Ponchatoula teen pleads not guilty to murdering ex-girlfriend's mom

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 27 at 8:41 PM

Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

PONCHATOULA - It's been two months since a quiet Ponchatoula neighborhood was thrown into chaos when 39-year-old April Vander Linden was shot and killed in her backyard and a manhunt ensued for the suspected shooter, 18-year-old Ryan Pourciau.

It ended with an armed Pourciau being shot by a deputy while hiding under a bed in the victim's home.

In court Thursday, more details about that April day emerged as Pourciau pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, violating a protective order and pornography involving juveniles.

When considering bail, prosecutors claimed the day before the murder, Pourciau went to school at Ponchatoula High, which his ex-girlfriend, the Vander Linden's daughter, also attended, saying he couldn't stop thinking of ways to torture the girl.

Bail was denied a second time.

The district attorney didn't want to go on camera, but says his office pursued a second-degree murder charge, instead of the original arrest on first-degree murder, because the protective order was for the victim's daughter, not the victim.

Pourciau's attorney says the case will be a challenge.

"It's going to be a long process,"  said Gary Jordan. "I don't know anything about the state's case. I'm waiting to get that information and then we will go forward."

The Vander Linden family was in court Thursday, but did not want to talk. Instead, April's husband Brett sent a statement to Eyewitness News. He said, “The legal process may take some time, but our family is committed to getting justice for April. We are pleased with the judge's ruling to deny bond. The safety of my children was our greatest concern today."

The district attorney's office expects the case to get to trial in 12 to 16 months. It's also pursuing charges of attempted murder of a police officer tied to the case.

Pourciau's next hearing date is in September.

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