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Can Brian Laundrie Be Tried After Death — Joan Of Arc, Two Popes And A Gunslinger Were

Photo: YouTube / North Carolina Digital Collections
Gabby Petito Brian Laundrie and Joan of Arc

The case of Brian Laundrie’s disappearance has come to a close after the FBI discovered that human remains in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park matched his dental records.

Despite that discovery, Laundrie was wanted for stealing $1,000 from Gabby Petito’s bank accounts and was the only person of interest in the case of her homicide.

Now that it has been announced that Laundrie is dead, people are curious about whether or not he could still be tried for potential crimes.

Will Brian Laundrie see a posthumous trial for his potential crimes?

Previously in the case of Laundrie’s disappearance, it was speculated that he could see a “trial in absentia” — a trial where the defendant isn’t present — only if he fled from an arrest.

Since Chris and Roberta Laundrie reported him missing before the warrant was announced for his arrest, there is no way that he could have known he was fleeing from the law.

According to US law, "a defendant in a trial must be available to mount a legal defense," so it seems unlikely that Brian would be tried for any of his own crimes.

Posthumous trials have occured in history.

Posthumous trials are often held under extraordinary circumstances and are sometimes held in order to provide justice to society or families involved in any crimes.

RELATED: Brian Laundrie’s Lawyer Says Parents Knew Their Son Was ‘Grieving’ A Week Before Gabby Petito Was Confirmed Dead

Joan of Arc, “Maid of Orleans” and French heroine during the Hundred Years’ War, famously saw a retrial in her conviction of heresy.

At the request of her surviving family, her conviction had been appealed after her execution, and was ultimately granted innocence despite her death.

Henry Plummer, an outlaw in the midwest from Maine who killed several men, was ultimately caught by vigilantes and hung for his crimes.

Since he never saw a fair trial, he was given a posthumous trial 129 years later in 1993 where the jury split their decision 6-6. 

The judge ordered a mistrial, which means had Plummer been alive, he would have been freed.

Two Popes saw posthumous trials as well — Pope Formosus and Pope Boniface VIII — for their crimes against society.

Considering Laundrie cannot be compared to Joan of Arc and two Popes where alive hundreds of years ago, it’s highly unlikely that his case will see a posthumous trial.

RELATED: Brian Laundrie Appears To Have Added Stickers To Gabby Petito’s Van After Her Death

Will Brian Laundrie's parents be tried?

After his death was announced, his parents have regained the spotlight and people wonder if they will see any implications with their involvement in the case.

In theory, if the information was released that Brian was guilty of more crimes than just the fraud charges and Chris and Roberta knew of it the entire time, they could be charged with aiding and abetting.

The Laundrie family lawyer, Steven Bertolino, believes that it’s unlikely that Chris and Roberta will see any charges.

“Conversations were had several weeks ago with the FBI with respect to certain charges,” he told Tom Llamas in an interview. “When questioned and when communications were had between myself and the FBI, I think it was realized that charges were not appropriate.”

He emphasized that the Laundrie family had been cooperating with law enforcement from the very beginning and that there was no reason for them to press charges against them.

However, he also added that there was more information that would be released by their team.

“At some point in the future, there may be conversations to be had, there may be information to be discussed — tonight is not that time,” he said. “This case is not over.”

Until all of the information is released to the public and to the FBI, all legal implications remain where they were before the discovery of Brian’s body, and the Petito family has yet to see justice for their daughter’s death.

RELATED: Possible Drawing On Brian Laundrie’s Notebook May Hold Clues In Gabby Petito’s Case

Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Follow him on Twitter here.