One of the Vermilion Parish men facing the death penalty in the 2014 killing of a sheriff’s deputy now will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty Thursday.
The guilty plea by Quintylan Richard came on the second anniversary of Deputy Allen Bares Jr.’s death on June 23, 2014.
After admitting to Judge Marilyn Castle that he killed Bares, Richard, 22, apologized to Bares’ family, including Bares’ wife, Tina.
“It was really sad. It was emotional,” said one of Richard’s attorneys, Thomas Alonzo.
Bares was off duty and tending to his lawn business when he was shot to death on South Hospital Drive after confronting Richard and Baylon Taylor, the second defendant in the case. Taylor, 21, remains charged with capital first-degree murder. His trial date has not been set.
District Attorney Keith Stutes praised the work of Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies and investigators and said the plea deal that kept Richard off death row was appropriate.
“After all of this, we reached the conclusion that it was in the best interest of the family of the victim that we relinquish the demand for a death penalty and agree to a life sentence,” Stutes said.
Stutes said he met with the Bares family to discuss the ramifications of a death penalty case, which can drag on for years in the courts even after a conviction.
“It brought a very disturbing and hurtful situation to somewhat of a resolution,” he said.
Richard pleaded guilty about 8:30 a.m. in Castle’s Vermilion Parish courtroom, Alonzo said. He said Richard also apologized to the Bares family.
“He turned around to speak to the family and Ms. Bares and apologized to her,” Alonzo said. “He also told her he knew how she felt and how she would want him to be in jail for the rest of his life after what he had done.”
Alonzo said Richard’s family also urged him to apologize.
Sheriff Mike Couvillon said late Thursday that what mattered to him was the feelings of Tina Bares.
“As long as she’s satisfied, I’m satisfied,” Couvillon said.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and others mourned for Bares and his family, including his son and daughter, at a funeral days after he died. Parking in downtown Abbeville was hard to find, and seating inside St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church was at a premium.
The funeral procession that brought Bares from Abbeville to his home of Erath to be buried traveled through blinding rain.
The weather didn’t deter the many who stood for miles along the route to pay respects. At one point, the procession passed under a giant American flag that was suspended in the air by two firetrucks.
Both Richard and Taylor had been in trouble with the law before Bares was killed. Taylor was awaiting trial on simple burglary, and Richard had been out of jail for less than two months after a burglary conviction.
Richard had served less than half of the three-year sentence imposed on him by a judge when the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections released him on a good-time parole. Richard had been serving the sentence in Tensas Parish.
Editor’s note: This story was changed on June 24, 2016, to note that Deputy Allen Bares Jr. was killed on June 23, 2014.