Motion filed in Daigle case

Judge limits law enforcement presence at trial

Judge Clayton Davis on Thursday granted a motion by the defense in the Kevin Daigle case to limit law enforcement presence in the courtroom during his trial.

Daigle is accused of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015.

The granting of the motion will “limit the show of force in the courtroom and prevent uniformed law enforcement officers from attending proceedings against defendant as spectators.”

The judge has also issued a continuing gag order which prevents the prosecution or defense from discussing the case publicly or with media. Additionally, some evidence in this case remains under seal.

Multiple defense motions are still pending and there likely will be additional hearings concerning those in the future in state district court.

In August, Davis granted a full change of venue for the trial, which will be held in Lafayette and the jury will also be picked in that city. After several delays, the trial has been set for July 1, 2019.

An earlier change of venue ruling would have allowed the jury to be picked in Bossier Parish and brought to Calcasieu for the trial.

In April, the state Supreme Court removed Judge Guy Bradberry from overseeing the trial after Daigle’s defense team filed a motion for recusal.

The Supreme Court’s decision said, in part, “The record here demonstrates that the trial judge had a longtime working relationship with Mrs. Vincent, the victim’s widow and a court employee; has a social media relationship with Mrs. Vincent that he initially denied in a formal opinion but later admitted under oath; and has taken steps barred by the Code of Criminal Procedure which, if not corrected by the appellate court, would have thwarted another judge from considering his recusal. Mrs. Vincent is not only the victim’s widow, she is designated as a penalty phase witness in this capital case.”

The state Supreme Court added 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.”

Davis took over as judge for the Daigle trial after the Supreme Court ruling and has been hearing motions from the defense, including multiple motions on Thursday.

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.

Cliff Strider and Lea Hall will be prosecuting the Daigle case; defense attorneys are Kyla Blanchard-Romanach and Bruce E. Unangst.

Daigle’s defense team had continually pushed for a full change of venue for trial, saying the team did not feel Daigle would get a fair trial in Calcasieu because residents of this area are emotionally invested in the loss of Vincent.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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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)

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