Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for two Abbeville men accused in the June killing of an off-duty Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s deputy, who was shot when he tried to arrest the pair after a home burglary.

The defendants — Quintylan Kerry Richard and Baylon Lashawn Taylor, both 20 — are being tried in separate 15th Judicial District courts with different judges and defense attorneys. Assistant District Attorney Ted Ayo will prosecute both cases.

Both Richard and Taylor have pleaded not guilty to an array of charges, including first-degree murder of a police officer. Richard was arraigned Wednesday before Judge Marilyn Castle, and Taylor’s arraignment was Monday in Judge Thomas Duplantier’s court.

Deputy Allen Bares Jr., 51, was a 12-year veteran law enforcement officer when he was gunned down on South Hospital Drive on June 23.

Taylor and Richard also have been charged with stealing Bares’ vehicle and abandoning it in Abbeville. Taylor turned himself in that night, and Richard was later located in Kaplan and arrested.

Castle informed Richard on Wednesday that the District Attorney’s Office was going to seek the death penalty for killing a police officer.

Richard, outfitted in a faded orange and white prison suit and sporting a scruffy chin beard, said nothing, instead letting one of his two defense attorneys, Thomas Alonzo, speak for him.

Alonzo answered not guilty to each charge on which Richard was indicted.

Alonzo told Castle he would ask state officials for records of Richard’s childhood, which could reveal mental defects or illnesses that would keep him off death row.

Richard and Taylor were charged by a Vermilion Parish grand jury in an Aug. 2 indictment. Each faces a trial on first-degree murder, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, armed robbery and obstruction of justice.

Richard faces an additional charge of felon in possession of a firearm. Louisiana Department of Corrections records show Richard had been out of prison for less than two months when the crime occurred. Richard had been sentenced to three years on a burglary conviction, but served less than half before he was released May 1 on a DOC good-time parole.

Richard and Taylor are being housed away from Abbeville. Taylor has been kept in the Acadia Parish Jail, and Richard remains a prisoner at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

Alonzo told Castle that Richard needs to remain in the Lafayette jail and not behind bars in Vermilion Parish.

“We think his safety could be an issue,” Alonzo said.

Alonzo also told Castle he had filed a motion seeking to prevent testimony of a “jailhouse snitch.”

Alonzo said he was trying to prevent prosecutors from using testimony from another inmate who could claim Richard confessed to the crime while in jail. Such a “snitch” might lie to get his sentenced reduce in a deal with prosecutors, Alonzo said.

Bares was off duty June 23 and working his side business of cutting lawns when, police say, he saw Richard and Taylor breaking into a home on South Hospital Drive south of Abbeville. Bares was shot when he confronted the pair near the road’s intersection with Cougar Drive, police say.

State Police, which investigated the killing, said that in interviews Richard and Taylor admitted Bares had identified himself as a police officer.

Floyd Boudreaux, a Vermilion Parish retired carpenter who lives on South Hospital, said he saw Bares bleeding and being comforted by another deputy. Bares later died at an Abbeville hospital.

Castle on Wednesday did not set a trial date for Richard. She set hearings for Feb. 3 and May 12.