Prosecutors will no longer pursue charges in fatal Moss Bluff beating

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Authorities will not continue to pursue charges against three men accused in a death at a New Year’s Eve party, District Attorney John DeRosier

said at a news conference Thursday.

Brian Diamond, Steven B. Ellis and Kawliger L. Connelly were all charged with manslaughter after Matthew V. Crochet, 36, died

of head injuries after a fight in the early hours of Jan. 1 at a home on S. Perkins Ferry Road.

Authorities said at the time the fight may have been spurred by inappropriate sexual contact between Crochet and a juvenile

at the home.

Charges were put before a grand jury twice, but the panel both times could not make a decision whether to indict the men,

DeRosier said.

The grand jury had the option to indict the men on charges ranging from aggravated battery to second-degree murder, he said.

The District Attorney’s Office was “not even close to obtaining an indictment from a grand jury,” DeRosier said.

The cases will only be reopened if new

evidence arises, he said. The state has six years from the date of the

offense to prosecute

the men.

Authorities responding around 2:30 a.m. Jan. 1 reportedly found Crochet lying on the ground unresponsive. He was taken to

a Lafayette hospital, where he died the next day.

Diamond was initially charged with second-degree battery, but his charges were upgraded to manslaughter after Crochet died.

Ellis and Connelly were also arrested and charged with manslaughter.

DeRosier would not confirm whether the

fights stemmed from a sex crime, but did say that “some of the actions

here were precipitated

by the actions of the victim, and certainly the grand jury was

aware of whatever those may have been.”

“I certainly, certainly do not condone the actions of the defendants in this case, but this is our system and the grand jury

system is a fair and appropriate system,” DeRosier said.

“If a person feels like somebody has done something to them, we have a system for that and they should report that instead

of taking matters into their own hands,” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said.

“I would urge people that that’s what they should do; they should trust in the system. It doesn’t work perfectly all the time,

but it works and I would ask that people trust in that system.”

Diamond and Crochet reportedly were involved in a fight inside the home and Diamond told Crochet to leave. Crochet reportedly

began to leave, then got out of his car, after which the second fight took place.

DeRosier said it was difficult for the coroner to determine whether injuries suffered in the first fight or the second resulted

in Crochet’s death.

“I think it’s unfortunate that this

even happened,” Mancuso said. “Sometimes things get out of hand and it’s


This is our system and it’s the best system in the world and grand

jury felt this was not indictable at this time and we’re

OK with that. Unless new evidence comes forward, we’ll consider

this matter closed.”