A Gulfport man accused of shooting a St. Charles Parish sheriff’s deputy last month will have his mental health examined by two doctors at the request of his lawyer.
Judge Emile St. Pierre has approved the motion filed by John Paul DeVillier’s attorney, Wendy Williams of Boutte, to determine whether he had the “mental capacity” to commit attempted murder. DeVillier will be examined by doctors Daphne Glindmeyer and Kristin Luscher of Gretna.
Williams wrote in a court filing that she believes DeVillier, 58, “lacks the capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his defense as a result of a mental disease or defect.”
DeVillier allegedly shot Deputy Burt Hazeltine three times on the morning of April 16 as the officer was directing traffic near a middle school in Paradis. Police said DeVillier, who was in town for a family funeral, became enraged after Hazeltine didn’t let him make a quick turn. DeVillier allegedly returned to his father’s house to retrieve firearms then shot Hazeltine in what Sheriff Greg Champagne described as an ambush.
Hazeltine was rushed to LSU Interim Hospital to be treated. He has since been released.
DeVillier left a troubled path in Mississippi, where he was fired from his job as a TSA agent in 2013 and an ex-wife accused him of being abusive and addicted to prescription painkillers. But his alleged attack on Hazeltine left many questions. Chief among them was why he would have snapped so suddenly and violently.
In the immediate wake of the shooting, Champagne said he believed DeVillier had “mental issues.” Hours later, Champagne backed off a bit from those comments, stating only that deputies were investigating the possibility.
St. Pierre separately approved on Wednesday a sanity commission requested by the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office. That commission, consisting of doctors Richard Richoux and Raphael Salcedo, is set to examine DeVillier on Tuesday.
He is being held on $1 million bond.