Judge declares mistrial in Mardi Gras parade murder after suspect escapes

Akeem Gailes (Source: Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office)
Akeem Gailes (Source: Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office)

PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - Officials say the man on trial for the murder of Dewayne Smith during a Mardi Gras parade in Plaquemine, LA last year escaped from the courthouse during the trial.

Thursday was the first day of trial after the jury selection. During a lunch break, Akeem O. Gailes got away from officials, ran down three flights of stairs and out of the back of the courthouse.

Gailes was captured about 20 minutes later. He was found about three blocks away from the courthouse, hiding under a house.

Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi says it was a combination of human and mechanical error.

Judge William Dupont declared a mistrial after Gailes' capture. The prosecution has appealed the mistrial to the first circuit court. They have 24 hours to respond to the appeal to determine if the trial will continue or if another jury will need to be selected.

Authorities say Akeem Gailes was the triggerman in the February 19, 2012 shooting. They say Gailes pulled up in the parade line, got out of his vehicle and shot and killed 27-year-old Dewayne Smith of White Castle.

Gailes has been in the Iberville Parish Prison since February 29, 2012. He is on trial for second degree murder.

We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

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