Death penalty could be off table for suspect in deaths of Sunset - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Death penalty could be off table for suspect in deaths of Sunset police officer, others

Harrison Lee Riley Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office) Harrison Lee Riley Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
ST. LANDRY PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

The death penalty could be off the table for the man accused of stabbing a woman to death and killing a Sunset police officer in August.

On December 1, a St. Landry Parish grand jury indicted Harrison Lee Riley Jr. on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Officer Henry Nelson and Shameka Johnson and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the attacks on Surlay Johnson and his own wife Courtney Jolivette. 

27th Judicial District Attorney Earl Taylor stated in a release Thursday that after a unanimously request by the victims' families, the attorney's office would not seek the death penalty if Riley pleaded guilty to all four counts. Instead Riley would be sentenced to life in prison for the two counts of first-degree murder and 50 years in prison for the two counts of attempted first-degree murder. 

Officer Henry Nelson, was shot and killed on August 26, 2015 while responding to a domestic stabbing incident less than a mile from the police department.

The suspect, Harrison Lee Riley, is family to the Johnsons, all cousins, and he was cousin to Officer Henry Nelson as well.

Deputies say after the incident on Anna Street, Riley then took off and crashed a car inside a gas station less than a mile away. People inside the mini-mart immediately fled. However when Riley tried to escape he was trapped by deputies who arrived, causing him to barricade himself inside the office.

Riley was later arrested at the Sunset Mini Mart after a two-hour standoff with police.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said they believe Riley was under the influence of drugs, possibly PCP. Shortly after he was arrested, the gas station caught fire adding to the chaos. 

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