Detectives: Love Triangle Led to Park Killings - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/06/08 - ZACHARY, LA (WAFB)

Detectives: Love Triangle Led to Park Killings

Dominic Dantoni Smith Dominic Dantoni Smith
Trendall Lashel Matthews Trendall Lashel Matthews

Investigators say a complicated love triangle led to the killings of a Baker woman and her three-year-old son at a BREC park in Zachary, Louisiana.

The victims have been identified as 23-year-old Jessica Johnson Palmer and her son, Juan Palmer, Jr.  Her two daughters were also injured, but survived.   

Johnson's former boyfriend, Dominic Dantoni Smith of Zachary, and his current girlfriend, Trendall Lashel Matthews of Jackson, Louisiana were arrested overnight.  Matthews is a second-cousin of the victim, according to relatives.

Both are charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.  

"They actually lured Jessica to the park along with her children, where the killings took place," said sheriff's department spokeswoman Casey Hicks. 

Detectives believe the killings took place sometime Sunday evening at Doyle's Bayou Park on Pride-Port Hudson Road. After the killings took place, the two young girls spent the evening in the park. They were discovered Monday afternoon by a BREC working cutting grass in.

Johnson and her son were found in wooded area of the park. One of the two girls, a four-year-old, had a slit to her throat. Detectives say Smith is the father of the four-year-old but is not the father of any of the victim's other children.

Both of the girls are being treated at a Baton Rouge hospital. They are expected to survive, Hicks said.

The park, located at 7801 Pride-Port Hudson Road, is in the northwest part of East Baton Rouge Parish near the East Feliciana Parish line.

Story, pictures, and video from WAFB 9NEWS.


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