After six and a half hours deliberating it was a hung jury in the trial of Devin Badon. It was just before midnight when Judge Kent Savoie declared a mistrial.
Did jurors get hung up on reasonable doubt? At 10:30 p.m. Wednesday jurors asked for the judge to define reasonable doubt. They came into the courtroom and Savoie read them the definition saying, "Reasonable doubt is doubt based on reason and common sense and is present when, after carefully considering all the evidence, you cannot say you are firmly convinced of the truth of the charge.
Could they not agree on which charge fit the crime? On the killing they had four verdicts from which to choose: Guilty of second degree murder, guilty of manslaughter, guilty of negligent homicide or not guilty. Or, did some jurors believe Devin Badon is not guilty of any crime?
We may never know, but we do know prosecutors plan to re-try Badon for second degree murder of Stephin Bergeron.
Louisiana law says one who aids and abets another in committing a murder is just as guilty as the one who fires the gun, or whatever the case may be. That, say prosecutors, is why they took Badon to trial for the murder of Bergeron, even though David "Dice" Fontenot was allegedly the shooter.
Rick Bryant prosecuted the case. "He (Badon) made threats to the victim in this case. We know that he went with the shooter and got a gun. He actually called someone who was 21 to go into Wal-Mart and purchase bullets for a gun that had no bullets and after they loaded the gun they then went to the residence of the victim and raced their engines in trying to get his attention and then shortly thereafter he was killed. So, we feel that he was working in concert with the other individual."
However, defense attorney Todd Clemons insists Badon is falsely accused. "I just don't think they have enough evidence to convince any jury beyond a reasonable doubt that my client was a principal to second degree murder. They have a theory, but they never established that my client had a specific intent to kill Stephin Bergeron and to shoot Chance Bourgeois."
The defense had argued that Bergeron and Bourgeois wouldn't let it go-- that Bergeron set in motion the events that led to his death. Said Clemons, "Bergeron was very, very adamant as well as Chance Bourgeois about fighting my client. The evidence is clear my client did everything he could to avoid the confrontation."
However, Bryant finds that argument offensive. "That's absolutely disgusting to blame the victim for being shot down in cold blood on the side of the road, who is unarmed, that he somehow caused this to happen."
It would have taken ten of twelve jurors to agree for there to be a verdict. No new trial date yet for Badon, but Fontenot is set for trial June 12th.