A month ago, 18-year-old Seth Fontenot was arrested and charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder for shooting at three teenagers who were riding in a pickup truck. One of them, Austin Rivault, died from his injuries. The other two, were shot but survived. According to documents, Fontenot believed his truck was being broken into. Initially there was speculation Fontenot's home had been burglarized multiple times prior to the Feb 10th incident.
Lafayette Police have released new information which details two burglaries at Seth Fontenot's home in the months leading up to the deadly shooting.
We have yet to hear from either sides on the case, but there is now a gag order in place, prohibiting any side from speaking.
News 10 Caroline Balchunas takes a closer look in this report.
Fontenot Released on Bail
Accused killer, Seth Fontenot, was released on a $700,000 bond Monday. Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, entered a plea of not guilty for the charges of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.
Fontenot was arrested on February 10th for allegedly shooting and killing 15 year old Austin Rivault and shooting and injuring two other teenagers.
Guilbeau says good Samaritans, family and friends came together to raise over $600,000 to put toward his bail.
Bond Set for Seth Fontenot
Bond has been set for Seth Fontenot at $700,000.
$500,000 for the first degree murder of 15 year old Austin Rivault and $100,000 each for the attempted first degree murders of two other 15 year olds who were shot in a pick-up truck on the morning of February 10th.
Judge Replaced in Fontenot Case
The 18 year old Hub City man who was indicted earlier this month in connection with the shooting of three 15 year olds in a pick-up truck will still stand trial for first degree murder.
But Wednesday prosecutors announced they are no longer seeking the death penalty. Seth Fontenot is charged with first degree murder in the death of 15 year old Austin Rivault and the attempted first degree murders of two other 15 year olds who were in a pick-up truck on the morning of February 10th.
District Attorney Mike Harson told Eyewitness News the decision was made after careful consideration of the facts in the case.
Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, says news of the decision had a profound impact on his client. With the prospect of the death penalty now removed from the case, so is the judge who was supposed to hear it.
Judge Herman Clause was replaced Wednesday by Judge Kristian Earles who will now preside over the upcoming trial.
Judge Earles has scheduled a bond hearing for Thursday that could result in Fontenot being released pending his trial.
Seth Fontenot Case Update
New information is coming to light about what happened before during and after a Hub City man was charged with first degree murder for firing on a pick-up truck with three juveniles inside.
Eyewitness News spoke with attorneys for both the defense and the prosecution in the state's case against Seth Fontenot. And as you'll see in this report what came out is some information that has previously not been made public.
Tommy Guilbeau: "I've handled eleven death penalty cases and this is not one.."
Lafayette Defense Attorney Tommy Guilbeau is talking about this month's arrest of 18 year old Seth Fontenot who has been indicted for first degree murder in the death of one 15 year old boy and attempted first degree murder of two others.
According to Lafayette Police the boys claimed they were driving through this sub division shortly before two in the morning, minding their own business, when a man armed with a pistol suddenly fired three shots at their passing truck.
Guilbeau claims Fontenot was trying to stop the trio from breaking into his vehicle and opened fire on the truck when the three refused to stop.
Tommy Guilbeau: "The appropriate charge in this case should be negligent homicide or at the worst manslaughter, but not first degree murder. "
District Attorney Mike Harson's office disagrees. For Fontenot to be charged with first degree murder Harson's office had to convince the grand jury Fontenot had the intent to kill more than one person. Guilbeau argues his client never intended to kill anyone and should have had the chance to tell his side of story to the grand jury.
Harson says his office was under no legal obligation to allow Fontenot to testify.
Mike Harson: "We don't have to allow him to address the grand jury and in cases where we already have a statement from the suspect there is no point."
After the shooting the trio drove to the emergency entrance of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. We now know that during that same period of time Fontenot's sister was calling 911 to report what had happened.
Guilbeau says the 911 operator took down the information and that a few minutes later they were contacted by a Lafayette Police Officer who took down some information and said they would follow-up on the case in the morning.
Guilbeau says Fontenot went to bed that night thinking he had put three bullets into the tailgate of the truck and that no one had been hurt, when in fact all three bullets struck all three boys.
Soon after arriving at the hospital the driver died from a head wound. His two passengers survived their wounds. They continue to insist they were only driving by that night and when someone opened fire on them.
Under state law 15 year olds can obtain a learners permit to drive as long as it's with a licensed adult and during authorized hours.
Guilbeau says the trio had previously stolen beer from a owner of a local retail establishment and the truck they were in, Guilbeau says, was also taken without the owners knowledge.
A Lafayette District Judge will decide Wednesday who presides over the state's case on Seth Fontenot, the 18 year old Hub City man who is being held responsible for firing into a pick-up truck carrying three 15 year olds.
Judge Herman Clause has previously indicated he has distant connections to two people involved on each side of the case.
But Judge Clause has chosen not to recuse himself. Prosecuting attorney Mark Garber wants Clause off the case and Wednesday he'll ask district Judge Marilyn Castle to do just that. In the event Castle refuses then Garber is prepared to argue the selection process used to pick clause was flawed.
There is a hopper inside the courthouse containing 33 ping pong balls, three for each of the districts eleven judges. But when the judge was picked for the Fontenot case they were a ball short. That's because one ball belonging to District Judge Kristian Earles had recently been drawn for another case and hadn't been returned to the hopper prior to the drawing for the Fontenot trial.
Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, wants clause to stay. District Attorney Mike Harson wants another drawing.
Seth Fontenot Denied Bail
The man accused of allegedly killing a Lafayette teenager and shooting to others was indicted today by a grand Jury.
Eighteen -year-old Seth Fontenot appeared before the grand jury at the Lafayette Parish Court House Thursday.
Fontenot was indicted for first degree murder of Austin Rivault, and two counts of attempted first degree murder of Cole Kelley and William Bellamy.
Fontenot's bond has been set at $500,0000 for the two counts of attempted first degree murder. No bond has been set for the charge of first degree murder.