Jury in slain St. John deputies case sentences Kyle Joekel to death

Jury in slain St. John deputies case sentences Kyle Joekel to death
Kyle Joekel

EDGARD, La. (WVUE) - A jury in St. John Parish Sunday sentenced Kyle Joekel to death for the murders of two St. John Parish deputies in 2012 at a mobile home park in Laplace.

The jury of six men and six women delivered its unanimous verdict after deliberating for only about one hour.

Although the verdict was handed down by the jury, the judge will pass the final sentence at a later date.

Joekel was found guilty Friday on two counts of first degree murder.

Kyle Joekel has been in prison since deputies arrested him and two others, Terry and Brian Smith, for shooting and killing St. John Parish Sheriff’s Deputies Jeremy Triche and Brandon Neilson. Two other deputies were injured in the Laplace mobile home ambush and still work for the department.

During the trial the state argued there were two shooters that day. They say Brian Smith, a paranoid schizophrenic was the initial shooter. But it was Joekel who grabbed an AK-47 and fired at point blank range killing deputy Brandon Neilson because he was an extremist who hated the police.

The other shooter in the case, Brian Smith, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial at this time.

On Saturday, several people took the stand to give victim impact statements.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.