Daigle's defense wants CA neuropsychologist as expert witness

Updated: Jan. 24, 2017 at 9:28 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Defense attorneys want an out-of-state neuropsychologist to examine Kevin Daigle - the man accused of murdering State Trooper Steven Vincent in August 2015.

Prosecutors said that sort of evaluation is aimed at sparing Daigle a death sentence in the penalty phase of his trial.

Jury selection is to begin March 13.

Once a jury is seated, the evidence phase of Daigle's trial will get underway. If jurors find him guilty of the first-degree murder of Vincent, then the penalty phase of the trial will begin and the jury will decide if he should get death by lethal injection.

Prosecutor Rick Bryant explained that's why experts are a major part of the case.

"The expert they want comes out of California; he's a neuropsychologist. We know his name, but we have no idea what his report will be because they haven't provided us a report yet," he said.

Bryant doesn't know if the defense expert has examined Daigle yet.  But he said the state is planning to get its own expert.

"Because it's fair. Because  If they're going to have an expert come in, we want to have a state expert rebut that, or to show that information is inaccurate or not the type of information the jury should consider. It's hard to attack an expert when you don't have your own expert," said Bryant.

Bryant said the defense will try to show Daigle is in some way ineligible to face the death penalty.

"They're doing that to save his life because it's during the penalty phase. They want to show that you should not vote to execute him because he has whatever problems, concerns, whatever - exists. That's the whole point of experts. They're not for the guilt phase; they're for the penalty phase and they're trying to get one juror - that's all they need is one juror - to vote for life as opposed to death. So that's why they have these experts and witnesses they're trying to get appointed," said Bryant.

Ultimately, it's up to the judge which information and witness testimony is presented to the jury.

After a jury is picked in Bossier City, it will be brought to Calcasieu Parish for the evidence part of the trial.

Defense attorneys declined to be interviewed.

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