Kevin Daigle guilty of first-degree murder of State Trooper Steven Vincent
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPLC) - Kevin Daigle is guilty of first-degree murder of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent.
The 12-person jury went into deliberations at 3:47 p.m. and returned to court with a verdict at 4:05 p.m.
Daigle has been described as pure evil-- and the state successfully portrayed him as such: a mean, heartless, cold- blooded killer who thought nothing of gunning down Trooper Steven Vincent, a peace officer who, ironically, tried to help Daigle who appeared stranded on the side of the road. Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier says Vincent’s death has caused such suffering.
"He executed that policeman, a very fine young man, a very fine police officer, and look what it's done to his family. It's just devastated them, it's just devastated. He's got a large family, good family man, and there's just no reason for this. And we have to set an example," said DeRosier.
The jury began leaving the courtroom at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday and word came of a verdict scarcely fifteen minutes later. Prosecutors say the actual time deliberating may have been as few as three minutes.
“We received the verdict at 4:03 and it took some time to get it to us so, it was a very short time they were out. Three to three and a half minutes,” said DeRosier.
Daigle attorneys put on an intoxication defense arguing Daigle was so drunk, he didn’t know or remember what he did.
But lead prosecutor Lea Hall said Daigle’s actions showed he knew exactly what he was doing.
"You've got it on camera, of him aiming and pointing a weapon at him and connecting on a man fleeing, a man trained on how to defend himself, and was able to score a hit. And further, when he stood over him and tried to rob him of his possessions and of his gun, his handcuffs, his keys, tried to steal a state police unit--that's what lets me know that he meant what he was doing," said Hall.
The jury remains sequestered for the penalty phase, when they decide if Daigle should get life in prison or be executed.
"I know what they should do, I know what is reasonable and appropriate in this case, even though I don't relish doing it. But I think the death penalty is in fact appropriate in this case," said DeRosier.
Defense attorneys declined to be interviewed after the verdict.
The penalty phase gets underway Wednesday morning in Lafayette.
For Daigle to receive a death sentence all twelve jurors must vote for execution.
A non-unanimous vote would result in life in prison.
Daigle was on trial for the 2015 shooting death of Vincent, who he killed during a traffic stop near Bell City.
DAY 1 OF TESTIMONY: Jurors watch dash cam video of shooting
DAY 2 OF TESTIMONY: Jurors learn that Kevin Daigle’s roommate was killed before Trooper Vincent
The state rested its case Tuesday morning and the defense put on its side, starting with dash cam video and audio from inside the police car where Daigle was put after his arrest.
In the video the jurors could not see Daigle for upwards of an hour but could hear him him screaming at the top of his lungs, cursing, crying and pleading that he was hot and hurting and that he had been beaten.
Daigle was cuffed and maybe otherwise restrained, repeatedly pounding his fists, feet, or both in tandem, in the police car. There were periods of quiet when Daigle apparently fell asleep.
Then he’s heard pleading, “What did I do?” and saying he didn’t do anything.
Daigle was eventually transported to a hospital where he was swabbed for DNA and his blood tested to determine his blood alcohol level which, according to testimony, was around 0.2801.
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