by Robert A. Waters
A rampage of rape and murder ended on the evening of January 7, 2010, when Gerald Bordelon fell asleep and never woke up. His execution at Angola Prison in Louisiana ended the career of a vicious serial rapist and child-killer.
Bordelon’s first recorded sex offense took place in 1979, when he abducted and raped an 18-year-old girl in Baton Rouge. Committed to a mental institution, he gained his freedom in less than two years.
In 1982, he picked a woman up off the street and raped her. Tried and convicted, Bordelon received a sentence of 10 years in prison.
In the criminal justice system, ten years never means ten years. By 1990, Bordelon was out on parole. It didn’t take him long to abduct a 22-year-old East Baton Rouge woman. Forcing her into an abandoned building, he raped her. For this brutal crime, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
But since twenty years never means twenty years, the rapist was released on parole after less than ten.
In 2001, Bordelon met Jennifer Kocke online, and they soon married. Part of the attraction for Bordelon were Kocke’s two pretty daughters. Twelve-year-old Courtney LeBlanc had blonde hair and brown eyes, and Bordelon couldn’t wait to get his hands on her.
Although the State Parole Board informed Kocke that Bordelon was a twice-convicted sex predator, she allowed him to move in with her and her children. Soon the inevitable happened. Courtney and her sister informed their mom that their step-father had fondled them. Jennifer Bordelon belatedly separated from her husband.
On November 15, 2002, Bordelon drove by his wife’s Denham Springs mobile home. Seeing her car gone, he parked in a wooded area behind the house. The twice-paroled registered sex offender then entered the house through the back door.
Courtney was alone, sleeping on the sofa. Bordelon threatened her with a kitchen knife and abducted her. In his videotaped cofession eleven days later, he said, "I took Courtney and told her if she screamed or hollered or tried to get away, I was going to kill her."
He drove the frightened pre-teen into nearby Mississippi. There Bordelon forced Courtney to perform oral sex on him. Then he took her to Baton Rouge where he parked near the Amite River. At knife-point, the sex offender compelled the child to walk down a trail to the water. Bordelon strangled Courtney, but she fought back, biting him. His blood was later found on her shirt.
After hiding her body in the brush, he drove to his sister’s house and washed his clothes.
It didn’t take police long to connect Bordelon to the missing girl. Eleven days after the murder, he was caught. He confessed and led police to Courtney’s body.
In 2003, he briefly escaped from the Livingston Parish jail. Then he set his cell on fire.
In 2006, a jury convicted Bordelon of kidnapping, rape, and capital murder. A judge sentenced him to death.
In 2007, he waived his appeals. Bordelon said: “I’m not one of the guys who is going to say: ‘I’m not guilty.’ I am guilty. If someone did to my daughter or to anyone what I did to Courtney then in my opinion they deserve the death penalty. Why should I look at it any differently for myself?”
True to his word, he went to his death never having filed an appeal.
Bordelon's execution brought the anti-death penalty groups out of the woodwork. The ACLU asked Governor Bobby Jindal to stop the execution. Jindal turned them down, saying, “In Louisiana, as across this country, the death penalty is reserved for only the most heinous, the most violent, the most atrocious crimes. I think justice will be done...”
One anti-death penalty website claimed that “Bordelon’s death was the result of multiple, compounded perversions of our criminal justice system.” To most, however, his death seemed rather to be the inevitable result of his own brutal and perverted actions.
Gerald Bordelon suffered little during his final minutes. Unlike Courtney LeBlanc, he simply went to sleep and never woke up.