Grand jury clears Arceneaux in fatal shooting of kidnapper

Updated at 5:10 p.m. A Lafayette Parish grand jury decided not to charge a man Wednesday who mortally wounded his cousin’s kidnapper during a rescue attempt as the cousin was being stabbed.

The grand jury declined to indict Marcus Arceneaux in the Nov. 8 killing of Scott Thomas.

Grand jury members heard from prosecutors and a report by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office concluding that the shooting of Thomas was justified, according to Assistant District Attorney Pat Magee.

Thomas kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, Bethany Arceneaux, as she arrived to pick up their child at a Madeline Avenue day care facility in Lafayette on Nov. 6.

Thomas held the woman captive in an abandoned house in west Lafayette Parish until she was rescued by Marcus Arceneaux and other family members almost two days later.

“We believe that the grand jury thoroughly vetted the evidence presented, including pictures from the scene, pictures from the autopsy, as well as Bethany’s testimony,” Magee said.

“After considering all the evidence presented, they (the grand jury) found that the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Sheriff’s Office were correct … that this was justifiable homicide,” Magee said.

Magee said last week the District Attorney’s Office would not try to persuade grand jury members to charge Arceneaux.

Marcus Arceneaux is 20 years old. Last week, the District Attorney’s Office said he was 23 years old.

Bethany Arceneaux was estranged from Thomas, of Leonville in St. Landry Parish, and had pursued court protection from her ex-boyfriend before he abducted her in front of day care workers and children on Nov. 6.

After grabbing Bethany, Thomas fled in an old, white Buick LeSabre at 5:20 p.m.

Police later that day found the Buick abandoned on Anderson Road west of Scott between U.S. 90 and Interstate 10.

Two days later, Arceneaux’s family and friends were searching the Anderson Road area with Lafayette police when they heard Bethany Arceneaux scream.

Sheriff’s Capt. Kip Judice said at the time that Marcus Arceneaux entered the abandoned home, saw Thomas stabbing Bethany Arceneaux, then shot him.

She escaped; Thomas bled to death. His body was recovered a few hours later.