Charges dropped against men accused in beating death - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Charges dropped against men accused in beating death

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

Charges have been dropped in the cases of three men accused in a New Year's beating death in Moss Bluff, after a grand jury failed to return indictments.

Brian Diamond, Kawliger Connelly and Steven Ellis were arrested in the death of 36-year-old Matthew Crochet. They were charged with manslaughter.

Crochet was badly beaten following a New Year's party and later died.

However, in a Thursday press conference, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's officials said the cases against the men went before a grand jury two times and both times, the grand jury failed to indict the men on any charge.

"The grand jury had the option to return an indictment for anything from second-degree murder down to aggravated battery," said Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier.

DeRosier said there were issues involved in the case that precipitated the conduct of all of the parties involved.

"We're not going to go into any more details other than to say that some of the actions here were precipitated by the victim and certainly the grand jury was aware of whatever those may have been," he said.

DeRosier said at issue, also, was that there were two separate events that took place in January and the coroner had to make a decision as to which event caused the fatality.

"I think the coroner had some significant difficulty with the positive determination of whether the fatal injuries were from the first event or the second event," DeRosier said.

DeRosier said if there is no additional evidence, the case will not move forward.

"This is certainly an unfortunate event for everyone involved. I certainly, certainly do not condone the actions of the defendants in this case, but this is our system, and the grand jury system is a fair and appropriate system and if the grand jury chooses to find - or refuses to find - that there is probable cause to move forward to trial, the grand jury has spoken and as I indicated, that will be the end of it unless or until we find new evidence," he said.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso also made remarks on Thursday.

"This is our system. It's the best system in the world. The grand jury felt like this was not indictable at this time and we're okay with that. Unless new evidence comes forward, we'll consider this matter closed," Mancuso said.

The District Attorney's Office has six years to gather any new evidence pertinent to the case.

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