A landlord charged with fatally shooting two of his tenants and setting one of them on fire told police within hours of the killings that the "beast just wanted to get out that day" because the family had taunted him about their refusal to pay rent or move, according to a videotape played yesterday in D.C. Superior Court.
"I just had to get rid of that devil in me . . . , " Francois Robert Bourgeau, told police on the videotape. "I was just irrational, I was just a beast . . . I just went wild."
Bourgeau, 49, of Mount Rainier, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of felony murder in the deaths of Sabrina Shelton, 28, and her sister Darrena Shelton, 25. Bourgeau also is accused of attempting to kill their mother Gloria Shelton in the April 18, 1985, incident at an apartment he owned at 3404 13th St. NW.
Judge Robert M. Scott denied Bourgeau's motion to suppress the statement and ruled that prosecutor Bruce Peterson could introduce the tape as evidence in the trial that is expected to begin today.
Bourgeau, pictured on the videotape wearing the bulletproof jacket police said he had on when he went to the apartment, described how he fumed for months over the family's refusal to leave the apartment or pay rent after the October 1984 death of their grandmother whose name was on the lease.
Bourgeau related on the tape that on Dec. 3, 1984, he attempted to force the family to leave and one of the sisters called the police. "She ordered me to get out, to get out of my apartment," he said, his voice rising.
After the police arrived and arrested him, Bourgeau said he was handcuffed and walked down the streets where he had been "respected" for years. One of the sisters laughed, he said.
From that point on, Bourgeau described a period of constant nightmares and anger.
"I became a beast. I had nightmares every day. My head was pumping blood. I just had to get rid of the devil in me," he told Detective Michael Helwig.
Bourgeau said on the videotape that before going to the apartment on April 18 to try to evict the family he got his shotgun. He said he waited for one sister to return before he went to the door.
"When she opened the door I just shot . . . I went in and I shot everything I saw . . . , " Bourgeau said on the tape. "I went into the living room . . . and my head was pumping so much blood I just saw dark."
Bourgeau said after the shooting he "just went blank."
Darrena Shelton had shared the $280-a-month apartment with her grandmother Selena Toye. Selena Toye's grandson Cardell Shelton had been charged with killing her in her bed at the Washington Hospital Center but charges against him were recently dropped.