murder cases, not restricted to capital cases, on dockets of the 42nd Judicial District, formerly the 11th Judicial District.
“It is a lot of work. It not only includes the name of the case but the facts of the case,” Burgess said.
Additionally, the sentencing order requires the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ Division of Probation and Parole to perform a complete capital sentence investigation report, with that information attached to Burgess’ report.
Horn, 37, of Keachi was convicted April 2 of first-degree murder in the March 30, 2010 death of Justin M. Bloxom, 12, of Stonewall. The twice-convicted sex offender used text messages, portraying himself as a teenage girl, to lure Bloxom away from a friend’s home.
Horn picked up Bloxom in his Action Taxi cab. He ran out of gas on U.S. Highway 171 near Stonewall’s southern limits. And that’s where he smothered Bloxom to death, leaving his body in a small depression of water across the highway fence row.
Horn’s defense team conceded his guilt from the start. However, they contended Bloxom’s death was accidental so they asked for a lesser sentence – one that would have sent Horn to prison for life.
The jury of East Baton Rouge Parish residents took less than an hour to convict Horn after listening to three and a half days of testimony. That moved the trial into the penalty phase, and after two and a half days of additional testimony, the same jury again was again on the same page in deciding Horn should die for the crime.
During the penalty phase, members of Bloxom’s family were able to express to the jury how devastating his death has been for them. At the sentencing, family members will be able to address Horn directly.