Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Published 6:03 pm Friday, May 31, 2024

It took jurors less than a half-hour to convict Erron Fontenot of second-degree murder Friday in the fatal 2023 shooting of James Barrilleaux.

Fontenot shot Barrilleaux in the head at close-range, believing Barrilleaux had taken his drill and truck keys.

Calcasieu Parish Assistant District Attorney Jordan Sutterfield, who prosecuted the case alongside Joey Williams, said there was “no conceivable way to reasonably doubt” Fontenot’s guilt.

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“He has no remorse for what he has done,” Sutterfield said. “He never cried when he told exactly how he killed James Barrilleaux. He’s not sad or remorseful for taking the life of that man.”

Earlier in the day Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Det. Julius Frazier showed jurors Fontenot’s taped confession.

In the video, Fontenot said he went through the back door of his mother’s Sherry Street house and to the front porch where Barrilleaux was sitting in a chair. He said he had a German naval pistol on him and that Barrilleaux saw him coming but remained seated. Fontenot said he walked through the front door threshold, turned, shot Barrilleaux in the head and kept walking.

He said Barrilleaux was making “snoring” sounds as he left.

“That was not snoring noises, as Mr. Erron likes to describe it,” Sutterfield told jurors during closing arguments. “That was James Barrilleaux fighting for his life.”

In the video confession, Fontenot said he knew he was going to kill Barrilleaux that day and before he did he dressed in a yellow sweatshirt, covered with a white Tyvek suit. He also wore red baseball gloves. After the shooting, he lit his backyard fire pit and burned the clothing.

Fontenot told Frazier he had allowed Barrilleaux’s dog to sleep at his mother’s house for one day while Barrilleaux slept in a tent in the yard. He said Barrilleaux stayed longer than he was supposed to and then things “came up missing.”

The shooting occurred at around 4 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2023, and Fontenot was captured by 10 a.m. the same day.

Fontenot said during those six hours, he showered at a friend’s house next door, took a two-hour nap in a neighbor’s shed, then waited for another friend who lived down the road to awaken. He told Frazier if he hadn’t stopped at the first friend’s house, he “would have been halfway to Mexico.”

Fontenot told Frazier he hid the pistol he used to kill Barrilleaux in an empty USB box and hid it alongside a fence. He said there was one bullet left in the chamber and he contemplated suicide but decided against it.

Fontenot was eventually captured hiding underneath a mobile home behind vinyl siding a few doors down from where Barrilleaux was shot.

He will be held without bond until sentencing on July 26.