Daigle trial set; gag order issued

<p class="indent">If Kevin Daigle proceeds to trial as scheduled on July 1, 2019, it will be nearly four years since the fatal shooting of Steven Vincent, a Louisiana state trooper.</p><p class="indent">Charged with first-degree murder in the death of Vincent in 2015, Daigle was previously set for trial several times. But multiple things occurred that repeatedly set the case back.</p><p class="indent">The state Supreme Court in April issued a stay in the Daigle trial, which put everything on hold just as jury selection was set to begin in Bossier Parish.</p><p class="indent">Until the defense was granted a complete change of venue in the case, the trial was scheduled to be held in Calcasieu Parish. It will now take place in Lafayette, with the jury also being picked there.</p><p class="indent">Earlier, Judge Guy Bradberry was recused after the defense filed a motion asking for his removal from overseeing the trial because he and Vincent’s wife, Katherine, were friends on Facebook.</p><p class="indent">In its decision to remove Bradberry, the state Supreme Court cited another case, Rippo v. Baker, and said the probability of actual bias on the part of a judge or decision-maker is too high to be “constitutionally tolerable.” It added that there has been “no allegation or showing that the trial judge (Bradberry) harbors any actual bias or that he is not a diligent district court judge.”</p><p class="indent">Judge Clayton Davis will oversee the trial. This week, he set Daigle’s new trial date as well as a schedule for a pretrial conference and motions to be heard, which will take place here. He also stipulated that jurors will only be identified by juror numbers.</p><p class="indent">Previous hearings on the case in state district court here were filled with a lot of back-and-forth from the prosecution and defense. Prosecutors said that requests for a change of venue and other delays by the defense were simply “legal shenanigans at their worst.” Conversely, the defense said a news release sent out by Louisiana State Police regarding a drug roundup in the Bossier Parish area just ahead of the thentrial date that referenced Vincent’s LSP unit number in the operation title, was an “epic publicity stunt.”</p><p class="indent">Davis also issued a gag order in the case this week, which prohibits the prosecution or defense from publicly discussing it.</p><p class="indent">Rick Bryant and Carla Sigler were former prosecutors for the Daigle trial, but they recently left the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office to go into private practice together.</p><p class="indent">Cliff Strider and Lea Hall are the new prosecutors for the Daigle case; defense attorneys are Kyla Blanchard-Romanach and Bruce E. Unangst.</p><p class="indent">If found guilty, Daigle would face the death penalty.</p>””<p>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)</p>RickHickmanPhotographer