A jury found Kevin Daigle guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015.
Jurors returned their unanimous verdict less than 15 minutes after they started deliberations.
Shortly after the verdict, Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier called the killing of Vincent "stone-cold first-degree murder. It was an unspeakable crime — the type of crime we will not tolerate."
Lead prosecutor Lea Hall said, "Justice was required in this case, and justice was served. This was an ambush killing of a police officer."
Family and friends of Vincent, including his wife, Katherine, packed the courtroom every day of the trial. Several state troopers who both worked with him and were close friends, testified at trial.
The three-day trial was held in 15th District Court in Lafayette after Judge Clayton Davis granted a defense motion for a full change of venue.
Prosecutors called the murder of Vincent a "surprise attack killing, an execution of a fine man."
"After he shot Vincent, he went and stood over him," said prosecutor Charles Robinson. "Kevin Daigle had specific intent to kill Trooper Vincent. Then he went to him and said, ‘You still alive? You are going to die.' "
Defense attorney Caitlin Graham said she has had a lot of people ask her why she would want to do what she does and why she wants to defend people like "them."
"Because there is no ‘them,' " she said. "There's just us, and nobody should be defined by the worst thing they have done. We have to wade through suffering to get to the truth of what happened — when the world of Kevin Daigle and Trooper Steven Vincent collided. The state did not prove its burden. What happened was tragic and horrifying, but it was not first-degree murder."
She said on the day Vincent was murdered on Fruge Road in the Hayes area, Daigle had just come from killing his roommate, Blake Brewer. "He did what he always did — he ran. And he drank and snorted meth and took pills. Kevin Daigle was out of his mind. We don't know why Vincent was shot; Trooper Vincent was kind. I have sat next to Kevin for the past couple of days, and he has been shaking and crying. He has no memory of that day."
Hall, in his rebuttal remarks before the case went to the jury, said it was "preposterous" to suggest that Daigle did not know what he was doing that day. Hall walked across the courtroom and up to Daigle and said to him, "Yeah, you knew what you were doing."
"I've seen no crocodile tears from him," Hall said. "He took every single thing that this man (Vincent) had in this life when he pulled that trigger. The defense wants you to return a lesser penalty than first-degree murder. Daigle was intoxicated and was a person who lived his life in a bottle. But he knew what he was doing."
The defense earlier asked the jury to return a lesser verdict, saying there wasn't enough mercy in the world.
Hall disagreed, and said, "It isn't mercy that's lacking in this world; it's justice that's lacking. I ask you to come back with the correct verdict. Remember Steven Vincent and the kindness he extended to a stranger on the side of the road. Deliver justice today for Steven's family and for our entire community. Find Kevin Daigle guilty as charged with first-degree murder."
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The penalty phase is expected to begin today in 15th District Court in Lafayette.