Bradberry will preside
Request denied to have judge recused from Kevin Daigle trial
Kevin Daigle was found guilty of first-degree murder in July 2019 in the fatal shooing of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent. (Rick Hickman/American Press)
Judge Clayton Davis, after a hearing Monday in state district court, denied a defense request to recuse Judge Guy Bradberry from presiding over an upcoming murder trial.
Defense attorneys for Kevin Daigle, charged with firstdegree murder in the 2015 shooting of Steven Vincent, a Louisiana state trooper, said they wanted Bradberry removed from the case because he and Vincent’s wife, Katherine Vincent, were friends on Facebook.
Prosecutors said that, although Vincent and Bradberry were Facebook friends, and acquainted through Vincent’s former employment as a supervisor with the juvenile probation system, they are not close friends.
Carla Sigler and Rick Bryant are the prosecutors in the case.
Bruce Unangst and Kyla Romanach are Daigle’s defense attorneys.
Although Daigle was in court sitting at the defense table, he kept his head lowered for much of the hearing, at one point putting his head on the table.
Unangst told the court of a Facebook post on a Steven Vincent tribute page that he said had been “liked” by Bradberry as well as a “Happy Birthday” greeting he said Bradberry once posted on Katherine Vincent’s page.
Bradberry said he extends birthday greetings to many people.
Sigler objected to any information from either Vincent’s or Bradberry’s social media pages being revealed in open court.
“This is, quite frankly, an alarming development here,” Sigler said. “The victim’s wife has a right to privacy.”
She asked that any information from the pages only be produced to Davis.
Davis allowed certain information from the pages to be accessed but viewed them in his chambers with Bradberry and Vincent.
Bradberry testified he was a court magistrate from 1991-2002 and was elected judge in 2003, serving over domestic and juvenile matters. He said his duties switched from juvenile to criminal in 2015.
Asked by Unangst if he knew Katherine Vincent, Bradberry said he knew her since about 2006, from the years the two crossed paths in juvenile court.
He also said they would see each other in a work setting about twice a year when they each attended a drug court conference, telling Unangst that he traveled alone to the conference and that the two did not see each other socially.
Bradberry said he and his wife shared a Facebook page and that it was a “possibility that one of us ‘liked’ a page of someone reaching out for prayers for the Vincent family but it could have been my wife. I tried to remove myself from any overt action on my part to ‘like’ a page if I would be part of a case because it would be inappropriate.”
The social media posts the defense referred to took place prior to Bradberry being assigned the case.
Defense attorneys said they would appeal the decision by Davis to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal.
Jury selection is set to begin April 30 in Benton in Bossier Parish although the trial will take place here.
Another hearing in the Daigle case, this one regarding evidence, is scheduled for today in state district court.