LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Nearly four years since the fatal shooting of State Trooper Steven Vincent, jury selection is underway in the trial of the man accused in his killing.
Kevin Daigle, 57, is charged with first-degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. Because the state seeks execution if Daigle is convicted, much of the questioning of potential jurors focuses on that.
As his trial gets underway, Daigle looks like a different person - after nearly four years in jail. Grey hair covers what was a shaved head at the time of his arrest and he has a full beard.
Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier explains they are looking for jurors who can be fair to both sides.
“The state is looking for fair and impartial jurors who can look at it, weigh the facts, weigh the evidence and make the determination based on that,” said DeRosier.
During questioning defense attorney Kyla Romanach explained to potential jurors, the death penalty is never required. She told them jurors must have the ability to genuinely consider both life in prison and the death penalty.
DeRosier explains those who cannot consider both are excused.
“Anyone who says I cannot vote for the death penalty under any circumstances will not be a qualified juror. Anybody that says I would vote for the death penalty no matter what would not qualify as a reasonable juror. And everybody else falls in the middle and that’s where the contest comes in,” he said.
Jury selection is expected to take about a week, but July 4 will be used to consider motions that come up. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
Because the state seeks the death penalty if Daigle is conviceted -- much of the questioning of prospective jurors focuses on that.
The trial is in Lafayette due to concerns about whether Daigle could get a fair trail in Calcasieu Parish. Once a jury is picked the trial moves into the evidence phase. If 12 of 12 jurors convict Daigle of first-degree murder there is a penalty phase for jurors to decide if Daigle should get life or be executed. A unanimous vote is required vote is required for the death penalty.
Vincent, a 13-year veteran of the Louisiana State Police.
Daigle is also accused of killing another man, 54-year-old Blake Brewer, in Moss Bluff the same day. Daigle is charged with second-degree murder in Brewer’s death, but that charge will be tried separately.