Justice System

The trial of Kevin Daigle, accused of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015, is being moved to Lafayette.

Judge Clayton Davis on Monday granted a full change of venue for the trial, which means the jury will also be picked in Lafayette.

An earlier change of venue ruling would have allowed the jury to be picked in Bossier Parish and brought to Calcasieu for the trial.

In April, the state Supreme Court removed Judge Guy Bradberry from overseeing the trial after Daigle’s defense team filed a motion for recusal.

The Supreme Court’s decision, said, in part, “The record here demonstrates that the trial judge had a longtime working relationship with Mrs. Vincent, the victim’s widow and a court employee; has a social media relationship with Mrs. Vincent that he initially denied in a formal opinion but later admitted under oath; and has taken steps barred by the Code of Criminal Procedure which, if not corrected by the appellate court, would have thwarted another judge from considering his recusal. Mrs. Vincent is not only the victim’s widow, she is designated as a penalty phase witness in this capital case.”

The state Supreme Court added there has “been no allegation or showing that the trial judge (Bradberry) harbors any actual bias or that he is not a diligent district court judge.”

Davis took over as judge for the Daigle trial after the Supreme Court ruling and heard recent motions from the defense regarding the trial.

Daigle’s defense team has continued to push for a change of venue for trial, saying the team did not feel Daigle would get a fair trial in Calcasieu because residents of this area are emotionally invested in the loss of Vincent.

If Daigle is found guilty of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty. If that happens, a penalty phase of the trial will also be held in Lafayette. The previous prosecution team of Carla Sigler and Rick Bryant were not going to be involved if the case had stayed in Calcasieu because both recently left the District Attorney’s Office to enter into private practice. Kyla Romanach and Caitlin Graham are expected to continue as members of Daigle’s defense team.

No date has been set for jury selection or the actual trial in Lafayette.