Lafayette man accused of shooting up doctor’s SUV charged with damage to property, assault _lowres

Braxton I. Moody IV

Two mental heath experts say they believe a 66-year-old man from a well-known Acadiana family suffers from mental illness and that he’s not competent to stand trial in the shooting up of the SUV belonging to his ex-wife’s boyfriend in July.

Braxton Moody IV was evaluated in early September by psychiatrist Dr. Clay Kelly Jr. and psychologist Charles P. Vosburg, who make up the sanity commission ordered by 15th District Judge Patrick Michot.

Kelly and Vosburg examined Moody, of Lafayette, on Sept. 4 at the East Louisiana Mental Health System in Jackson. They found Moody had a “severe, persistent mental illness,” according to a report filed into the court record this week.

“He is highly delusional,” Kelly and Vosburg wrote in the report. They diagnosed Moody with bipolar schizoaffective disorder, which brings on symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorder.

They noted that medical personnel at the state-run mental health hospital had to implement a “forced medication order” because Moody would not take his medication. And Moody’s phone use was restricted after he made calls to the 15th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, his attorney Lawrence Billeaud’s office and “even the offices of state politicians,” according to the report.

Moody, who has a history of mental illness, on July 22 was accused of firing several shots into a Cadillac Escalade belonging to Dr. J. Lee Leonard, an orthopedist. Leonard’s unoccupied SUV was parked outside a home after Leonard and Moody’s ex-wife returned from dining out. The incident occurred about 11 p.m.

Law enforcement later apprehended Moody at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. In Moody’s Land Rover, police found a 9 mm handgun and a 20-gauge shotgun.

On July 30, Moody was charged with aggravated criminal damage to property and drive-by shooting assault. He pleaded not guilty.

Moody is part of a family that has myriad business interests, from small-town newspapers to restaurants and other businesses.

In his Sept. 4 interview with Kelly and Vosburg, Moody said he would represent himself in court and that the charges against him would be dropped, according to the evaluation.

Kelly and Vosburg said in the report that the unit in which Moody is receiving care probably would not “be sufficient to the purpose of competency restoration.”

They recommended Moody be placed in Jackson hospital’s Forensic Division, where he “will be provided more intensive treatment and evaluation as well as education concerning the legal system, his current criminal case, and his mental illness,” according to the report.

Moody faces one to 15 years in prison at hard labor if he’s found guilty of the aggravated criminal damage, and one to five years at hard labor on the drive-by shooting charge.