DA to seek death penalty for Dakota Theriot; not guilty plea entered

Next court date in Livingston Parish is May 29

DA to seek death penalty for Dakota Theriot; not guilty plea entered
Deputies claim Dakota Theriot confessed to killing his parents, his girlfriend, and two of her family members. (Source: Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office)

(WAFB) - A man accused of killing five people in a multi-parish shooting spree, including his own parents, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of first degree murder.

Dakota Theriot, 21, is accused of shooting Summer Ernest, who investigators say was his girlfriend, her father, Billy Ernest, and her little brother, Tanner, in their trailer in Livingston Parish. He then stole Billy Ernest’s truck and drove to Ascension Parish, where he shot and killed both of his parents, Keith, 50, and Elizabeth, 50, Theriot.

Theriot was arrested in Virginia the next day as he arrived at his grandmother’s house.

District Attorney for the 24th Judicial District Court, Scott Perrilloux, says his office is going to pursue this as a capital case and they will be seeking the death penalty.

“We’re dealing with something tragic and horrific that took place in this community and now we have to do our job and moving forward that’s what we’ll do. I don’t take any pleasure in accepting a capital case, but again, after reviewing all the circumstances, the facts that we have before us, all the considerations we had to make, and we didn’t make it lightly, we felt like the death penalty was the appropriate course of action," Perrilloux said Monday after the hearing.

At Theriot’s court appearance on May 8, his lawyers in Livingston Parish filed a motion saying they do have the funds to defend a murder case. A new court date was set for May 29.


Theriot is facing two more murder charges in Ascension Parish for the deaths of his parents. A grand jury in Ascension Parish indicted Theriot Monday, Mar. 18 on those first degree murder charges.

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