STATE TROOPER MURDER TRIAL: Jury selection continues through weekend

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Jury selection continued Friday in Lafayette for the trial of a 57-year-old man accused of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Louisiana State Trooper Steven Vincent in 2015.

The trial of Kevin Daigle will take place in Lafayette after a full change of venue was granted last year by Judge Clayton Davis.

As of Friday, 10 panels of jury members had been questioned and 55 potential jurors had been “death qualified.” That means those people told the prosecution and defense they had the ability to consider both life in prison or the death penalty should Daigle be convicted.

More potential jurors will still be picked before a jury is seated and alternates are finalized.

Vincent, a 13-year veteran of the Louisiana State Police force, was 44 when he died Aug. 24, 2015.

Davis previously granted a motion by the defense to limit law enforcement presence in the courtroom during Daigle’s trial. Additionally, some evidence in this case remains under seal.

The prosecution team is composed of Lea Hall, Jacob Johnson, and Charles Robinson of the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s office. The defense team is made up of Kyla Romanach and Bruce E. Unangst.

Daigle’s defense team had continually pushed for a full change of venue for trial, saying the team did not feel Daigle would get a fair trial in Calcasieu Parish because residents of this area are emotionally invested in the loss of Vincent.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.   

Because of that factor, the jury selection process can take longer than usual.

Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier said the prosecution is looking for “fair and impartial jurors” who can look at the case, weigh the evidence and make their determination based on those things.

Romanach, during earlier questioning of potential jurors, told them the death penalty is never “required.” She told prospective jurors they need the ability to be able to consider both life in prison and the death penalty.

Those who cannot consider both are excused from serving on the jury.

If convicted of first-degree murder, the trial would move into the penalty phase where jurors would hear testimony and decide if Daigle should receive the death penalty.

Jury selection is expected to continue through the weekend in 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette.

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