Local attempted murder case dropped because case wasn’t brought to trial in timely manner

Published 4:23 am Friday, May 17, 2024

An attempted murder charge filed against a Jennings mother accused of shooting a man after he got into an altercation with her son has been dropped.

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently granted a motion by defendant Kathleen Mouton, 47, to quash the matter after the state failed to timely commerce trial. The Supreme Court found that the state failed to bring the case to trial by Aug. 23, 2021.

“Ultimately this office did everything in its power to keep the case alive, unfortunately the Louisiana Supreme Court decided the case prescribed on Aug. 23, 2021, which was before I took office,” Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Lauren Heinen said. “Obviously we are not happy about the outcome, but we did everything in our power to keep the case alive.”

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Heinen took office in April 2022.

“We tried to keep it alive and the Third Circuit sided with us, but ultimately the Supreme Court did not,” she said, stressing the state can no longer pursue the case. “It’s not exactly what you want to see with an attempted murder case.”

Mouton was arrested in August 2018 in connection with a shooting on South Main Street in Jennings. Mouton allegedly shot the victim several times before fleeing the scene after he was involved in an altercation with her son.

The matter was fixed for trial on six occasions, but was continued each time. Mouton requested the first continuance on June 24, 2020, All other delays were requested by the state due to court closures, according to court documents.

“Those closures did not ultimately result in any extensive time to bring the case to trial,” Heinen said.

Judge Steve Gunnell granted the motion to quash which the state appealed to the Third Circuit, who overruled Gunnell’s decision citing that the delays were justified due to the closure of the court during Hurricane Laura. Mouton and her defense team later filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court disagreed with previous rulings and said the state had an additional 60 days to bring the case to trial, which would have been Aug. 23, 2021.

No other appeals can be filed in the matter.