This month I will share stories on Black History Month – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. History isn’t always pretty and sometimes we sanitize that which makes us uncomfortable. Here I will share all facets of Black History and try to focus on people not necessarily in the history books.
The Bad – Antoinette Frank
I finish up this month’s bad with a woman who is bad. Very bad. Sometimes there are cases you hear that you think. “Yeah, this is why we have Capital Punishment.”
Antoinette Renee Frank was born April 30, 1971 in Opelousas, Louisiana. Her childhood was unstable. Her brother was a fugitive and her father drifted in and out of her life – abusing her sexually, mentally, and physically when he was around. She sought psychiatric help to help her with the abuse.
In 1993, Frank applied to become a New Orleans police officer. She was not hired due to numerous red flags that came up – including her lying about her mental state. The psychiatrist who examined her stated she should not be hired due to the fact she was “shallow and superficial.”
But Frank was hired the second time she applied. The police department needed officers as they were losing officers to higher-paying areas. In addition, officers were being arrested for murder and drugs use, and at the time officers had to be residents of New Orleans. All of these issues led to Frank getting hired on Feb. 7, 1993 and graduating from the police academy on Feb. 28, 1993,
She graduated near the top of her class, but her fellow officers thought she was shy and needed more training. On occasion she seemed irrational in behavior.
On Nov. 25, 1994, Rogers Lacaze, a known drug dealer was shot and Frank had to deal with Lacaze. Thinking she could turn the bad boy good, Frank became close to him. Soon their relationship turned sexual, even though Frank risked her job. They were not great at hiding their relationship from other officers, and even went so far as to use her police car to pull over drivers only to rob them.
Frank sometimes worked as a security guard at Kim Anh, a Vietnamese restaurant owned by the Vu family. On March 4, 1995, Ronald A. Williams II was working as a guard that night in the restaurant. He was also a police officer and colleague of Frank. Lacaze and Frank had been to the restaurant twice that night to get leftover food. After the second visit, Chau Vu who worked in the restaurant could not find the front door key.
After midnight, Chau Vu went to the back to count the money for the evening and went up front to pay Williams. At that moment, Chau saw Frank coming toward the building and knew something was wrong. She ran to the kitchen and hid the money in the microwave. Frank let herself in using the key she had stolen earlier. She walked past Williams and pushed Chau, her brother Quoc, and another employee into the doorway of the kitchen. Williams started to follow as shots rang out. Lacaze came into the restaurant and shot Williams in the head, paralyzing him. Lacaze shot Williams in the head again, killing him. When Frank turned back to see what happened, Chau grabbed Quoc and the employee and head in the walk-in cooler, turning out the light as they went in.
The siblings could see part of the kitchen and the front of the dining room from the cooler. The other siblings, Ha and Cuong were last seen sweeping the dining room floors when Frank came in but had no idea where they were now. They could see Frank searching the area where the Vu family usually kept their money, but could not find where Chau had hidden the money. Frank moved out of their line of sight and they heard more shots. Frank and Lacaze shouted at Ha and Cuong about the location of the money and pistol-whipped Cuong. Frank found the money in the microwave and then shot Ha three times as she pleaded for her life. She then shot Cuong six times. Once Frank and Lacaze left, Quoc ran to a nearby home to call 911.
Frank dropped off Lacaze and responded as a police officer to the call of officer down at the restaurant. She parked behind the restaurant and entered through the rear hoping to kill Chau and Quoc so there would be no witnesses. Chau ran through the front doors to the safety of the responding officers. She then told officers that Frank was the murderer.
On Sept. 12, 1995, after only 22 minutes, the jury found Frank guilty of all counts. Lacaze was also found guilty. Both were sentenced to death.
In addition, Frank’s father had stayed at her home months before the restaurant killings, but disappeared. Police found his skull, pierced with a bullet hole, buried under Frank’s house.
Ronald Williams, 25
Cuong Vu, 17
Ha Vu, 24
Antoinette Frank. (n.d.). In Murderpedia. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://murderpedia.org/female.F/f/frank-antoinette.htm
Antoinette Frank. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoinette_Frank