Families heartbroken over appeal court's ruling to reduce vehicular homicide charges

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two families thought they finally had closure when the man accused of killing their loved ones was convicted and sentenced. Those wounds were reopened Wednesday as an appeal court reduced the charges David Leger.

"Upset, just heartbreaking that already he was sentenced long enough and now he may be getting out way sooner than anticipated," said Sue Fontenot.

Sue and her husband Gary lost their daughter Liz Fontenot and three grandsons Keagan, Hunter and Austin in a fiery crash on I-12 in Baton Rouge in 2011. Liz's friend, Kimberly Stagg, was also in that car and did not make it.

David Leger was accused of playing cat and mouse on the interstate with another driver, Kelsye Hall, when his truck crossed over the median, hitting Fontenot's car head-on. That car caught on fire and all five people burned to death.

Leger's truck ended up in three separate pieces with a bottle of Captain Morgan found nearby. His blood alcohol content was .1, higher than the legal limit of 0.08.

Leger went to trial in 2014 and was convicted of five counts of vehicular homicide.

Today, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reduced those charges to five counts of negligent homicide.

"I just don't believe that the court systems are fair up there," Sue Fontenot said. "I don't know who has who in their pocket or what the deal is but apparently somebody has some pull somewhere and justice is not being served."

In their ruling, the appeal court said, "In this case, there is no doubt that the defendant was intoxicated as his blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit. However, a thorough review of the record discloses that the evidence failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant's intoxication was a contributing factor to the deaths of the five victims."

Leger was originally sentenced to eight years behind bars and could be eligible for parole after three years. That could now change.

Fontenot says Leger and Hall have never accepted responsibility and instead keep pointing the finger at each other.

"I have forgiven the man because I have to forgive him for myself but that does not mean I have to forget what he has done," she said. "I do forgive him but I still want him to be held accountable and do what is right."

District Attorney Hillar Moore also disagrees with the decision. He released the following statement.

We respectfully disagree with the 1st Circuit Court's decision today upsetting the jury's decision in this very emotional case.

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