Prosecutors seek death penalty in child’s death

The Lafayette Parish District Attorney’s Office announced Monday it will seek the death penalty for Landon C. Broussard, who was charged with first-degree murder in the November beating death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.

Bill Babin, an assistant district attorney in the 15th Judicial District, told state District Judge Durwood Conque that prosecutors had not yet filed documents to designate the killing of Julian Madera as capital murder.

Elliot Brown, one of Broussard’s two court-appointed attorneys, entered a not guilty plea for Broussard while the 21-year-old defendant was sitting in Conque’s courtroom bound at the wrists and ankles.

Crowley attorney J. Clay LeJeune, who is Broussard’s other attorney, did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon.

“The District Attorney’s Office believes that death is the appropriate penalty in this case,” Babin said after Broussard’s arraignment.

Broussard, 21, was indicted in March on one count of first-degree murder. Julian’s 23-year-old mother, Laura Smith, was indicted on one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile.

Investigators determined Julian was a victim of severe abuse.

According to the affidavit in the arrests of Broussard and Smith, deputies found Julian unresponsive Nov. 29 with blunt force trauma and bruises of different ages over much of his body.

One of Julian’s ears was torn, and his eyes were swollen shut, deputies noted.

The arrest affidavit also said the bruises on his body were caused at different times, indicating multiple beatings over time.

Authorities said at the time they did not believe Smith helped beat Julian, but they believed she did little to stop the beatings or to seek help.

Broussard and LeJeune, in court filings made public Monday, signaled what one of Broussard’s defenses might be.

Responding to motions filed by Broussard and his attorneys, Conque signed papers March 12 directing the Louisiana Office of Community Services, Child Protective Services to release investigations of Broussard’s parents.

The files will include “investigations and judicial proceedings related to the case or investigation of neglect or abuse” involving Broussard’s parents when he was a child.

The file identifies Broussard’s parents as Ross Evans Joseph Broussard and Julie Andrea Russo Thibodeaux.

Conque also ordered Child Protective Services to turn over possible files detailing neglect and abuse by Laura Smith on her son.