LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)–A man convicted of manslaughter in Lafayette now has a lighter sentence. Tyler Benoit will be released from prison eight years sooner.
A 15th Judicial District court judge reduced Benoit’s sentence Friday morning from 40 years to 32 years. The decision came after an appeals court decided the judge was too harsh handing down the maximum sentence the first time around.
Benoit was convicted of manslaughter and obstruction of justice after killing 32-year-old Christon Chaisson in 2017 in Downtown Lafayette. The trial revealed Chaisson was trying to help a woman who had fallen on the ground and hit her head while fighting with her boyfriend.
Benoit got involved in the incident, ending with him shooting Chaisson.
It was an emotional morning in the courtroom, as both the victim and the killer’s families feel that the lighter manslaughter sentence was unfair.
“I understand, and I am so sorry that there is someone dead,” Tyler Benoit’s mother, Tori Meaux, said. “I am so sorry. I hope somehow this can end in some kind of peace for everyone. It’s not going to bring nobody back, but I do not think I shouldn’t have my son.”
Meaux believes her son didn’t deserve the maximum sentence of 40 years, but, to her, 32 years is still too much time.
“I would like to see him come home eventually,” Meaux said. “He does not deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail, and all I ask is that the system treats my son as it treats everyone else.”
Meaux also said she will keep fighting.
“We will continue. There will be an appeal. This will continue to go on until some type of medium is met,” Meaux told News 10.
Meanwhile, Christon Chaisson’s siblings feel the original sentenced handed down by Judge Marilyn Castle was fair.
“It’s messed up in so many ways,” Christon Chaission’s brother, Curtland Chaission, said. “I know they’re going to continue to appeal and stuff like that, but I think it’s got to stop there. Someone was shot and killed. He needs to hold up to that.”
During the resentencing, Judge Castle said that while she acknowledged Benoit had no prior felony convictions, his actions were egregious, as Christon Chaisson did not provoke Benoit in any way.
“No matter what, my brother did the right thing by helping someone else, and like the judge said, it was a vigorous thing,” Christon Chaisson’s sister, Shanena Chaisson, said.
“For this to continue on as much as it has been, I think it just needs to stop. They reduced it down to 32 years. He needs to serve his time and be done,” Curtland Chaisson added.
Benoit will serve the 32-year sentence for manslaughter concurrently with the 20-year sentence for obstruction of justice.
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