Each side lines up experts for Kevin Daigle trial

<p class="p1">A hearing was held Tuesday in state district court to determine who would be allowed to testify as experts in their field during the upcoming trial of Kevin Daigle. </p><p class="p1">Daigle is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 shooting of Steven Vincent, a Louisiana state trooper. </p><p class="p1">Formally referred to as a Daubert hearing, the proceedings focused on testimony from Dr. Jeffrey Lewine, a professor in the field of neuroscience who was being submitted as a possible witness for the defense; and Steve Thompson, a retired Louisiana state trooper who has a doctorate degree in public safety and is a professor teaching criminal justice courses at McNeese State University who was submitted as a possible witness for the prosecution. </p><p class="p1">The experts would most likely be testifying during the penalty phase of the trial if Daigle is found guilty. If found guilty, the jury would decide whether Daigle would receive life in prison or the death penalty. </p><p class="p1">Lewine’s testimony was extremely technical as he was questioned by Caitlin Graham, a defense attorney for Daigle. He told the court that he believes Daigle has a brain disease and a possible brain injury. </p><p class="p1">He told Graham that he had performed a number of tests on Daigle, which were done at Lafayette General Hospital. Lewine said some of the tests were basically “taking pictures of the brain.” </p><p class="p1">Among other things, he said tests on Daigle revealed “possible traumatic brain injury.” </p><p class="p1">“I can’t give you a single cause of what we see in Mr. Daigle,” Lewine said. He said the issues could be due to genetics, substance abuse, and other contributing factors. </p><p class="p1">He said his studies showed that Daigle’s brain has been “functionally and structurally compromised.” </p><p class="p1">Prosecutor Carla Sigler asked Lewine if Daigle could have done anything to cheat the tests and Lewine said he had no reason to suspect that he had. </p><p class="p1">Thompson told the court about training he received at the state police academy which, in part, involved detecting impaired drivers. He said he requested to be sent to “drug recognition school” through the academy.</p><p class="p1">He said he later delved deeper into that field when he worked on his dissertation to get his doctorate, learning of many things but one was of medical issues that he said could “mimic” chemical impairment. </p><p class="p1">Thompson said when he did his dissertation, he performed an analysis of intoxication impairment. To come up with his findings on the topic, he said he purchased a year’s worth of redacted DWI reports and transferred what he had gleaned into a data analysis spreadsheet to quantify the information. </p><p class="p1">He talked about collecting the data and separating it into alcohol impairment or impairment that was not alcohol. </p><p class="p1">Thompson said his dissertation was published as a standard for the topic in a couple of peer-review journals within the criminal justice system.</p><p class="p1">Sigler asked him if he had received any awards or grants for his work and he told of several, including a “million-dollar grant” from the Metropolitan Crime Commission. </p><p class="p1">Judge Guy Bradberry accepted both Lewine and Thompson as experts in their field for the upcoming trial. </p><p class="p1">Jury selection is scheduled to begin April 30 in Benton in Bossier Parish. </p>

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