Seth Fontenot sentenced to 3 years, reduced to 13 months


Update (07/08/2015):

Seth Fontenot will spend between five and 13 months in jail for killing Austin Rivault. Fontenot also shot and injured Cole Kelley and William Bellamy.

Judge Edward Rubin sentenced Fontenot to 3 years hard labor (in jail) for the manslaughter conviction, but suspended all but 13 months of the sentence.

Fontenot will be on probation for two years when he is released from prison.

But the prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney J. Prather, told KLFY that Fontenot is “going to serve 40% of 13 months.”

During the hearing family and friends of the Rivault, Kelley and Bellamy read letters they wrote to Judge Rubin as to why Fontenot should serve the maximum of 40 years in prison for his crime.

They are not the only ones who are disappointed with the outcome.

“I don’t like the signal that it is sending to our community. 13 months, you’re going to be out in four months for the death of one and shooting up two others. I think it’s clearly an illegal sentence the court will have to look at it again, we’re going to take a writ on it,” Prather said.

According to Prather, the court did not indicate this was a crime of violence although he vigorously argued that it was during trial.

The prosecutor says that an appeal will be filed today to the 3rd circuit court of appeal to review the sentencing issues.

We are still waiting on a sentence to be set for Seth Fontenot for his manslaughter conviction in the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault in 2013.

Those at the sentencing hearing this morning have heard emotional testimony from Rivault supporters, including his mother, father, and sister.

His family asked Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Edward Rubin for the maximum sentence of 40 years for Fontenot.

“Seth, you are a criminal,” said Kevin Rivault, Austin’s father.

Check back for more at as the hearing continues. 

Original Story by The Advertiser:

Seth Fontenot will learn Wednesday how much time he has to spend in prison for the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault on Feb. 10, 2013.

A jury in March convicted Fontenot, now 21, of manslaughter in Rivault’s death.

He also was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery for shooting two then 15-year-olds, Cole Kelley and William Bellamy, who were with Rivault on the night of his death.

Fontenot is scheduled to appear for sentencing at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday before Judge Edward Rubin.

Louisiana law allows Rubin to sentence Fontenot to as much as 40 years in prison on the manslaughter conviction. It does not set a minimum sentence.

Fontenot also faces up to 10 years in prison and/or up to $5,000 in fines for each of the aggravated battery convictions. Rubin can have the battery sentences run concurrent with the manslaughter sentence which means Fontenot would not have to spend additional time in jail for the battery convictions.

Under Louisiana law, anyone convicted of a violent crime has to serve 85 percent of his sentence in jail. In Fontenot’s case, if he’s sentenced to the maximum 40 years, he would have to serve 34 years in prison. If Fontenot is sentenced to 10 years, he would have to serve 8.5 years. A five-year-sentence would be 4.25 years.

Fontenot was indicted and tried on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first degree murder, but the jury of 10 women and two men found him guilty of the lesser charges. The district attorney’s office was not seeking the death penalty.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 10, 2013, Kelley and Bellamy said they were driving Rivault to his parents’ home on Green Meadow Road in Lafayette when Fontenot ran out of his parents’ house and shot at them.

Fontenot claims he woke up that morning to the sound of someone pulling on the door handles of his truck, which had previously been burglarized. He grabbed a handgun his stepfather bought for him, went out the front door and saw two figures in a neighbor’s yard. When they didn’t stop at his command, Fontenot said he fired at the truck.

According to witnesses, the first shot hit the driver, Kelley, in the ankle. One shot hit Bellamy in the neck and another hit Rivault in the head.

Assistant District Attorney J.N. Prather Jr. tried to convince the jury that Fontenot had been planning for some time to shoot the next person he caught trying to break into his truck.

Defense attorney Thomas Guilbeau said Fontenot never denied shooting the teens, but argued he was aiming at the truck, not the people in the truck.

A student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Fontenot has been out on bond since the conviction while a pre-sentence investigation was conducted. A pre-sentence investigation involves interviewing and receiving letters from people who know the convicted individual as well as those representing his victims.

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