Nov 14, 2013 3:32 PM by Dwayne Fatherree

Change of judges coming in Fontenot case

Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Kristian Earles said during a motions hearing in the Seth Fontenot first-degree murder case today that the felony trial will not take place until 2014.

Earles said the new lottery for judicial assignments will have him handling criminal cases in Acadia Parish as of Jan. 1. Instead, Judge Edward Rubin will take over the Fontenot case.

One issue that is holding the trial date back is a motion from defense attorney Tommy Guilbeau to have the court pay for expert witnesses for Fontenot's defense. Money to fund that request will not be available unti the new budget year begins on Jan. 1.

Earles gave Guilbeau a deadline of Jan. 15 to have his expert witness acquired and paid so the trial can move forward. Guilbeau requested a March 24 start date, but Earles said the trial may be able to start sooner if witnesses are ready.

Fontenot is charged with first-degree murder in the February shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault. Fontenot is also charged with attempted first-degree murder of two other teens in connection with the same shooting.

At least twice during Thursday's hearing Earles threatened to hold Guilbeau in contempt of court. The judge also warned Guilbeau not to put so much detail in its filed motions so information was not leaked prior to the delivery of testimony at trial.


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