LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Following the first conviction of the seller in a fentanyl-related murder in Louisiana, the Lafayette District Attorney’s Office said this represents a stand being taken against the drug.
“What this does is it shows our community will not stand for this anymore,” Lance Beal, assistant district attorney, said. “We’re done. This is our line in the sand, and this sends that message loud and clear.”
In October of 2021, Jonterez Broussard traveled with her friends to Downtown Lafayette where they unknowingly purchased fentanyl laced drugs from Damien Bernard.
As a result of taking the drugs, Broussard died of overdose and her friends were transported to a medical facility for treatment.
Bernard was arrested for selling the drugs, and Thursday, a jury unanimously decided Bernard was guilty of second-degree murder.
Assistant District Attorneys Lance Beal and Roya Boustany said this verdict represents change with the way the judicial system cracks down on those who sell fentanyl.
“And this conviction sends a message that if you do this we will come after you,” Beal said. “And there is a life sentence to it, and a jury followed the law of Louisiana and that law is a life sentence.”
“If we can save one life, one life, we are doing our job,” Boustany said. “We are hoping to save many lives.”
As Louisiana’s first guilty verdict murder by way of fentanyl has resulted in Bernard facing a mandatory life sentence, District Attorney Don Landry wants their message to be heard loud and clear.
“We hope this will send a clear message about the dangers of fentanyl and also the dangers of dealing fentanyl,” Landry said. “This case should send that message.”