There is no evidence that a St. Landry Parish man's intoxication was a contributing factor to a fiery 2011 interstate crash in Baton Rouge that killed five people in one car, the man's attorney has told the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reached the same conclusion in November when it reduced David Leger's five vehicular homicide convictions to the lesser crimes of negligent homicide in the deaths of five Ascension Parish residents.
Last month, East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to reverse the appellate court and reinstate Leger's original convictions and his eight-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors are asking Louisiana's top court to reinstate a St. Landry Parish man's vehicular homicide conviction and eight-year prison term i…
Now, Leger's attorney, Rachel Conner, has filed court papers requesting that the justices deny the state's appeal.
The central question in the longrunning case is whether Leger's intoxication -- his blood alcohol level was 0.10 percent after the crash -- contributed to the wreck or merely coincided with it. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent is considered presumptive evidence of drunken driving in Louisiana for those 21 and older.
Conner contends there is zero evidence of a causal relationship between Leger's intoxication and the fatalities. Instead, she points to the trial testimony of a defense expert who concluded that a minor collision between Leger's pickup and a sport utility vehicle driven by Kelsye Hall, of Baton Rouge, caused his truck to rocket across the interstate and strike the victims' car.
"The most significant aspect of the defense expert's testimony was his conclusion that the force of the collision between Hall's vehicle and Leger's vehicle was such that `no person, drunk or sober, could avoid this change in direction, and the defendant's intoxication did not have anything to do with the redirection because there was no evidence of any loss of control until this contact,'" Conner argues in her Supreme Court filing.
A man's vehicular homicide conviction in a fiery 2011 road-rage related crash that killed five local residents on Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge…
Hall, 28, was convicted at a separate trial of five counts of negligent homicide and sentenced to two years in prison. She served last than a year behind bars and is now on probation.
Witnesses testified at the trials of Hall and Leger, 35, that both were engaged in a high-speed and reckless game of "cat and mouse" on Interstate 10 West in Ascension Parish and into East Baton Rouge Parish when the fatal crash eventually occurred on I-10 East between the Highland Road exit and the Bluff Road overpass.
Prosecutors Ron Gathe and Christopher Casler argue in their appeal filed last month that the evidence proves Leger's operation of his truck while intoxicated "ultimately resulted in defendant losing control of his vehicle and colliding with the victims."
A partially empty, capped bottle of Captain Morgan rum was found inside Leger's truck.
Saying the St. Landry Parish man cut short the lives of two young Ascension Parish women and three boys by an estimated 322 years, a state jud…
Killed in the crash were Effie Fontenot, 29, of Prairieville; her three sons, Keagan and Austin Fontenot, 11 and 3, respectively, and Hunter Johnson, 7; and her friend and coworker, Kimberly Stagg, 19, of Prairieville.
The 1st Circuit called the loss of five innocent victims horrific but said there was insufficient evidence to differentiate the criminal behavior of Leger and Hall. The appeals court said Hall demonstrated "equally bad behavior without intoxication."