Suspect in deadly deputies shootings scheduled for pre-trial hearing

Kyle David Joekel (Source: St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office)
Kyle David Joekel (Source: St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff's Office)

LAPLACE, LA (WAFB) - One of the suspects in the shootings that left two sheriff's deputies dead is scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing Wednesday.

Kyle David Joekel is charged with two counts of first-degree murder of a police officer and three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer in the shootings involving members of the St. John Parish Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Brandon Nielsen and Deputy Jeremy Triche were killed on Aug. 16 in what Sheriff Mike Tregre described as an ambush. Deputy Jason Triche and Deputy Michael Boyington II were injured, but survived.

The purpose of the hearing is for Joekel to receive a court-appointed attorney.

According to WWL-TV in New Orleans, an attorney for one of Joekel's co-defendants said it could be problematic finding lawyers properly qualified to defend the suspect in a death penalty case, as this one is considered, especially based on the pay rates the state of Louisiana offers.

The report added there are currently 120 death penalty cases being prosecuted across the state.

Tregre said the initial shooting happened near Bayou Steel on LA 3217 in a Valero plant parking lot south of LaPlace around 5 a.m. Deputy Jason Triche was helping with traffic in the area when someone walked up to him and opened fire.

Tregre said a witness called to report a speeding vehicle on the highway and deputies ended up at a nearby trailer park to investigate. He added Jeremy Triche and Nielsen were questioning two people about shooting when a third made his way outside through another door.

Tregre said the pair was then shot to death by that third suspect. Boyington was wounded in the shooting.

Seven suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting. They have all been moved to the St. Charles Parish jail.

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