NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former New Orleans police officer who pleaded guilty in connection with deadly shootings after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 is asking to spend the final months of his seven-year sentence on home confinement.
Lawyers for Anthony Villavaso made the request in federal court documents Wednesday. He is one of four officers who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from shootings that killed two unarmed people on the Danziger Bridge days after the storm.
Villavaso was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty in the drawn-out case in April. He received credit for time already served. Lawyers say his release date is Aug. 16. And they say the federal Bureau of Prisons generally allows prisoners to serve the final three months of their sentence on home confinement.
The lawyers also note some complications in Villavaso's case.
Generally, they say, a federal prisoner is assigned to a halfway house with six months left in a sentence, then, after demonstrating responsible behavior, three months of home confinement.
Villavaso, now being held in St. Charles Parish, would have to be transported to a federal prisoner transit hub, then assigned to a federal facility, than assigned to a halfway house and transported back there, the lawyers say.
"Realistically, by the time this occurs the Defendant's sentence would be completed," Villavaso's lawyers say. "As such, due to the unique circumstances of this Defendant he will be deprived of the treatment other defendants routinely receive."
They ask U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to immediately allow home confinement for Villavaso.
Villavaso and other Danziger defendants once faced longer sentences. In 2011, he and three others were convicted in connection with the shootings and subsequent cover-up. A fifth officer was convicted in the cover-up alone. They drew sentences ranging from six to 65 years.
However, Engelhardt threw out the convictions later, citing prosecutorial misconduct, including anonymous comments on a newspaper's website that turned out to have been made by prosecutors.
After they won new trials and eventually entered plea deals, the sentences ranged from three to 12 years.