Sunday, May 19 2013 5:58 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:58:26 GMT
Source: Louisiana State Police
Authorities are urging motorists to avoid I-10 West and East bound at mile marker 25 due to a tanker truck on fire. Fire crews are still working to extinguish flames on an 18-wheel oil tanker. LouisianaMore >>
Louisiana State Police is investigating an oil tanker tractor fire on Interstate 10 that caused major traffic delays Sunday afternoon. More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:05:04 GMT
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local governmentMore >>
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five-parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local government and the political scene.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:55:58 GMT
An arrest has been made in the 1962 death of Mary Horton Vail. Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962, her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident. TheMore >>
Mary Horton Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962. Her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:17 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:17:04 GMT
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case. On May 17, 2005, 28-year-old Loretta Chaisson Lewis went missing. Three days later, her body was found floatingMore >>
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:47:38 GMT
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18,More >>
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.More >>
Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports, Stocks, Movies on your Cell PhoneMore >>
Get local news, weather, sports, and video on your mobile device.More >>
Bryce Perkins, the man convicted of the 2009 murder of Marine Daniel Gueringer was supposed to be sentenced this morning. But it was postponed after the defense raised several issues before the court.
Perkins stands convicted of second degree murder of Gueringer after an appeal court decision that reinstates the jury verdict reached in February 2011. That verdict was not unanimous and does not have to be in Louisiana where a 10-2 vote is sufficient.
However, it's an issue raised by Defense Attorney King Alexander. "The legal traditions in which we get our right to trial by jury has always been unanimous jury. It has always taken only one dissenting juror to create a hung jury and a mistrial. Why is it different in Louisiana and Oregon that it takes three jurors to hang a jury instead of one. This makes a huge, significant difference," said Alexander.
However, Prosecutor Rick Bryant disagrees and does not expect the U.S. Supreme Court to change its position. "We have no concern, that's been litigated for twenty years. That's typical defense attorney motion that never has any merit. That's been shot down by both the Supreme Court of the United States, Supreme Court of Louisiana which allows non-unanimous verdicts in certain cases. Doesn't apply to death penalty cases, but in other cases it applies. So, that's been litigated in the past. It's sort of a frivolous motion but I guess defense attorneys feel an obligation to file it in every case," said Bryant.
He says it's up to individual states whether they require a unanimous verdict. "All states could do the same thing Louisiana does. I don't know why they don't. It's very difficult. Can you imagine, in certain areas of the state and country where you have to have unanimous every single time, you know, one person holds out which leads to more jury trials, more hung juries, more delays. I think we have a better system that those states that require unanimity because you can't find people unanimous on anything these days," said Bryant.
Another issue brought up by the defense --whether the jury found specific intent to kill as required. "What exactly happened immediately prior to the firing of the shot. Was it just the accused leveling the gun in a particular direction and discharging it? Was it something that happened, as many witnesses testified, kind of in the struggle and pandemonium?" asked Alexander.
Bryant says the jury's verdict of second degree murder means they did find Perkins had specific intent to kill. "The jury knew exactly what they were doing because they were instructed by the court as to what they had to find in order to return this verdict," said Bryant.
Judge Ron Ware denied all motions and indicated sentencing will go forward on Friday.
Defense attorneys also gave the court a letter from a juror in the case that apparently makes vague suggestions of possible impropriety involving jurors in the case. But at this point neither the state or defense has enough information to say if the allegations have merit. The issue may be raised in post conviction appeals.
Meanwhile, Perkins is set to be sentenced to life in prison at 9 a.m. Friday.