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7 former Iberia deputies headed to federal prison next month - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

7 former Iberia deputies headed to federal prison next month

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Courtesy MGN Online Courtesy MGN Online
LAFAYETTE -

Seven of the 10 former Iberia Parish Sheriff's deputies who testified against Sheriff Louis Ackal received federal prison sentences on Tuesday.

In Louisiana's U.S. Western District Court in Lafayette Parish, Judge Donald Walter handed down the sentences and ordered the men to report to jail on April 24.

Here's how the sentences, which can be appealed, were administered:

  • Wade Bergeron, one count deprivation of rights: 48 months. He stands convicted in the beating of inmate Anthony Daye in the jail's chapel.
  • Robert Burns, one count deprivation of rights: 6 months. The former canine officer stands convicted of standing by while other deputies beat Daye and of ordering his dog to harass the man. His attorney said in court that he's since worked for University of Louisiana at Lafayette police, although a university spokesperson said Tuesday that Burns is not currently working for the department.
  • Ben Lassalle, two counts deprivation of rights, 1 count civil rights conspiracy: 54 months on each of the three counts, with the sentences to run concurrently. He stands convicted in the beatings of inmates Curtis Ozenne and Scott Spears in the jail's chapel, along with conspiracy to abuse the two men along with Daye.
  • Bret Broussard, one count deprivation of rights: 54 months. He stands convicted in the beating of Spears.
  • David Hines, one count deprivation of rights: 40 months. He stands convicted of seeking out and beating a man accused of assaulting one of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal's relatives.
  • Jason Comeaux, one count civil rights conspiracy, one count deprivation of rights, one count conspiracy to obstruct: 40 months on the first two counts and 30 months on conspiracy to obstruct, with the sentences to run concurrently. He stands convicted in Daye's beating, in which he used his baton against the man and later conspired with his colleagues to mislead investigators looking into the case.
  • Jeremy Hatley, one count deprivation of civil rights, one count making a false statement to the FBI: 6 months on the civil rights count and 30 months for lying to the FBI, with the sentences to run consecutively. He stands convicted in the Spears beating and later lying to the FBI during its investigation into the incident.

At the start of Tuesday's proceedings, prosecutors called Daye, now an inmate at Angola, to the stand. He spoke few words but said he was both mentally and physically "scarred by" the beating.

Youngsville Police Chief Rickey Boudreaux also was present for the sentencing. He led some of the deputies while a supervisor with the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office and spoke on behalf of Bergeron before he received his sentence.

"He made the choice to distance himself and exile himself" from the abuses, Boudreaux said, stressing that Bergeron is "a good man."

All the former law enforcement officers spoke directly to the judge, expressing remorse for their actions and pleading for leniency.

Lassalle also mentioned his former boss, who was acquitted last year of civil rights and conspiracy charges.

"All the good that I did at the Sheriff's Office was ruined when I obeyed Sheriff Ackal's orders," Lassalle told the judge.

Each former deputy will also be subject to supervised probation once released from prison.

Sentencing has been postponed for Wesley and Jesse Hayes, who pleaded guilty early on in the case. Ackal's former co-defendant, Gerald Savoy, who pleaded guilty the day before he was set to stand trial alongside Ackal, will also be sentenced at a later date.

The Hayes brothers and Savoy are set to testify in Mark Frederick's trial, who was initially another co-defendant with Ackal and Savoy but was severed from the case. Frederick's trial was set to begin on Tuesday but has been continued.

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