A unanimous jury gave Kevin Daigle the death penalty Saturday in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015.

If just one of the 12 jurors had not voted for a death sentence, Daigle would have received life in prison.

The jury returned with a verdict within an hour of leaving the courtroom to begin deliberations.

Defense attorneys for Daigle, 57, wanted a life sentence, calling for mercy for the defendant. Prosecutors sought the death penalty, saying Daigle showed no mercy to Vincent.

Family and friends of the slain trooper filled the courtroom every day of the trial and many were there when Daigle received the death penalty.

Minutes after the verdict, Miranda Vincent Priola, Steven Vincent's sister, read a statement from their mother, Millie: "I have cried for four years and have not been myself after this happened. He left my husband, my family and myself with sadness, grief and loss. I still have moments of despair and heartache I will never overcome. I pray no one else ever has to go through such a traumatic event of evil in their lives ever. We're all thankful to see justice finally served."

Lead prosecutor Lea Hall said Daigle deserved the death penalty.

"That verdict was based on evidence of extreme cruelty, extreme violence, just senselessness from one human being to another," said Hall. "And our community has said this is not tolerable."

Defense attorney Kyla Romanach, in pleading for a life sentence for Daigle, told jurors the death penalty should be a last resort. "Is he (Daigle) really the worst of the worst?"

Prosecutors said Daigle was the worst of the worst, a person who "chose the bottle" and had specific intent to kill a police officer.

Prosecutor Jacob Johnson told jurors a rejection of the death penalty would have been a sucker punch to a family that lost everything. "They lost the glue that held them together," said Johnson.

Katherine Vincent, widow of Steven Vincent, told jurors earlier in the week that she visits her late husband's gravesite every single day. Nearly four years after Vincent's murder, she has not been able to put his personal effects away.

Ethan, their only child, was 9 years old when his father was killed. He told jurors during the trial about happy times he had enjoyed with his dad and that the two of them especially liked going fishing, playing football, and watching police shows together.

Vincent, a 13-year veteran of the Louisiana State Police force, was 44 when he died Aug. 24, 2015, the day after he was shot by Daigle in an incident on Fruge Road in the Bell City area.

Dash cam video from the trooper's vehicle showed he was attempting to help the man whose truck was halfway in a ditch when Daigle picked up a sawed-off shotgun and shot Vincent.

A medical helicopter arrived on the scene and a team tended to Vincent before he was airlifted — with fellow trooper and close friend Joey Babineaux by his side — to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

The trial took place in Lafayette after Judge Clayton Davis granted the defense's motion for a full change of venue. After a three-day trial, the jury found Daigle guilty of first-degree murder.

In the middle of the penalty phase, which was also being conducted in Lafayette, Davis made the decision to locate the jury back to Lake Charles for the final day due to the possibility of bad weather from Tropical Storm Barry.

Davis set Daigle's sentencing for Oct. 9.

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