DA Warren Montgomery says a St. Tammany jury found 40 YO Kenya A. Despenza, of Slidell, guilty as charged of second-degree murder for stabbing her aunt to death in the home they shared. The victim, Dianne Bercy, who opened her home in Slidell to Despenza when her troubled niece had nowhere else to go, was stabbed 56 times sometime between the night of July 28th last year and the following morning. When family members did not hear from Bercy for a few days, they went to her home to check on her and found her body in her bedroom. Bercy’s car also was missing.
Detectives later located the car at University Medical Center in New Orleans, where Despenza had admitted herself for a mental evaluation.
Despenza’s own words during recorded telephone conversations with family members provided some motive for the attack. In a call to her mother, Despenza expressed disdain for the victim and accused Bercy and other relatives of refusing to help her, blackballing her, disconnecting her Internet connection, and making her walk to work. Despenza faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.