Habitual offender Will Celestine gets life sentence

Habitual offender Will Celestine gets life sentence
Will Celestine (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - His crime spree in the summer of 2017 grabbed headlines. But Will Celestine's crimes from 2015 have led to a sentence of life in prison.

The severity of the sentence is because of Celestine's extensive criminal history, which allows the state to enhance his punishment:

Prosecutors say Celestine has eight prior felony convictions..

Plus, he still faces trial on charges stemming from a highly publicized episode last June, involving a high speed chase from police with a child in the car.

Celestine was allegedly on the run for close to a week and officials say there was a standoff before he was captured in Lafayette. But now, Celestine has been sentenced to life in prison for a 2015 crime: attempted illegal use of a firearm.

Prosecutor, Loren Lampert, with the Calcasieu District Attorney's Office, says they used the Habitual Offender Act to enhance Celestine's sentence.

"The Habitual Offender Act is used in the worst cases and not in every case that it can be. And in this instance, Mr. Celestine had demonstrated the absolute inability to exist in society with us without breaking the rules and harming others.  And I think that he is exactly the type of person the Habitual Offender Act is tailored to meet," said Lampert.

Besides the life sentence for attempted illegal use of a  weapon, Celestine was also sentenced on two other charges stemming from the 2015 incident:  Unauthorized entry, for which he got six years and  and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, for which he got twenty years.  Those sentences are to run with the life sentence.

"The report we got was that he was involved in a disturbance with another gentleman who was not armed and Mr. Celestine chose to arm himself and fire shots.  That's what got the police call to start with," said Lampert, describing the 2015 incident.

While Celestine will begin serving his life sentence, at this point, he faces a March 26th trial date on charges from June 2017.

Celestine's defense attorney, Catherine Stagg, says she will appeal both his conviction and sentence.

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