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

Braxton I. Moody IV

A man with a history of mental illness was charged Thursday with drive-by shooting assault and aggravated criminal damage to property for reportedly firing into a vehicle belonging to his ex-wife’s boyfriend.

Braxton I. Moody IV, 66, is being held in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, where he was placed after being transported Wednesday from Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge authorities arrested Moody at the city’s airport on Monday.

15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes said his office filed the charge against Moody early Thursday. The office also filed a motion asking a judge to hold Moody in jail without bail. Stutes said a hearing could be held Monday.

“There are some risk factors and flight factors that have to be considered,” Stutes said.

About 11:30 p.m. July 22, Moody allegedly fired shots into an unoccupied Cadillac Escalade owned by Dr. J. Lee Leonard, a Lafayette orthopedist who is in a relationship with Moody’s ex-wife. The couple had just returned from a restaurant and were inside a home when Moody drove up.

Moody was arrested Monday by Baton Rouge law enforcement before he boarded a plane at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. Police later seized a 9 mm handgun and a 20-gauge shotgun in Moody’s vehicle, which was in the airport parking lot.

Moody, whose father, B.I. Moody III, is the namesake of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s college of business, is a member of an Acadiana family with a range of business interests, including more than 20 small-town newspapers and many restaurants.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Moody with two felonies: aggravated criminal damage to property and “assault by drive-by shooting with a firearm … with the intent to either kill, cause harm to or frighten another person ,” according to the bill of information.

The penalty for criminal damage to property is one to 15 years in prison at hard labor. For the assault charge, a conviction would bring one to five years in prison with or without hard labor, according to Louisiana statutes.

“We’re satisfied that the District Attorney’s Office is taking the steps they’re taking,” said Thomas Guilbeau, Leonard’s attorney.

According to records filed in 15th Judicial District Court, Moody has battled mental health issues for at least a few years.

He was a patient at Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Broussard in 2013. In January of that year, hospital personnel alerted Leonard that Moody had made threats toward Leonard.

Leonard sought court protection from Moody and was granted a protective order by Judge Susan Theall, who ordered Moody not to go near Leonard.