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 Seth Fontenot trial continued again
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9 months ago

Seth Fontenot trial continued again

The trial for a Lafayette teen accused of shooting and killing another teen has been postponed again.

Seth Fontenot's trial will now take place on September 29.

Fontenot is accused of shooting and killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and wounding two other teens last February while they were in a truck traveling down Green Meadow Drive.

This is the third time the trial has been continued. The case was pushed back once in November and again in December.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot pleads "not guilty" to drug charges

Seth Fontenot has pleaded not guilty to two drug charges and waived a formal arraignment in that case. He also asked for a jury trial, according to court documents filed this week.

Last month, Fontenot was charged with distribution of narcotics for allegedly selling adderall to UL students. His arraignment on those charges was scheduled for Dec. 17.

Fontenot's first-degree murder trial for the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault is set to begin in April.

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1 year ago

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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1 year ago

Defense attorney seeking continuance in Fontenot murder trial

Defense attorney Tommy Guilbeau confirmed that he did file a motion for a continuance of Tuesday's scheduled first-degree murder trial for Seth Fontenot, but could not comment further on whether or not it would be granted.

Fontenot is accused of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault. He's also accused of the attempted first-degree murder of two other teenagers who were injured while riding in the truck at the time the shots were fired.

Currently, there are both a felony trial and a motions hearing scheduled for Tuesday involving the Fontenot case. Last week, Guilbeau filed a motion to compel prosecutors to disclose any plea deals or immunity offered to witnesses in the case.

The prosecution then filed two new charges against Fontenot for allegedly selling tablets of the prescription drug Adderall to friends at UL to help them study for tests. The new charges are for two counts of "distribution of schedule II narcotics" on 10/18/12 and 12/6/12, with an arraignment set for Dec. 17.

With the multiple motions and decisions still pending before 15th Judicial District Court Judge Kristian Earles, granting a continuance would seem like the best course of action, but court offices are closed for the Veterans' Day holiday.

If the continuance is not granted, the Fontenot case is slated to be heard 13th on the docket, meaning it will not see an early start.

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1 year ago

New drug charges filed today against Seth Fontenot

Just days before his first degree murder trial is set to begin, two new charges have been filed against Seth Fontenot.
Fontenot's trial following the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault is scheduled for November 12th. He's also accused of attempted first degree murder of two other teenagers who were injured while riding in the truck at the time the shots were fired.
The two new charges filed today are for "distribution of schedule II narcotics" on 10/18/12 and 12/6/12. His arraignment on these charges is set for December 17, 2013.

In a report filed by UL Police, officers were requested by the district attorney's office to contact students who allegedly bought prescription drugs from Fontenot. Police were reportedly told information on Fontenot's phone suggested he was selling drugs to UL students. UL Police interviewed two students who allegedly admitted to buying either a Vyvanse or Adderall from Fontenot, on one or two occasions.

Prosecutors had filed a motion to introduce this evidence at the murder trial, as well as an allegation he took other students' tests for money. However, the defense objected saying to call Fontenot a drug dealer was "so irrational and extreme that it borders on liable". Defense attorney Thomas Guilbeau says the only two witnesses, who were also close friends of Fontenot, were the only evidence witnesses police had. He also says both of the men told him they weren't read their Miranda rights, so their statements couldn't be used. As for the allegation he was paid to take tests, Guilbeau says Fontenot is in good standing with the university and is taking honors courses.

According to police documents, Fontenot wanted "to only scare the victims, not to inflict bodily harm and/or death" the night the teenagers were shot. That statement, along with others allegedly made to police, will be admissible according to a ruling filed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeal today.
Fontenot's attorney claims his client's statements to police shouldn't be used because Fontenot didn't know he was a suspect at the time. Fontenot was allegedly told halfway through questioning that someone had died.

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1 year ago

Court of Appeal agrees Seth Fontenot's statements are allowed at trial

Statements Seth Fontenot made to police following the shooting death of a Lafayette teenager can be used in his trial.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeal issued that ruling today. Fontenot is accused of killing 15-year old Austin Rivault and injuring two other teens after allegedly shooting at their vehicle.
Fontenot's attorney claims his client's statements to police shouldn't be used because Fontenot didn't know he was a suspect at the time. Fontenot was allegedly told halfway through questioning that someone had died.
Judge Kristian Earles ruled in September the statements could be used. The Court of Appeals agreed with that decision this week. Trial is set for November 12th.

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1 year ago

Fontenot attorney says prosecutors must reveal plea deals

Defense attorney Thomas Guilbeau has filed a motion asking a judge to either make prosecutors in the Seth Fontenot murder case disclose any plea deals made with their witnesses or ban the testimony from trial.

In documents filed Monday, Guilbeau says that testimony given in deposition so far show that the driver and passengers in the vehicle which Fontenot fired at three times -- hitting two boys and killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault -- proves that criminal charges are warranted, but obviously have not been placed against the two remaining boys.

The filing acknowledges that an ongoing investigation exists into charges against the two boys who were wounded, but also questions whether or not the testimony provided does not indicate additional charges are necessary.

Guilbeau writes that if the prosecutors use Fontenot's words to prove his intent, then they also have to believe his other statements, including those which contradict the statements of the two boys.

According to Guilbeau, this would open the boys up to charges of tampering with evidence by giving false testimony.

Fontenot is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 12.

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1 year ago

Prosecution releases phone records, texts in Seth Fontenot case

The prosecutor handling the Seth Fontenot murder case has filed documents showing he intends to introduce text messages and mobile phone records to help prove a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault.

According to documents filed Tuesday afternoon, Assistant District Attorney Mark Garber plans to show that Fontenot "had made up his mind to shoot someone about two months before he encountered the victims."

The documents also include records of text messages, including one from Fontenot, saying "Ima shoot them next time. I sleep with my gun now. I almost had em" after he texted someone tried to break into his truck at his home in December, two months prior to the shooting.

Fontenot is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 12 on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Rivault and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of William Bellamy and Cole Kelly.

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1 year ago

Defense files motions in Seth Fontenot murder case

Defense attorneys for Seth Fontenot filed motions last week to keep autopsy photos out of the courtroom and to allow Fontenot to revisit the scene of the Feb. 10 shooting that left one teen dead and two wounded.

The defense filed four motions in all. One wants to keep any gruesome images, including autopsy photos of the victim of the fatal gunshot, 15-year-old Austin Rivault, out of the courtrrom and away from the jury. A second requested access to the site of the shooting for Fontenot and his defense team.

In another motion, attorney Thomas Guilbeau also asked for the district attorney and assistant district attorneys to disclose any contact or relationships they may have with the jury pool for Fontenot's trial, which is slated to begin on Nov. 11.

A fourth motion asked that the defense be allowed to withdraw its previous request for access to surveillance video from Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center the morning of the shooting. The defense had been allowed to inspect that video last month.

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1 year ago

UPDATE: Trial date set in Seth Fontenot case

A trial date has been set for the teenager accused of shooting and killing a teen and injuring two others.

Seth Fontenot is accused of killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and injuring two other teens after shooting at their vehicle. He's facing charges of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.

Today, a Lafayette judge has granted a motion from Seth Fontenot's defense attorney for background checks to be run on the grand jury members who handed down the murder indictment against the 18-year-old.

Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Kristian Earles said he will allow the background checks to be run in his chambers with defense and prosecuting attorneys present. The decision came during a pre-trial motions hearing this morning in Lafayette.

A tentative trial date has been set for November 12.

"By not having a background check, the grand jury selection violates my client's constitutional rights," Guilbeau said during his argument in favor of the motion. He also claimed that 15th Judicial District Commissioner Thomas Frederick exceeded his authority in the grand jury selection process, but did not cite specifics.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Garber said none of Guilbeau's arguments were specific. He claimed the background checks should not be allowed, calling them "a fishing expedition that has gone too far."

Garber also cited his concern that the background checks could violate the privacy and anonymity of the jurors. In his arguments, Guilbeau said he believed several of the grand jurors had previous convictions that could have prejudiced their decision.

In another motion, Earles ruled that the initial interview with Fontenot after the shooting will be allowed into evidence, despite defense claims that he did not know he was a suspect at the time of the interrogation.

According to the three Lafayette Police detectives who testified, however, Fontenot was read his Miranda rights, brought to an interview room and questioned. He was also informed he had killed someone about halfway through questioning. In the interrogation transcript, it says Seth Fontenot told police, "I didn't have any intention to kill anyone."

During testimony, police said Fontenot seemed "shocked" to hear the news. Defense attorney Katherine Guilbeau Guilliot pressed on asking the detective why he didn't tell her client he was a homicide suspect and he could ultimately receive the death penalty or life in jail.

Detectives told her, they told Seth Fontentot they were investigating a gun incident that happened near his home. The detective went on to say, "We weren't sure if it was a justifiable homicide." Detectives also told Fontenot, "Your honesty is appreciated, it makes our investigation easier."

In the interrogation transcript, police say Fontenot said, "it wasn't a homicide." Fontenot went on to say, "I don't know him (Austin Rivault). He could have been something great."

Fontenot continues in the interrogation transcript to tell detectives his intention was to hit the back of the pick up truck to scare the three teens. Fontenot says, "I intended to hit the tailgate." It was at that point, the detective says he was able to develop his conclusion of what happened that night.

The detective told Fontenot during the interrogation, "Seems like you have a good head on your shoulders and you were dealt a bad hand of cards. Three shots were fired and you hit three targets, statistically, that's impressive. You hit them, but you had no intention of hitting anyone in the cab."

During cross examination, Guilbeau said the detective lied to Fontenot when he said this case was just about a gun. She says, "This case was always about a homicide. You knew since 2:30 that morning it was a homicide. You brought him in and you didn't directly tell him he was a suspect in a homicide investigation and the charges he could face. Your mind was made up before you started questioning him."

Defense Attorney Tommy Guilbeau says this "confession" was unconstitutionally obtained. He continued to say, Seth isn't law enforcement. He wasn't fully advised that he was giving up his rights. The constitution protects people like Seth from the police being buddy buddy and then charging you."

Despite the defense's motion, Judge Earles denied the motion to suppress the interrogation.

Guilbeau also requested a copy of Fontenot's taped confession, along with specific information about which parts of the tape were played to the grand jury.

The issue of the Our Lady of Lourdes video from the night of the shooting also came up during the hearing. The State and the Defense agree to only allow images of the two injured teens going into Lourdes during the trial. Images of slain teen Austin Rivault will not be shown during the trial.

Guilbeau wants to know if there is any exculpatory evidence on the video. He also requested a transcript of grand jury testimony, which Earles will allow as an in camera inspection.

So far, an autopsy report has not been released from the coroner's office and both sides are waiting on the ballistic report from the Acadian Crime Lab.

Fontenot's trial date is set for November 12. He's facing charges of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.

Chris Welty

cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot Pre-trial Begins Tomorrow

Seth Fontenot will be back in court tomorrow morning for a pre-trial hearing.

Fontenot is accused of killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and injuring two other teens after shooting at their vehicle. He's facing charges of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.

Tomorrow, both sides of the case will have their chance to present motions and an official trial date could be set.

One of the request has already sparked a series of filings back and forth. The defense wants to present surveillance video from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital the night Austin was killed.

For the first time since March, 18-year-old Seth Fontenot will be back in the Lafayette Parish Courthouse for a pre-trial hearing.

Two weeks ago, a judge approved a motion giving defense attorney Tommy Guilbeau surveillance video from Our Lady of Lourdes. Prosecutors in the case and parents of slain teen, Austin Rivault objected saying the video should be considered part of their son's medical record and protected under medical privacy laws.

"I don't think the purpose of HIPPA was to protect this kind of information, but it is broadly enough written so a judge could decide HIPPA would protect surveillance video," said Health Law Attorney Stephen Sullivan
of the Sullivan & Stolier Law Firm.

16th Judicial District Assistant Attorney Chester Cedars says, "It could conflict with a defendant's rights to compel the production of evidence and to present a defense and hence be entitled to a fair trial."

Both legal experts we talked with say HIPPA laws are intended to protect health information.

"Patients need to feel secure that they can seek health care and not worry any information that may be potentially embarrassing, harmful or hurtful would be released," said Sullivan.

He says he thinks it's a stretch to claim video from a hospital entrance relates to their treatment. Sullivan says in cases like this, it's usually up to the judge's interpretation of the law.

ADA Chester Cedars says, "Both sides are adequately represented and I'm confident at the end of the day, the ends of justice will be served."

If Seth Fontenot is convicted, he could serve life in prison.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Fight over Lourdes video continues as Fontenot hearing approaches

With a new motions hearing only days away, Seth Fontenot's defense team is continuing its fight to use security cam video from Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in its case -- even as the parents of slain teen Austin Rivault fight to keep the video off limits.

Fontenot is accused of firing shots from a Beretta handgun in the early hours of Feb. 10 at a truck driving along Green Meadow Drive. The three teens in the truck were struck. One of them, 15-year-old Rivault, died from his wounds.

On Thursday, the defense for Fontenot filed several motions asking for time and resources to set up expert witnesses for the defense. The motions are asking for a separate hearing to discuss arranging for resources to provide Fontenot a proper defense. He is applying as a pauper for help in covering the cost of his defense.

In a response to an earlier motion from defense attorney Thomas Guilbeau asking for the Lourdes footage to be released to the defense through the discovery process, Devin and Renee Rivault objected on the grounds that the video should be considered part of their son Austin's medical record and therefore protected under medical privacy laws.

"Seth Fontenot tragically took away Austin Rivault's life and now he further seeks to take away his dignity and that of his family by requesting such medical video records which in no way could justify his actions of firing a gun THREE TIMES at a truck traveling AWAY from him and striking all three victims with three bullets," the parents wrote in the response. "There can be nothing in the video medical records of Lourdes taken of the victims after the shooting that could ever justify such an action."

Later in the motion, the parents claim Guilbeau or a member of his team violated federal privacy laws when they viewed the video. They also claim the defense team has violated a gag order in the case by giving a photo of a smiling Fontenot with his dog to The Daily Advertiser for use with their coverage of the case.

Although there is still a gag order in place, Guilbeau stated in his motion that he and his client hope to find exculpatory evidence in the video that will strengthen their case. Guilbeau said the clothing the two injured boys wore as they arrived at Our Lady of Lourdes matched the description of people Fontenot said he had seen on his property earlier that morning.

According to police documents, Fontenot wanted "to only scare the victims, not to inflict bodily harm and/or death."

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1 year ago

Defense attorney asking court to throw out Seth Fontenot's indictment

The attorney for Seth Fontenot is asking a judge to throw out the first degree murder and two attempted first degree murder indictments against his client. According to court documents, Attorney Tommy Guilbeau says the grand jury, which indicted Fontenot on Feb. 21, was improperly empanelled. In Feb, Fontenot is accused of shooting to death 15-year-old Austin Rivault and shooting and injuring Rivault's two teenage friends.

According to court documents, Guilbeau said Magistrate Thomas Frederick should have read the five requirements separately to propspective jurors instead of reading them all at one time. When Guilbeau questioned Frederick about the process and asked whether the questions were posed in such a way to require each of the prospective grand jurors to raise their hand if the question pertained to them in any way, Frederick said "no," according to court documents.

In addition, according to court records, Frederick said he made no effort to find out if prospective jurors had ever been indicted for a felony or whether they had been convicted of a felony that had not been pardoned. A Third Circuit Court of Appeal opinion prohibits anyone with a felony indictment from serving serving on a jury.

Furthermore, Guilbeau argues Frederick was not authorized to empanel the grand jury stating Frederick does not have such power as a commissioner. Guilbeau claims in court documents empanelling a grand jury should be done only by an elected district judge.

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1 year ago

Fontenot's sister makes 911 call night of teen shootings

The night 15-year-old Austin Rivault was shot and killed and two of his friends shot and injured, the alleged killer's sister called 911 to report a possible vehicle burglary happening, according to court documents.

Today, we were given access to a motion for bill of particulars and Brady material" filed by the state this week.

Minutes later, Seth Fontenot, 18, is accused of firing three shots at a truck with the teens inside. The 911 call is "reportedly based on the defendant's alleged observations of awakening to the sound of hearing door handles popping and then loooking outside and seeing some figures run to the truck which he ultimately shot", according to documents filed Assistant District Attorney Mark Garber with the 15th Judicial District.

Fontenot is charged with first degree murder in Rivault's death, and two counts of attempted first degree murder in the other shootings.

When a Lafayette Police officer, responding to the 911 call, arrived at Fontenot's home, Fontenot did not want to file a report, according to court records. He allegedly didn't mention the shootings and told the officer nothing was stolen or damaged.

The document reveals Fontenot is accused of firing a Beretta 92F 9mm handgun loaded with jacketed hollow point ammunition.

According to to ADA Garber, "there is no indication or evidence that the boys (the three teenagers in the truck) presented any threat to the defendant or that they were doing anything that could reasonably be interpreted to have been a threat to the defendant or anyone else."

Fontenot pleaded not guilty to all counts and bonded out of jail on March 4. He's scheduled for pre-trial motions on Aug. 29.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot's attorney wants hospital surveillance video

Seth Fontenot's lawyer, Tommy Guilbeau, is asking for a copy of surveillance video of the night three teenagers went to the hospital after Fontenot allegedly shot them.

The Director of Facilities Management was served a subpoena for the production of hospital surveillance video captured on Feb. 10 between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

Fontenot bonded out of jail on Monday and is facing a first degree murder charge and two attempted first degree murder charges. He's accused of shooting at a truck with three teenagers inside, killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault.

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1 year ago

Prosecution Asks for Gag Order in Fontenot Case

Lafayette District Attorney Mike Harson's office has asked a judge to impose a gag order on all parties in the Seth Fontenot case. In a motion filed Monday, prosecutors ask Judge Kristian Earles to stop counsel, possible witnesses, and law enforcement officials who "either will or might testify at the trial" from talking publicly about the case.

The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Mark Garber, asked for the gag order after Fontenot's attorney, Thomas Guilbeau, accused the shooting victims of criminal activity when he spoke to a Lafayette TV station. Prosecutors say those statements were "misstatements of the known facts" of the case and could taint the jury pool. Prosecutors also say further comment from the defense could lead to the families of the victims to speak out publicly about the case.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot Bonds Out and Family Speaks Out

This morning 18-year-old Seth Fontenot pled not guilty to one charge of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder.

He's accused of shooting at a truck with three teens inside, killing one. Fontenot did not appear in court today, his attorney Tommy Guilbeau entered the plea on his behalf.

Seven hundred thousand dollars was put up for Fontenot to bond out of jail. His friends, family, and even complete strangers put up property so he could bond out. In all they put up around six hundred sixty thousand dollars and a commercial bond was put up for about forty thousand dollars.

Seth Fontenot and his family had no comment as he left the Lafayette Parish Jail. His mom and dad whisking him to the car. His mother in tears, this time tears of joy to have her son home. Dozens of Fontenot's supporters were in court for his hearing wearing special pins and shoes.

"We're walking this out with him. The converse is his favorite shoe and his favorite color is red," said his godmother, Tiffany Gautreaux.

In all Fontenot spent 22 days in jail. His attorney Tommy Guilbeau says it was 22 days too many, but bonding out is a good day for Fontenot and his family.

"He was well treated at the jail and the other prisoners were sympathetic toward him and helpful," said Guilbeau.

He goes on saying Fontenot maintains his clients innocence and says Fontenot was shooting because someone was breaking into his truck and there was no intent to kill or harm anyone. Guilbeau says one of the biggest questions is what were the three teenagers doing that night.

"They broke in and entered a home stealing beer that night, that they were intoxicated that night and taken someone's car unlawfully."

Guilbeau says Fontenot has accepted responsibility for his actions and justice will prevail in the end.

"Our prayers are for all the families. There has been a loss on all sides and that the truth comes out," said Fontenot's godmother, Gautreaux.

Police have not confirmed Guilbeau's claims against the three teenagers. We have reached out to families of the victims who have not responded. Tommy Guilbeau tells KATC he plans to file more than two dozens motions within the next 30 days. He will not talk specifics about his plan of action.


Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot bonds out of jail

Seth Fontenot has just bonded out of jail from the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. Earlier today he entered a plea of "not guilty" to one count of first-degree murder and to two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

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1 year ago

Fontenot Pleads Not Guilty

The suspect in the shooting of three teens last month has pleaded not guilty. Fontenot is charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Fontenot was not in the courtroom. The plea was entered by his attorney, Thomas Guilbeau.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot Bail Hearing

Over a hundred supporters of Seth Fontenot attended his bond hearing today. Fontenot is an 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and shooting and injuring two other 15-year-old boys. The court room was also packed with families and supporters of the victims. Fontenot's bond was reduced to $700,000 dollars today, and his attorney Tommy Guilbeau says Fontenot needs to post $84,000 in order to get out of jail. However, he doesn't think his client will be able to do that today. KATC's Allison Bourne-Vanneck will have more from Tommy Guilbeau and District Attorney Mike Harson's office at 5:00 and 6:00 tonight.

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1 year ago

Bail reduced for Seth Fontenot

Bail has been reduced for Seth Fontenot, the 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and shooting and injuring two other 15-year-old boys. Judge Kristian Earles reduced bail at the request of Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau. Fontenot's total bail is $700,000 - $500,000 for the 1st degree murder charge and $100,000 each for Fontenot's two attempted 1st degree murder charges. Guilbeau said Fontenot would have to post an $84,000 bond to get out of jail. He doesn't expect that to happen today.

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1 year ago

A new judge will be assigned to Seth Fontenot's case

The motion to recuse Judge Herman Clause as the judge in Seth Fontenot's case has been withdrawn. The hearing was set for 1:30 today. However, the state also revealed they are not seeking the death penalty, so this case is being reclassified as a felony case instead of a capital case. Because of this reclassification, a new judge will have to be assigned anyway. A bond hearing for Fontenot will be held tomorrow at noon. Judge Kristian Earles will preside.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot indicted on murder charges

Seth Fontenot has been indicted on a charge of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. He's accused of shooting and killing Austin Rivault, as well as injuring two of his teenage friends.

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1 year ago

Update: Judge to hear motion next week in Seth Fontenot's case

The motion to recuse Judge Herman Clause as the judge in Seth Fontenot's case has been pushed back to next week. The state requested Clause recuse himself because he knows one of the victim's parents, but Clause says he hasn't spoken to them in years. He also says he goes to church with Seth Fontenot's girlfriend, but he doesn't know her. Clause says he can remain impartial, so Judge Marilyn Castle will hear the motion for recusal Wednesday, at 1:30, according to Fontenot's attorney.

Fontenot is facing a charge of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. He's accused of shooting to death 15-year-old Austin Rivault and wounding two other 15-year-old boys when he allegedly fired a gun at a truck one of the boys was driving.

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1 year ago

Seth Fontenot in Court; Judge Asked to Recuse Himself

As Seth Fontenot walked into court Wednesday he could not stop crying, and when his family saw him, they shrieked and also burst into tears.

It was a very emotional day. One person KATC spoke with off camera said, "This is a stressful day for everyone. No matter what side you're on, there's no winners today."

More than 150 people attended the hearing, some wearing ribbons and buttons with Austin Rivault's picture.

It was standing room only as the courtroom location changed three times until there was a one big enough for everyone.

The state filed a motion for Judge Herman Clause to recuse himself from the case. Judge Clause says he does know one of the victim's parents but he can remain impartial and hasn't spoken to that person in decades.

Judge Clause also attends the same church as Seth Fontenot's girlfriend but says he doesn't know her and it wouldn't affect his judgment.

The State is asking Judge Clause to voluntarily recuse himself or refer the matter to another judge to decide if Clause is fit to handle this case.

Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau is upset with the state's motion saying; Fontenot already spent ten days in jail calling this "another tactic to delay, delay, delay while his client waits in jail."

Judge Clause has postponed the hearing on his possible recusal until Thursday.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Motion to reduce bail not decided in Seth Fontenot's case

In court today, Judge Herman Clause was supposed to hear a motion for 18-year-old Seth Fontenot, whose attorney was requesting his bail be reduced. Fontenot is facing a charge of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. He's accused of shooting to death 15-year-old Austin Rivault and wounding two other 15-year-old boys when he allegedly fired a gun at a truck one of the boys was driving. The judge did not hear the motion today. The state filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself from the case because he knows one of the victim's parents.

Clause admitted in court he did know one of the victim's parents, but he said he can remain impartial and hasn't spoken to that person in decades. Clause gave the state until 4:30 p.m. today to file the necessary paperwork. Tomorrow, he will decide whether to recuse himself. He also may bring in another judge to make that decision.

Fontenot's attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, claims this is simply a tactic the state is using to delay while his client waits in jail.

150 to 200 people showed up for today's hearing and were not allowed to leave court once the proceedings began. Family members and friends of all involved were there to show their support; some were wearing buttons with Austin Rivault's picture on their clothing.

Bail remains set at $500,000 for each attempted first degree murder charge for a total of $1 million and bail has not been set for the first degree murder charge. Court documents show that Guilbeau is basing his bail reduction request on several factors, including Fontenot having no prior record, he would not be a danger to anyone, and no controlled dangerous substances were present in Fontenot's blood when he was arrested.

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1 year ago

Attorney asking for bail reduction in teen shooting

The attorney for 18-year-old Seth Fontenot is asking that bail be reduced for his client, who's facing a first degree murder charge and two counts of attempted first degree murder. Fontenot is accused of shooting to death 15-year-old Austin Rivault and wounding two other 15-year-old boys when he allegedly fired a handgun at a truck one of the boys was driving. Attorney Tommy Guilbeau said in his court filing, "The proof is not evident and the presumption is not great that the defendant is guilty of first degree murder or attempted first degree murder."

Bail is set at $500,000 for each attempted first degree murder charge for a total of $1 million and bail has not been set for the first degree murder charge. Court documents show that Guilbeau is basing his bail reduction request on several factors, including Fontenot having no prior record, he would not be a danger to anyone, and no controlled dangerous substances were present in Fontenot's blood when he was arrested Sunday morning.

Guilbeau is asking bail be reduced to $25,000 - $12,500 for each attempted first degree murder charge. Guilbeau said in his filing that Fontenot is an 18-year-old college student "who shows that he is financially unable to raise the funds necessary to make the bail presently fixed at the combined aggregate amount of one million dollars."

The day after Fontenot was arrested, Guilbeau told KATC Fontenot has "deep, deep, deep feelings of sadness and remorse." Guilbeau said Fontenot should not be charged with frist degree murder or attempted first degree murder, rather with negligent homicide or at worst manslaughter.

The bond reduction hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 1:30 p.m.

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1 year ago

Fontenot Makes First Court Appearance

The suspect in a fatal weekend shooting made his first court appearance this afternoon. The attorney for Seth Fontenot filed a motion to set bail on the first-degree murder charge and to reduce the bond on the attempted first-degree murder charges. A hearing date has not yet been set.

Fontenot is accused of firing shots early Sunday morning at a truck driving along Green Meadow Drive. The three teens in the truck were struck. One of them, 15-year-old Austin Rivault, died from his wounds.

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1 year ago

Funeral arrangements finalized for Austin Rivault

A tragic incident claimed the life of our beloved Austin Paul Rivault, Sunday, February 10, 2013, in Lafayette, LA. He was 15 and a native and resident of Lafayette. Austin was a dynamo, small in stature but big in living life to its fullest and endearing himself to all who knew him. His comedic nature and dry wit entertained and attracted many friends.

Funeral Services will be held on Friday, February 15, 2013 at an 11:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette.

Entombment will be in St. Alphonsus Cemetery Mausoleum in Maurice.

Reverend O. Joseph Breaux, Pastor of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church will be the Celebrant of the Funeral Mass and will conduct the funeral services.

He is survived by his parents Kevin and Renee Miller Rivault of Lafayette; sister, Amanda Rivault of Hammond; brother, Adam Rivault of Lafayette; grandparents, Charles and Peggy Theresa Rivault of Baton Rouge, and step-grandmother, Harriet Babin Miller of Baton Rouge; an aunt, Tammy Rivault of Baton Rouge, and uncles, Darrin Rivault of Dallas, TX and Brian Miller and his wife Joni Miller of Baton Rouge; first cousins, Patrick Remson and Allie Remson of Baton Rouge and Dylan Miller of Baton Rouge and Jason Brouillette of Nashville, TN. He will be greatly missed by his great aunts, great uncles, cousins and numerous friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Paul and Jane Koenig Miller and great grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth Rosso Champagne and a step cousin, Dusty Brouillette.

He attended Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, Pre-K through 8th grade, except for one year when he attended Cathedral Carmel Catholic School. Currently he was enrolled at St. Thomas More as a freshman. Austin was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting and skeet shooting. His fishing skills were legendary, as he always caught the most and could spend hours indulging in the sport. His favorite fishing holes were False River at the Rivault Camp and the Miller Pond in Prairieville; but he also fished the private ponds in his neighborhood, the Vermilion River near his home and the Ouachita River near the family's deer lease. He excelled in the 4-H Skeet Shooting Program. His favorite sport was Lacrosse and was currently a member of the St. Thomas More Team. He was an altar server at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

Pallbearers will be Dylan Miller, Patrick Remson, William Mayer, Nick Landgrave, Chad Chiasson, Bailey Raborn, Gregory Murphree, Daniel Price, Jacob Comeaux, Josh Toomey, Paul Darr, Anthony Duhon and Logan Primeaux. Honorary pallbearers will be the Freshmen Lacrosse Team.

The family requests that visitation be observed in Martin & Castille's SOUTHSIDE location on Thursday from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM and on Friday at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church from 9:00 AM until time of service.

A Rosary will be prayed Thursday at 6:30 PM in Martin & Castille Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions can be made in Austin's name to United Special Sportsman Alliance, N7864 Shotwell Lane, Pittsville, WI 54466 (http://www.childswish.org/). This is a special non-profit national wish granting charity which specializes in sending critically ill, disabled youth and disabled veterans on the outdoor adventure of their dream. All donations stay in Louisiana and are tax deductible.

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1 year ago

UPDATE: Arrest Made in Lafayette Shooting Involving Three Juveniles

Lafayette Police have arrested Seth Fontenot, 18 years old, of Lafayette and charged him with 2 counts of Attempted First Degree Murder and 1 count of First Degree Murder. Investigators discovered that the shooting occurred in the 100 block of Green Meadow.

Police say Fontenot encountered the victims outside of his residence when the shooting occurred. The circumstances behind the shooting have not been released. The investigation remains ongoing.

1 year ago

Arrest Made in Lafayette Shooting Involving Three Juveniles

An arrest has been made in connection with the shooting that injured two teens and killed 15 year old Austin Rivault. Police say Seth Fontenot has been arrested. Police tell us he lives in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred. The cause of the shooting is still under investigation. We will continue to update when more information becomes available.

1 year ago

Lafayette Police Police Investigating Shooting of Three Juveniles

Lafayette Police are investigating a shooting that left one teenager dead. Police say the three male victims, all 15 years old, were riding in a truck at approximately 1:45am Sunday in the Canberra Subdivision. Police say for unknown reasons, a male suspect fired three shots into the vehicle. All three victims were struck. The driver immediately drove himself and the two passengers to the hospital.

One of the victims died as a result of his injury. The two other victims are listed in stable condition. Investigators continue to gather information regarding the suspect and the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call Lafayette Police or Crime Stoppers at 232-TIPS.

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