Hearing held on Jackson evidence in trooper’s death

A hearing on so-called Jackson evidence connected to the upcoming trial of a man charged with the 2015 first-degree murder of state trooper Steven Vincent was held Wednesday in state district court.

Kevin Daigle, 55, is facing the death penalty for the August 2015 fatal shooting of Vincent, 44, near Bell City. His trial is expected to begin Sept. 18 with jurors brought in from Bossier Parish.

On Wednesday, Judge Guy Bradberry heard the prosecutors’ Jackson evidence against Daigle — prior bad acts or past violent criminal behavior that, if allowed, can be brought in during the penalty phase of the case.

Prosecutors offered into evidence a list of Daigle’s previous convictions — both felonies and misdemeanors — that included charges of simple property damage, simple burglary, simple battery, simple arson and multiple DWI offenses. The defense objected to the introduction of misdemeanor convictions argued that Jackson evidence is limited to felonies.

Prosecutors also played part of the state police video interview of Daigle. In it, Daigle says his roommate, Blake Brewer, 54, pulled a knife on him at Brewer’s Moss Bluff residence and that he shot and killed Brewer with his shotgun. That fatal shooting occurred several hours before Vincent was shot.

Bradberry also heard a message Daigle left on his daughter’s cellphone after Brewer’s shooting but before the incident with Vincent. Daigle can be heard talking about something having gone down and that more things were going to go down. He also told his daughter that she wasn’t going to see him again and that he wanted to be cremated.

Prosecutors also put several witnesses on the stand.

A former Welsh police officer said that when he booked Daigle for a 2003 domestic disturbance, Daigle threatened his life and knew where the officer lived. The defense later argued that because the charge was a misdemeanor and shouldn’t be allowed, statements made in connection with it are also not allowable. Prosecutors said the threats were appropriate to this case.

An ex-girlfriend testified that Daigle would steal her medications and take them to the point where he couldn’t function. She also said Daigle hated cops and had said that if he ever got the chance, he would kill one. The defense questioned the credibility of the witness statements and noted that the last contact the two had was in 2007.

A member of Daigle’s family took the stand and said he molested her when she was about 11 years old. She spoke about being overdosed with Dimetapp at the time, going in and out of consciousness and not waking for three days. She said police were contacted and a rape kit was done but that nothing happened afterward.

The defense said that while her testimony was disturbing, it also raised questions. They said she testified to changing her mind about part of the incident years later and that no charges were pursued. Prosecutors said that her testimony was credible, believable and compelling.

Also on the stand was an ex-wife of Daigle’s who talked about his volatile relationship with their son. She also said Daigle was vengeful and had once said he had poisoned their son’s girlfriend, who later testified to the incident and called Daigle “evil.” The defense said the girlfriend did go to the hospital and that doctors found no indications that she had been poisoned.

Bradberry deliberated for over 30 minutes before returning to court and saying he needed to “spend some more time” reviewing the information before making a decision. He ordered the attorneys to submit briefs by June 28 so he can issue a written ruling on July 7.

Bradberry did grant the prosecution’s motion to have an independent medical examiner, psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Hayes, conduct tests on Daigle. Prosecutors said that its purpose would be for rebuttal to the medical exam that will be used by Daigle’s attorneys for his intoxication defense.

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A bagpiper performers as the body of Louisiana State Police Trooper Steven Vincent is laid to rest Aug. 29, 2015, at Lacassine Cemetery. (Kirk Meche / American Press Archives)

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