LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -As the last court day in Lafayette ended in the capital murder trial of Kevin Daigle, stronger winds were already blowing as Tropical Storm Barry approaches. Though moving the trial was for safety, the defense filed motions to bar it from being moved to Lake Charles and asked for a mistrial.
The defense argues that if the Lafayette jurors are moved to Lake Charles they will be worried about their families and the bad weather and therefore would be distracted from their duties and maybe even hold it against the defense.
Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier and the judge expressed confidence in the jury.
“This jury has demonstrated, at least in their deliberations, that they can get down to it very quickly and I think they will, no matter what the end result is, to decide this case on its merits,” said DeRosier.
Judge Clayton Davis denied the two defense motions.
Davis said to grant the mistrial motion would be to sell jurors short.
The judge said he “expects jurors to do their job and that there’s no legitimate reason to doubt that they will.” And Davis said they need to finish what they started.
Also, Davis added that they could be criticized even more for staying and waiting for the storm to pass.
At 12:30 p.m. the jury heard from defense expert, neuroscientist, Jeffrey Lewine of the Mind Research Network. When testifying he is actually associated with the consulting group, Mindset. He testified about so-called mitigating factors the defense will use to try to persuade jurors not to vote for execution. He gave detailed technical information about how they study the brain and test for abnormalities caused by many things from traumatic brain injury to substance abuse.
He told the jury Daigle has a “broken, compromised brain.”
But DeRosier reached a different conclusion.
“I think all they established is that his brain functions are different from a lot of other people. I don’t see anything that this doctor said that creates any diminution in responsibility for what this defendant did,” said DeRosier.
The defense plans to put on two more experts as they finish their side in the penalty phase. Then the state has the opportunity for rebuttal. Then there are closing arguments.
The state seeks death for Daigle for first-degree murder of Trooper Steven Vincent, while the defense is working to convince the jury that Daigle’s life should be spared.
All the defense needs is one juror to vote against death and Daigle will get a life sentence. It takes a unanimous jury vote to impose the death penalty.
The trial picks up Saturday morning in Lake Charles, due to Tropical Storm Barry, which is expected to be more severe in Lafayette.