PLAQUEMINE - A Kaplan man admitted to the 2009 fatal shooting of a Plaquemine man, blaming the crime on a case of mistaken identity after a drug deal gone bad, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Channing P. “Mud Duck” Touchet, 27, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder shortly before his trial was about to start in 18th Judicial District Court.
Sentencing for Touchet, 19534 Adlar Road, Kaplan, is set for 11 a.m. Thursday, District Attorney Ricky Ward said.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life in prison.
Prosecutor Tony Clayton said he was “shocked and surprised” by Touchet’s guilty plea.
“I talked to his lawyers and they said he made a mistake and wanted to deal with it,” Clayton said.
“I hope he spends the rest of his life thinking about how to deter kids from using drugs because he killed an innocent kid in his quest for drugs.”
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth A. Engolio said Touchet was living in temporary housing in the Plaquemine area at the time of the shooting while working for a contractor doing repairs on the Interstate 10 bridge.
Around 10 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2009, Touchet and another man drove to Allen Street in Plaquemine to buy illegal drugs, Engolio said.
A drug dealer took $130 from Touchet and instructed him to drive around the block to get the drugs, Engolio said.
Touchet realized he’d been cheated when the dealer wasn’t where he was supposed to be, Engolio said.
After searching for the dealer, Touchet encountered Jamarius Riley, 19, walking down the street, the prosecutor said.
Touchet mistook Riley for the drug dealer because Riley and the drug dealer were wearing similar clothing, Engolio said.
Touchet emptied his Glock 9 mm handgun in the victim’s direction - 15 rounds - four of which struck and killed Riley, Engolio said.
The victim had just left his job at a grocery store and was on his way to his grandmother’s house where he lived, the prosecutor said.
Touchet and the man he was with fled the scene and remained at large for close to a month.
Prosecutors said Touchet told his wife on Christmas Day about the incident, six days after Riley was shot to death.
Touchet also told friends about the killing on New Year’s Eve, prosecutors said.
Authorities eventually caught up with Touchet on Jan. 14, 2010, after his wife came forward with a tip, Engolio said.
During questioning, Touchet implicated his co-worker, Nicholas “Vegas” Gorringe, no address given, as having participated in the killing.
Gorringe, 30, is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 2, Engolio said.