BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Family members who have waited five years to learn the punishment for the man considered responsible for a "road rage" crash that killed five people will have to wait longer due to another sentencing delay.
David Leger, 34, of Palmetto, was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday on five counts of vehicular homicide. He faces up to 30 years in prison on each count.
Judge Chip Moore set a new sentencing date for August 18. Relatives of the victims were very upset in court. Moore empathized with the family members of the victims who showed up to court ready for the sentencing, but he stated he didn't want to hand down a sentence due to an appeal that was recently filed.
Defense attorney Jim Boren filed an appeal Wednesday night to the First Circuit Court of Appeal on the basis of the court not granting a new trial. Boren said he filed the appeal within the time frame ruled by law and that it was not a tactic to delay sentencing.
Leger was convicted in 2014 for driving drunk and killing five people in a fiery crash on I-10 in 2011. He got to walk free after his conviction in July 2014 due to legal issues and calls for a retrial. In April, Moore denied the motion for a new trial, but the sentencing was delayed again.
"It's not right, it's not fair, this should not be dragging on the way it is," says Karen Stagg, mother of Kimberly Stagg. "This is not right the way it's being handled."
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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.
Sue Fontenot, mother of Liz Fontenot and grandmother of Keagan, Hunter and Austin says she was robbed of her three angels.
"Like I said a while ago, I've been robbed. I've been robbed of my children, that's it." says Fontenot. "Keegan, Hunter and Austin were my children."
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.
"You can't go on until this is settled," says Stagg. "You can't have any closure or any peace of mind until this is settled and it shouldn't. This has gone on too long."
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.