The penalty phase of Kevin Daigle’s capital murder trial continued Thursday in Lafayette with testimony from defense witnesses.
A jury found Daigle guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015.
The state is seeking the death penalty; the defense has pleaded for life in prison for Daigle.
The trial and proceedings have been held in 15th District Court after Judge Clayton Davis granted the defense’s motion for a full change of venue. But due to weather conditions that will likely be caused by Tropical Storm Barry in the next couple of days, Davis plans to have the jury transported to Lake Charles on Saturday for the last portion of testimony from defense experts. Then, it will go to the jury for them to decide whether Daigle will get the death penalty or life in prison.
Davis said moving the trial back to Lake Charles is for the safety and comfort of the jury and all involved in the trial. Additionally, the judge said it would be easier for defense experts to get to Lake Charles than Lafayette in the event that area has severe weather conditions.
On Thursday, the jury heard from two of Daigle’s grandchildren from Georgia, a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy who both said they love their “Paw Paw” and visit him sometimes.
Jurors also heard from Kevin Foreman who said he lived with Daigle and Blake Brewer, the roommate Daigle killed, for about a month. Foreman said Brewer was an “angry drunk” who pulled a knife on Daigle several times. Foreman was not at the scene when Daigle killed Brewer, which Daigle’s attorneys have said was self-defense.
On Wednesday, Vincent’s widow and other family members gave emotional testimony about how the loss of their loved one has affected them. Family and friends of the slain trooper have filled the courtroom every day.
It has been four years since Katherine Vincent lost her husband after Daigle shot him with a sawed-off shotgun while he tried to help Daigle after his truck ended up in a ditch on Fruge Road in the Hayes area.
She said she and her husband and their son, Ethan, “had a happy little life” before the murder and even after four years, she has not been able to put away any of his belongings. “His razor is right where he left it and his tennis shoes are still right by the back door,” she said.
Ethan, 13, told jurors of happy times he enjoyed with his dad and how the two of them especially enjoyed watching police shows together, playing football and going fishing.
Earlier, prosecutor Jacob Johnson told jurors that because Daigle wanted to evade responsibility for his actions, he killed Vincent, who was a “combat veteran, a state trooper, a professional, a brother, a father, and a loyal and loving husband.”
The jury also heard from defense attorney Kyla Romanach, who acknowledge the pain the Vincent family has gone through, a family she called “beautiful.” Romanach told jurors a death sentence should be a last resort and asked them to listen with their hearts.