A 46-year-old Baton Rouge man who faces a lifetime behind bars if convicted of second-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of his wife rejected a prosecutor’s offer Monday to plead guilty to manslaughter and attempted murder in return for a 50-year prison term.
Timothy Bazile, whose trial was pushed back to Aug. 24, also is accused of shooting at the couple’s son, Montrelle Bazile, who police have said tried to intervene in the fatal June 14, 2010, fight between his father and mother, Kendra Hilliard “Tricee” Bazile.
Timothy Bazile’s attorney also filed a motion Monday seeking to recuse the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office, but state District Judge Mike Erwin denied the request. Defense attorney Jarvis Antwine complained that prosecutors over the past several years have dismissed several charges against Montrelle Bazile, the prosecution’s chief witness.
Online records at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse show a charge against Montrelle Bazile of receiving stolen things was dismissed in November 2010, and charges of simple escape, unauthorized use of a movable and simple criminal damage to property were dismissed in October 2012.
“They’re wiping his record clean,” Antwine said after court. “Now I can’t question him about it.”
Antwine said he will ask the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to review Erwin’s denial of the recusal motion.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Montrelle Bazile’s court matters were handled “as are any other defendant’s cases without any improper assistance by our office.”
“The motion filed on behalf of Timothy Bazile is without merit. The court properly denied this motion. Based upon the clear factual record, any reviewing court will find this motion without merit, as well,” Moore said.
He said his office is prepared for trial.
Timothy Bazile is accused of fatally shooting his 39-year-old wife at their Pamela Drive home during what police have described as a domestic dispute.
Asked outside Erwin’s courtroom why Bazile rejected prosecutor David deBlieux’s plea offer, Antwine replied, “You’ll have to come to trial on that.”
“It will be very apparent once trial starts,” he added. “My client tried to defend himself” against his armed son.
Antwine alleged Kendra Bazile was shot in the crossfire.
“When he (Montrelle) came in there with his gun, everything started happening,” Antwine said.
Court documents also show Montrelle Bazille has pending drug charges in the 19th Judicial District Court.
DeBlieux acknowledged inside the courtroom that the younger Bazile’s life “fell off track” after his father fatally shot his mother in front of him.
The offer deBlieux made to Timothy Bazile was for him to plead guilty to manslaughter and attempted second-degree murder and receive concurrent prison terms of 40 and 50 years, respectively. The victim’s family agreed with the offer, the prosecutor said.
Erwin told Bazile that a second-degree murder conviction would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
“That is the offer today,” deBlieux told Bazile and Antwine. “If it is not accepted, it won’t be offered again.”
As soon as Bazile rejected the offer, the prosecutor withdrew it.
After Bazile was indicted in October 2010, he made headlines when he challenged the legality of a 2010 state constitutional amendment that says criminal defendants who wish to give up their right to a jury trial — and instead be tried by a judge — must do so at least 45 days prior to trial.
Erwin declared the amendment unconstitutional, but the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed him in 2013.
The amendment, according to prosecutors, increases judicial efficiency, curtails the need to summon unnecessary people to jury duty and assists courts and prosecutors with regulating their court dockets.
Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.