GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A man convicted for the death of a baby girl will never serve time in jail, as a judge sentenced him to two years of house arrest and the victim's family wants answers about why this was the outcome.
The Deville family of Gonzales was forever fractured when their infant daughter, Brittany, was killed in a car accident. On July 31, 1994 Rachel Deville and four others were driving down Airline Highway in Gonzales when, according to a report by Louisiana State Police, Stanley White, 19, of Donaldsonville, rear-ended the car they were in. Deville said her 10-week-old daughter was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.
White's blood alcohol content was .09, which was under the legal limit at the time of the crash. White was arrested and in 1995 pleaded guilty to negligent homicide. A judge sentenced him to 24 months of hard labor at the Louisiana Department of Corrections. However, an apparent crack in the system would mean that White never served his time.
"What happened?" Rachel Deville asked. "Why did they not do their job? They owe us an explanation for that."
When what the state described as a clerical error became known, White and the Devilles were thrown back into the court system, nearly 20 years after the deadly crash. The question of whether White would fulfill the original sentence after so much time was debated in multiple courtrooms but finally settled with 23rd Judicial District Court Judge Jessie LeBlanc. Instead of jail time, White, now 39, will serve two years of home incarceration.
"After all these years, who Stanley White actually is, I think what the judge and the court did today was just and fair and equitable," Steven Moore, White's attorney, said.
Moore said his client became an upstanding citizen after the accident, getting a degree and staying out of trouble. He believes the ruling is appropriate.
"He could never get the little girl back. He can't do anything but live his life the best way possible," Moore added.
Brittany Deville's family members said they are still left hurting.
"My whole family, we received a life sentence. We don't have Brittany. He had a measly 24 months and he couldn't even do that," Rachel Deville added.
"He still gets to go to work, go to church, go to the doctor, do what he has to do to fulfill his probation," Shannon Deville, the victim's father, said. "Other than that, he's not really locked up. So, there's not any justice for me at all."
House arrest means White will only be able to leave his home to go to work, church, doctor's appointments and meetings with his probation officer.