Conviction in two-year-old double murder stands

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 26, 2022

The conviction of a Kinder man serving two life sentences for killing an Iowa, La., couple just days after Hurricane Laura destroyed the area will stand — but he has been ordered to appear in trial court again to correct a sentencing error.

Jurors found Scot M. Kidd, 36, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in October 2021 for the deaths of Joan O’Brien, 73, and Zoren O’Brien, 81.

A family member discovered the pair fatally shot inside their home in August of 2020, two days after Hurricane Laura’s arrival.

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Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s deputies and family members said Kidd was an acquaintance of the O’Briens and had previously stayed with them and joined Zoren O’Brien on hunting trips.

During the trial, Kidd took the stand claiming he acted in self-defense, and testifying Zoren O’Brien accidentally shot his wife. Kidd claimed he killed Zoren O’Brien to protect himself.

Prosecutors argued Kidd broke into the O’Briens home and killed the couple before robbing the house.

“He was desperate, he was looking for money, and that’s eventually what he took, along with firearms from their home after, quite frankly, brutally massacring them,” Calcasieu First Assistant District Attorney Jacob Johnson said.

Kidd’s blood was on a flashlight found near the bodies and some of Joan O’Brien’s jewelry was found in the possession of Kidd’s estranged girlfriend, Johnson said.

Kidd claimed in his appeal that jurors were not charged with the law of self-defense, but the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled against that because Kidd did not object to jury instructions at trial. The court also pointed out Kidd filed a notice before trial that he would assert only a defense of voluntary intoxication, not self-defense.

Kidd also argued he should be given a new trial because the missing money was not included in discovery. The court found this lacked merit because Kidd opened himself up to questioning on missing items when he took the stand.

Kidd also claimed his consecutive two life sentences were excessive, but the court ruled “since (the defendant) has but one life to serve, it is difficult to see that a consecutive sentence would penalize him excessively.”

Additionally, the court remand the case to the trial court to correct the sentencing minutes to reflect the trial court imposed Kidd’s two mandatory life sentences to be served at hard labor, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence within 30 days of judgment.