Alan DuPras pleads not guilty to killing ex-wife and her mother

Attorney Mark Broughton said it happened in jail during his booking by Fresno County correctional officers, who he said slammed DuPras’ face into the wall while he was being processed, KMJ reports. (Photo: LIZ KERN, KMJ)

UPDATE: September 27, 2018:

The man accused of killing his ex wife and his ex mother-in-law has pleaded not guilty.

Alan DuPras was in court for his arraignment on Thursday and had a black eye, KMJ reports.

Attorney Mark Broughton said it happened in jail during his booking by Fresno County correctional officers, who he said slammed DuPras’ face into the wall while he was being processed, KMJ reports.

DuPras' Defense Attorney Mark Broughton entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to the two counts of murder, two counts of arson, a count of possession of assault weapons and a count of vandalism, for the deaths of DuPras’ estranged wife, 55 year-old Jennifer DuPras and her mother, 88 year-old Cynthia Houk.

Last December, both women were found shot dead in a home on 6200 block of N. Colonial Ave.

KMJ reports that Judge Idiart said DuPras was a threat to the community and denied bail, setting a bail hearing for October 18, 2018.

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office is considering the death penalty if DuPras is found guilty, KMJ reports.

When DuPras was brought into the courtroom, he had a black eye, which his attorney claimed was caused by correctional officers.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

On Tuesday, during the booking process, inmate Alan DuPras became uncooperative with correctional officers. He attempted to walk away from them after he refused to follow their instructions. Officers stopped him from leaving by placing him against a wall. During this action, DuPras hit his left eyebrow area on the wall causing a small cut. He was medically treated; no stitches were necessary.

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Fresno County Sheriff's detectives have arrested 58-year-old Alan DuPras in connection with the killing of his ex-wife and his ex-mother-in-law.

On December 11, 55-year-old Jennifer DuPras and her mother, 88-year-old Cynthia Houk, were found dead in a home on 6200 block of N. Colonial Ave.

DuPras was arrested outside his Kingsburg home Tuesday morning.

"He was cooperative. He made comments that he expected contact from the Sheriff's Office. There was no resistance, he cooperated," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Jennifer DuPras had been a former principal at Washington Elementary in Kingsburg, and had filed for divorce from Alan DuPras.

"What he did was extremely violent, extremely personal," said Mims. "He was going through a divorce and he suspected there was another relationship between Jennifer and another man."

Immediately following the killings, Fresno Sheriff's detectives asked neighbors for surveillance video, as they pieced together the crime.

"The public stepped up. When we asked for it, they provided it. The vehicle was seen in some of the video," Mims said, referring to a white crew cab Chevy Colorado.

Alan DuPras owns a similar truck.

The day after the killings, detectives met with Alan DuPras, but there was no probable cause to arrest him at that time.

Warrants were served as his home in Kingsburg, and his parents' home in Clovis.

For months, the Sheriff's office had been pressured to file charges.

Mims addressed the criticism saying, "It takes time to gather evidence we need, it takes time especially in technology and digital, cooperation from businesses. It takes time to do it. In the eight months it's taken, we need to make sure the DA's office is able in the best way possible to present a case for prosecution. It's worth the wait to make sure we get it right. Better to get it right, than get it fast."

Detectives looking into Jennifer DuPras' killing later learned she had been the victim of arson on her personal vehicle.

She had been the president of the "Alliance Francaise de Fresno", a non-profit that promotes the French language and culture in Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley.

It's building had also been intentionally set on fire in December of 2017.

It had also been previously vandalized.

"We identified the same vehicle in the fires and vandalism," said Jay Tracy with Fresno Fire Department.

That vehicle was a white truck.

While Mims' wouldn't provide many details on the evidence that led to an arrest, she said, "The technology we received this month was what we needed to confirm he was the suspect."

DuPras is being charged with two counts of murder, two counts of arson and possession of an assault weapon.

His bail is set at $3.14 million.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp says her office will be reviewing the case.

"It is eligible for the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole," Smittcamp said. "We will decide once all reports are completed."

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