COVINGTON—Devin Baham, 24, of Slidell was sentenced late Friday to serve 70 years in prison for stabbing a woman to death and setting her Slidell apartment on fire to cover up the crime in 2012.
Judge Allison H. Penzato sentenced Baham, a multiple offender, to 55 years at hard labor on the manslaughter conviction, 15 years for aggravated arson, and 10 years for obstruction of justice. The arson and obstruction of justice sentences are to run concurrently, but they will begin after the manslaughter sentence ends. Assistant District Attorney Jay Adair handled the sentencing.
Baham was convicted in May in the death of Ashley King, who was stabbed 13 times and set on fire in her home in the early morning hours of Feb. 23, 2012. Two other defendants pled guilty for their roles in the crime. Andrew J. Sumner, 22, of Slidell, who pled guilty March 9 to manslaughter, aggravated arson, and obstruction of justice, is set for sentencing Aug. 29. Sumner’s wife, Katelyn Lusich, 21, who pled guilty in November 2014 to obstruction of justice, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Baham and Sumner were best friends on the afternoon of Feb. 22, 2012, when they acted on a plan to rob King of prescription pills and money. King had sold pills to Sumner multiple times before, but she grew suspicious and began asking questions soon after the men entered her apartment. Baham then punched her, grabbed her from behind, and began stabbing her, as Sumner rushed to the kitchen and listened in panic. Sumner took pills and cash from the apartment and fled the scene with Lusich, who at the time was 17 years old, pregnant, and waiting in the car. Once the couple made it to the upscale Slidell home they shared with Sumner’s mother, Lusich stashed the pills and cash in a safe.
Sumner went back to pick up Baham from a park near King’s apartment, and both of them returned to Sumner’s house, where they siphoned gasoline from a boat in the yard. They backtracked to King’s apartment about 4 a.m., and Baham set it on fire.
Firefighters discovered King’s body and determined quickly that an accelerant had been used. Phone records led police investigators to Sumner, who later implicated Baham. Slidell police officers Jim Davis and Sgt. Sean McClain and former Slidell police officer Robert Chadwick investigated the murder.