NewsAround Acadiana


Eunice shooting suspect has lengthy criminal history

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 22:50:44-04

Eunice Police are searching for a shooting suspect, Billy James Thomas who is wanted for attempted second-degree murder.

The victim of the shooting is still hospitalized. According to Eunice Police, Randy Fontenot, Thomas should be considered armed and dangerous.

Thomas is no stranger to law enforcement and the police chief is now expressing his concerns.

“The victim was shot in the upper torso on the right side and he was able to identify the suspect Billy Thomas,” Fontenot said.

KATC investigates uncovered Thomas has a lengthy criminal history. Fontenot showed KATC pages of arrests and charges, dating back to 1994.

“The system just doesn’t make sense to me,” Fontenot said.

According to the Department of Corrections, in 2016, Thomas was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of distribution of cocaine. Thomas as released in 2018, after serving 19 months.

He was one of the thousands of inmates released under a Criminal Justice Reform Law that had bipartisan support in the legislature.

“The system is set up to where the maximum sentence doesn’t even matter. It’s a system that’s broken and needs to be fixed,” Fontenot said.

Fontenot is critical of the law, which allows some inmates to be released early, those with nonviolent offenses and good behavior. It lowered the mandatory time served for some inmates from 40 percent to 35 percent, but even if Thomas had served 40 percent of his time he still would have been out of prison today.

“If you got this many charges, I think it ought to be getting to a point where you say this guy is a danger to society. He is a menace to society. Let’s take him out of society and lock him up,” Fontenot said.

A spokesperson from the Department of Corrections says Thomas served 35 percent of his sentence and is not out on good time parole.