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DeWoody charged with murder, rape and kidnapping

Phillip Dewoody.jpg
Posted at 4:16 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 15:32:39-05


A St. Landry Parish grand jury has indicted three men today, including Phillip DeWoody.

DeWoody is named in two separate indictments; one that accuses him of the first-degree murder of Joyce Thomas, and another that accuses him of the kidnapping and rape of another person. All the crimes are alleged to have occurred in February.

Thomas went missing on February 26. Law enforcement agencies, including the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police, searched for Joyce for days after she went missing.

The search ultimately came to a tragic end on March 2, when Thomas' body was found in an area along the I-49 frontage road between Sunset and Opelousas.

Dewoody was also booked in March with second-degree kidnapping charges of an Opelousas woman who helped police find the body of Thomas.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz told us that Dewoody's criminal career began when he was a juvenile and included homicide.

Dewoody has a lengthy adult criminal record, and was released 91 years early by the Louisiana Parole Board last summer. To hear a recording of that action, click here. He has convictions for armed robbery, aggravated escape and kidnapping, and is accused of using a homemade knife to kidnap a female prison guard during an escape from prison. At the time of his arrest following the 1993 escape, a Lincoln Parish law enforcement official alleged that Dewoody had kidnapped and raped an elderly woman while on the lam. He's never been convicted of that. He was eligible for parole despite a lengthy sentence because of a Louisiana law governing parole. You can read our story about that here.

Also indicted Wednesday were Phillip Guidry, 56, of Opelousas and Jonah Gobert, 29, of Eunice.

Gobert was indicted on a charge of second-degree murder for the slaying of Benjamin Hurks on September 8. Gobert and Hurks were brothers. Opelousas Police say they found Gobert at the scene of his brother's shooting death.

Guidry was indicted on a charge of rape in connection with a July incident.