Court

A Sulphur man was sentenced in state district court Friday to 40 years in prison in connection with a 2015 fatal shooting.

Robert Lee Sargent Jr., 35, was accused of shooting Dolan “Chip” Richard, 37, outside of Richard’s residence in the 300 block of Edgar Street in Sulphur on May 1, 2015. Sulphur police said Richard died in his driveway.

Sargent and Paul Landry Falcon were apprehended several hours after the incident and were charged with second-degree murder. In June 2015, a grand jury indicted both men on the same charge.

Falcon pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact to second-degree murder and was sentenced to five years.

Sargent pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to an amended charge of manslaughter. As part of the plea, prosecutors dismissed an accompanying charge of aggravated assault with a firearm.

Ellen Richard, the victim’s mother, spoke before Sargent’s sentencing. She said his decision to take her son’s life with no regard to its effects was “unimaginable” and that Sargent had shot him “like he was on a hunting trip, leaving him to die on the side of the road.”

“Our family is forever broken,” she said.

She told Judge David Ritchie that her family was “truly trying to find forgiveness” for Sargent but asked that he “serve the maximum of 40 years flat and no parole.”

“It was not manslaughter. It was murder,” she said.

The victim’s sister, Ann Richard, said that the night of May 1, 2015, changed her life in ways that she could not have imagined before. The shotgun had been pointed at her before Sargent shot her brother.

“I begged you that night to not pull the trigger,” she said to Sargent.

She said she had been a productive member of society before that night. But since then, she said, her husband has left her, she can no longer hold down a job, her child doesn’t talk to her and she is homeless. Defense attorney Andrew Casanave said drugs and alcohol clouded Sargent’s judgement that day. He also said Falcon was the “true instigator” in the incident.

“Paul Falcon did not pull the trigger. Paul Falcon did not drive Robert Sargent to the house that night,” said prosecutor Ross Murray. Murray said the 30 minutes between when the victim punched Sargent to when Sargent fatally shot him was “more than enough time for blood to cool.”

Ritchie called the slaying a “senseless, stupid decision that has destroyed two families” and that it was pride that drove Sargent to retrieve his gun to “get even.”

“You didn’t have the right to take his life because you were mad,” he said.

Ritchie also spoke of letters written on Sargent’s behalf seeking mercy. He said that had already been shown when prosecutors lessened Sargent’s charge from second degree murder to manslaughter.

“Anything less than 40 years is not justified in this case,” said Ritchie.