Antoinette Renee Frank (born April 30, 1971) is one of two women on death row in Louisiana.
On March 4, 1995, Frank was employed as a New Orleans police officer when she and accomplice Rogers Lacaze committed an armed robbery at a restaurant and a killed New Orleans police officer and two family members who were working at the restaurant. The motive of the murders was money.
Frank interviewed with the New Orleans Police Department in January 1993. Despite that she was caught lying several times on her application and that after completing two psychiatric evaluations a firm "do not hire" status was recommended, the decision was made to hire her anyway.
As a police officer cruising the streets of New Orleans, she came off as weak, indecisive and as some of her co-workers stated, borderline irrational.
After her first six months on the force, her supervisor was close to having her return to the police academy for more training, but there was a shortage of manpower and she was needed on the streets. Instead, he teamed her up with a seasoned officer.
Roger Lacaze was a known 18-year-old drug dealer who had been shot. Frank was the officer assigned to take his statement and a relationship between the two immediately transpired. Frank decided that she was going to help Lacaze turn his life around. However, the relationship quickly turned into a sexual one.
Frank and Lacaze began spending a lot of time together and she did little to hide it from her fellow police officers or her superiors. She allowed him to ride in her police car when she was on duty and he sometimes accompanied her on calls. She would sometimes introduce him as a "trainee" or nephew.
On March 4, 1995, Frank and Lacze showed up at the Kim Anh Vietnamese restaurant in east New Orleans, Louisiana, at 11 p.m. Frank had worked security at the restaurant and was on friendly terms with the family that owned and ran it. They would often give her food for free, even when she was not working.
Fellow police officer Ronald Williams also worked security at the restaurant and was responsible for scheduling the other officers. He was there when Frank and Lacaze showed up. Frank introduced Lacaze as her nephew, but Williams recognized him as a thug who he had stopped on more than one occasion.
At around midnight, 24-year-old Chau Vu, who was working the restaurant with her sister and two brothers, decided it was slow enough to close. She was headed to the back to balance the money, when she noticed that the key to the restaurant was missing since the last time she had let Frank and her nephew out.
She continued on to the kitchen to count money, then returned to the dining room to pay Williams who was working security that night. Frank suddenly appeared back at the restaurant, shaking the door to come in. Sensing something was wrong, she went into the back and hid the money in the microwave, then returned to the front of the restaurant.
Earlier, after the first time the couple left, Williams told Chau Frank and her nephew were bad news. Chau had already decided that she did trust Frank after seeing her nephew, who looked like a gang member with his gold front teeth.
Chau's 18-year-old brother Quoc Vu, was talking with Williams when Frank returned. Chau shouted to him, not to let her in, but Frank came in on her own, using the missing key to open the door.
As Frank walked into the restaurant, Williams approached her and confronted her about having a key, but she ignored him and continued towards the kitchen, shoving Chau and Quoc along with her.
In the meantime, Lacaze, armed with a 9 mm pistol, came into the restaurant and shot Williams in the back of the head at close range, which immediately severed his spinal cord. Williams fell, paralyzed, and Lacaze shot him two more times in the head and back, killing him.
He then took the officers revolver and his wallet.
During the shooting, Frank's attention turned to Lacaze, and Chau grabbed Quoc and an employee named Vui and they fled to the restaurant's walk in- cooler, turned off the lights and hid.
Chau, then Quoc carefully looked through the glass of the cooler to see what was going on. They watched as Frank and Lacaze searched frantically for the money. When they found it, they went to where Chau's older brother and sister were and forced them to their knees. The two siblings held hands and began praying and begging for their lives.
Frank shot both of them at close range with the same gun LaCaze had used to kill Williams. Then the killers began searching for the others. Assuming that they had escaped, Frank and Lacaze left the restaurant and drove away.
Quoc ran to the neighbors to call 9.1.1. while Chau stayed at the restaurant. She also called 911 but was so distraught after finding her brother and sister, and Williams dead, that she was unable to communicate clearly.
Frank returned to the restaurant just seconds before the police. As Chau ran from the restaurant to a female police officer, it appeared that Frank was running after her, but she was stopped by the officers. She identified herself as a police officer and said that three masked men had escaped out the back door.
Frank then approached Chau, and asked her what happened and if she was alright. Chau, in disbelief, and in broken English, asked why she would ask that, because she was there and knew what had happened. Sensing Chau's fear, the female officer pulled Chau away and told Frank not to leave. Slowly Chau was able to say what had happened. When Quoc returned to the scene, he validated what Chau had said.
Frank was escorted to headquarters, after supplying the investigators with information on where she had dropped Lacaze off after leaving the restaurant after the shooting. When they were each interrogated, they pointed the finger at each other as being the trigger man. Frank finally said that she shot the younger brother and sister, but only because Lacaze had a gun to her head.
They were both charged with armed robbery and murder.
Death by Lethal Injection
LaCaze trial was first. He tried to convince the jury that he was not at the restaurant and that Frank had acted alone. He was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.
In October 1995 the jury sentenced Frank to death by lethal injection for the murders of Officer Ronald Williams and Ha and Cuong Vu.
Update: Rogers Lacaze is Granted a New Trial
On July 23, 2015, Judge Michael Kirby granted Rogers Lacaze a new trial because a former police officer was on the jury, which was in violation of jury rules. The juror, David Settle, never revealed that he had worked for 20 years with the police.