A Terrebonne Parish grand jury took less than an hour to find a 48-year-old Houma man guilty of second-degree murder today for the death of his roommate whose decomposing body was found in Cocodrie two years ago.
Simon John Quinn, of 437 Ansley Circle, was also found guilty of obstruction of justice for stuffing the body of Robbie James Coulon, 46, into a plastic tote box and abandoning it in a Cocodrie waterway May 7, 2015.
“We’re pleased with the verdict and are happy for the family,” said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Elfert, who prosecuted the case with Assistant District Attorney Seth Dodd. “They hopefully can get some closure out of the verdict.”
Coulon’s body was discovered by a Chauvin fisherman May 14, 2015, and Quinn was indicted for second-degree murder on Sept. 9 of that year.
Prosecutors said Quinn became furious when he learned Coulon had stolen and pawned an Xbox 360 that belonged to his son. Quinn had been angry at his roommate for some time, and the theft of the game machine was enough to drive him to murder, Elfert said.
“These guys were friends, but that friendship deteriorated,” Dodd said during closing arguments. “He wasn’t happy about the way Robbie lived his life. Quinn got more and more upset. This is a man who wanted it his way or no other way. He took all of his rage out on the victim and killed him. He then threw him out like yesterday’s garbage. Why would somebody do that? He wanted to get rid of every piece of evidence as he could.”
Dr. Cameron Snider, a forensic pathologist who performed Coulon’s autopsy May 15, 2015, said the victim died of asphyxiation.
Although Coulon’s body was in the early stages of postmortem decomposition when the autopsy was performed, his organs were fairly well preserved, Snider said. The swelling of the victim’s brain and discoloration of his internal organs indicated a lack of oxygen. There were no marks on his neck.
Snider could not pinpoint exactly how the asphyxiation occurred, but he did offer the jury some probable causes such as a bed sheet being wrapped around his throat or suffocation by a plastic bag. Both a bed sheet and a plastic bag were recovered at the crime scene, prosecutors said.
Quinn’s public defender, Kathryn Lirette, contended there was no murder to begin with.
“Murder doesn’t mean death,” Lirette said. “Murder is the killing of a human being by act, procurement or omission. Someone has to be killed. He died because of asphyxiation. The manner of death was undetermined.
That is reasonable doubt. Yeah, Mr. Quinn was mad, but do you really think he killed him over an Xbox? No matter how the DA tries to spin it, these two were friends. Mr. Quinn was shocked at finding his friend’s dead body in his apartment.”
Earlier in the week, Quinn’s ex-girlfriend, Jeanie Gamble, said during testimony that Quinn told her he found Coulon’s lifeless body in his apartment and panicked that police would blame him for the death because of his prior criminal history.
“He was pale white and said he couldn’t believe it that (Coulon) killed himself,” Gamble said. “He was saying stuff about having warrants and wanting to move the body.”