Second suspect in arson-murder arrested
CROWLEY - The second suspect sought in connection with the Sunday death of an Opelousas woman has been arrested.
Officials with the state Fire Marshal’s Office reported that Nicholas James Dupuis, 33, of Crowley, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with two counts of simple arson and a single count of first-degree murder in the death of Shontel Denise Joseph, 31, of Opelousas.
Kantarise Tatty Jordan Lazaro, 22, of Church Point, was charged Sunday as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
Lazaro later was released after posting $10,000 bond.
According to a statement Lazaro gave to investigators, he was contacted by Dupuis for assistance in disposing of the body of Dupuis’ girlfriend. He said he followed Dupuis to a remote location in a field where he helped place the lifeless body of the woman into a plastic garbage can, which was then doused with gasoline and ignited in a failed attempt to destroy the body.
Lazaro said that, after the garbage can melted away, he and Dupuis placed the remains into Lazaro’s Lincoln Town Car, which Dupuis drove away.
Lazaro said he left the field in another vehicle and had no knowledge or involvement in the murder of the subsequent fire at 639 Choppy’s Road (Louisiana Highway 365), a mobile home which area residents said had been vacant and unoccupied for some time.
Lazaro’s 1999 Town Car was later discovered burned on Blacksmith Road near Brittany Road (Louisiana Highway 95) northwest of Church Point.
It was the burned Town Car that led investigators first to Lazaro.
Preliminary findings in an autopsy conducted Monday established that the victim had suffered two gunshot wounds to the upper torso.
Dupuis has been booked into the Acadia Parish Jail. His total bond was set at $1,050,000.
Investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Office were assisted by investigators from the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office.