Sentencing delayed again, judge denies new trial for man convicted in tragic crash on I-10

Sentencing delayed again, judge denies new trial for man convicted in tragic crash on I-10

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Local families expecting justice in court on Tuesday learned they will have to wait another month to hear how long the man convicted of killing their loved ones will spend in prison.

The case involves David Leger, who was found guilty of driving drunk and killing five people in a fiery crash on Interstate 10 five years ago.

Judge Chip Moore with the 19th Judicial District denied the defense's motion for a new trial. It is a victory for prosecutors, but victims were hoping Leger would be sentenced.

Leger, 34, of Palmetto, was convicted in 2014 on five counts of vehicular homicide in a deadly crash that happened in Baton Rouge in 2011. He faces up to 30 years in prison on each count. He got to walk free after his conviction in July 2014 due to legal issues and calls for a retrial.

The crash happened on I-10 East between Highland Road and Manchac Bayou on March 13, 2011. The crash was the result of a road rage incident between Leger and another woman, Kelsye Hall.

Authorities said Leger was intoxicated when he and another driver chased one another down the interstate. Leger clipped that car, lost control, crossed the median, and hit another car head-on. His blood alcohol concentration was 0.1, which is over the legal limit of 0.08.

The victims were Liz Fontenot, 29; Kimberly Stagg, 19; Keagan Fontenot, 11; Hunter Johnson, 7; and Austin Fontenot, 3.

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Louisiana State Police reported Hall was driving a sport utility vehicle and Leger was driving a truck. Troopers said Hall was driving ahead of Leger on I-10 West and for some distance, they were both driving recklessly.

It is believed Leger tried to pass Hall, but she wouldn't let him. Investigators suspect Leger's truck clipped the front of Hall's SUV, which sent him across the median. Authorities said the truck collided head-on with the Acura the victims were riding in and the car burst into flames.

Hall was also convicted in the crash. She is currently on probation and parole supervision after serving her prison sentence. She was convicted in August 2013 of five counts of negligent homicide. She was sentenced in October 2013 to two years in prison for her role in the crash. She was released from prison on July 6, 2014. She is on probation until 2019.

The families, who have been to court several times to witness both trials, fear Leger will get a similar sentence.

"I am very, very, very disappointed. I just, we just really thought this would be it, and frankly we are tired of coming back. It's just been one thing after another," Charlotte Baronne said.

"It's just a tough situation to be in, but I commend them for not giving up and supporting our office and supporting the way things are turning out.
It may not be there in the beginning, but it is all falling into line now," prosecutor Ronald Gathe said.

The delays started last August when Leger fired attorney Tommy Damico after the trial and hired Jim Boren.

Judge Trudy White presided over the trial but recused herself after Boren claimed she was rushing to get through sentencing to focus on her re-election.

Boren plans to appeal Judge Moore's decision to deny Leger a new trial.

Sentencing is set for May 12.

Leger faces anywhere between 25 to 150 years in prison.

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