Life without parole recommended in Ark. killing

Rene Bourassa Jr.
Rene Bourassa Jr.
Lillian Wilson
Lillian Wilson
WYNNE, Ark. (AP) - A Cross County jury has recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole for an Alabama drifter it convicted in the fatal beating of an 80-year-old woman at a rural church in eastern Arkansas.

The panel deliberated two hours Friday to determine a punishment for Rene Bourassa, whom it found guilty of capital murder in the 2010 death of Lillian Wilson.

Authorities say Wilson had stopped at Central United Methodist Church near Wynne to pick up donations for storm victims. They alleged that Bourassa's car broke down near Wynne, and he got inside the church to sleep there.

Officials allege he struck Wilson repeatedly with a brass cross.

Jurors said 10 of them initially voted for life without parole, one voted for the death penalty and another didn't vote.


WYNNE, Ark. (AP) - A jury in northeastern Arkansas will deliberate Friday on whether a man convicted of beating an elderly woman to death should receive the death penalty or a sentence of life in prison without parole.
Jurors deliberated about three hours Thursday before convicting Rene Bourassa Jr. of capital murder. He admitted beating 80-year-old woman Lillian Wilson with a brass cross.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports ( ) that Bourassa showed no emotion as the verdict was read. The jury also convicted him of aggravated robbery, theft of property, fraudulent use of a credit card and commercial burglary.
Both sides agreed that Bourassa killed Wilson, but defense attorneys urged the jury to consider a lesser charge. The only possible sentences for a capital murder conviction are life in prison or the death penalty.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,
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