Attorney: Everybody involved in this is a victim
LAFAYETTE — The jailed university student accused of killing a 15-year-old boy Sunday had grown tired of having his pickup truck broken into, but he didn’t intend to kill one teen and injure two others, the suspect’s attorney said.
“It is a tragedy of epic proportions,” attorney Thomas Guilbeau said Monday. “We consider everybody involved in this as a victim.”
Seth Fontenot, 18, of Lafayette remained in parish jail Monday after Lafayette police booked him Sunday on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, Guilbeau said.
There was no bond set on the murder count, and a state magistrate judge set a $500,000 bond on each count of attempted murder, Guilbeau said.
Fontenot is suspected of firing at the teens outside of his home at 132 Green Meadow Road in Lafayette, a colony of houses called Bellevue Plantation subdivision, located off Johnston Street south of the Acadiana Mall.
Officials at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center called police at 2:25 a.m. Sunday to report the shooting injuries.
Police did not release the names of the victims. But on Monday, Bishop Michael Jarrell of the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette released a statement that expressed “sympathy for the family of Austin Rivault, who died as a result of his wounds.”
Police have not released the names of the two who were injured, saying only that they were in stable condition at a hospital.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said Lafayette police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton. He declined to release more details.
A member of Austin Rivault’s family on Monday said the family did not want to comment.
Audrey Menard, principal of St. Thomas More High School where Austin and the other two teens were students, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Fontenot’s sister, Kailey Fontenot, told The Advocate on Sunday that her brother believed he had caught the boys breaking into his truck. She said her brother’s truck had been broken into four times in the last six months, and that he didn’t mean to harm anyone.
Lafayette police have not said why they booked Seth Fontenot on suspicion of the most serious murder charge available — first-degree — which can result in the death penalty.
“There is no way that I believe, from what I know about the case, that this is a first-degree murder case,” said Guilbeau, the attorney for Fontenot.
Guilbeau said the bar to prove murder in the first degree is high, including previously killing or intending to kill people. Guilbeau said he also doesn’t believe the attempted murder accusations have the evidence to back up such charges.
He said Fontenot is a straight-A student majoring in accounting at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who works part time and has never been in trouble.
“He was a victim of his truck being broken into,” Guilbeau said. “He took some action which ended up in a tragedy.”