Man accused of killing girlfriend’s son set to begin trial in July, Lafayette judge decides Friday _lowres

Laura Smith

The judge presiding over Landon Broussard’s death penalty case has set trial for July 25, 2016, a trial that could last a month or more as jurors weigh the evidence in the 2012 beating death of a 3-year-old boy.

State District Judge Laurie Hulin on Friday also refused to house Broussard in the Lafayette Parish jail until the trial, a request made by defense attorneys Clay LeJeune and Elliott Brown. Broussard’s current address is the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, which is a few hours’ drive from Lafayette.

Broussard is accused of beating Julian Madera, whose naked, lifeless body Broussard brought to his grandmother’s home Nov. 29, 2012. Julian was the son of Laura Smith, who was Broussard’s girlfriend at the time. Smith pleaded guilty to negligence and is currently serving a five-year prison sentence.

Broussard was indicted on one count of first-degree murder in March 2013. Prosecutor William Babin later informed the court the 15th District Attorney’s Office would seek the death penalty in the killing of a child.

Hulin said Friday she wanted to set the trial for early next year, in February or March, but chose July after Brown said he was defending another suspect facing the death penalty in Vermilion Parish.

As he has in past hearings, Babin complained it was taking too long to bring the man accused of beating a child to death to trial.

“The state’s asked for a trial date I don’t know how many times,” Babin said. “I don’t think (the entire trial’s) going to take more than two weeks.”

LeJeune said he believed the trial would last much longer. He said jury selection alone would take a week to 10 days, and the defense portion of the trial would last up to 30 days. LeJeune requested the trial be set after September 2016.

Hulin split the difference and set it for the end of July.

Brown also asked Hulin to order the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, which runs the Correctional Center and has authority over where parish inmates are jailed while awaiting trial, to keep Broussard jailed locally until his trial. Brown said having Broussard in Lafayette would prevent having his attorneys drive hours away as they prepare for trial.

Hulin said no, and Broussard’s attorneys objected, citing limited access to their client.

“Quit telling me you don’t have access to your client,” Hulin said. “You can visit him in Angola. You just have to drive two hours.”