A man accused of killing five people, including his own parents, in a two-parish shooting rampage in January is being held at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola pending trial.

Dakota Theriot, 21, was moved to the penitentiary for security reasons, said Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lori Steele.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said in a statement that the move "just made sense."

"We have no reason to house him. DOC (The state Department of Corrections) reached out to offer the service. We took them up on that offer," Ard said.

People awaiting trial who cannot afford bond are typically held in a parish jail, not a state prison.

Authorities have said that, on the morning of Jan. 26, Theriot shot Summer Ernest, whom investigators and family members described as his girlfriend; her father, Billy Ernest; and her brother, Tanner Ernest, in their trailer outside Walker, where Dakota Theriot had been staying for a couple weeks. He then stole Billy Ernest's vehicle and drove to Ascension Parish, where he shot his parents, Elizabeth and Keith Theriot, authorities have said.

Dakota Theriot was arrested the next morning in Virginia outside his grandmother's house and less than a week later agreed to return to Louisiana to face charges.

Theriot has been indicted on three counts of first-degree murder in Livingston Parish and is expected to face two more murder counts in Ascension Parish. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek Theriot's execution.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections will "from time-to-time" house high-profile inmates as a courtesy to sheriff's offices, said Ken Pastorick, a spokesman for the agency.

"For his safety and security and for the safety and security of the institution, we'll house those inmates," Pastorick said. 

He also noted there could be family or friends of the victims living or working in the Livingston Parish facility.

Livingston Parish District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said he could not remember this happening before in his career.

Perrilloux said he expects an arraignment for Theriot on the murder charges later this month. Tyler Cavalier, a spokesman for the Ascension Parish District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors there intend to take the case to a grand jury but have not yet set a date.

Records show Theriot had a long history of substance abuse, violence and mental illness.


Follow Caroline Grueskin on Twitter, @cgrueskin.