Fontenot attorney questions whether teen witnesses were impaired

An attorney for Seth Fontenot is suggesting in court filings that teen witnesses against his client might have been drinking the night Fontenot fired a pistol at a truck they were in along with 15-year-old Austin Rivault, who was killed in the incident.

Fontenot’s attorney, Thomas Guilbeau, says in court filings that knowing if the teens were drinking is significant because it could impair their ability to recall accurately the events that unfolded in last February’s shooting should they testify against Fontenot.

Guilbeau asked trial Judge Kristian Earles in a motion last week to order Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center to hand over the medical records of the boys who brought Rivault to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.

The medical records of the two teens William Bellamy and Cole Kelley could contain information that would help Fontenot fight charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, Guilbeau contends.

Fontenot, who is now 19, is charged with first-degree murder of Rivault, who was a freshman at St. Thomas More High School. He also is charged with the attempted first-degree murders of Bellamy and Kelley.

Rivault was in a truck with both friends when Fontenot fired at them as they pulled away from the home Fontenot shared with his mother, sister and step-father on Green Meadow Road. The incident occurred around 1:45 a.m. Feb. 10.

Bellamy and Kelley, who also were 15 at the time, were each hit by one hollow-point bullet fired from Fontenot’s 9 mm Beretta. The boys survived but needed medical attention. Rivault was killed by a bullet that struck the back of his head.

A court motion filed by Guilbeau suggests the three teens had been drinking alcohol, one of them heavily, based on information contained in a transcribed interview Kelley had with police.

The motion states that attorneys for Fontenot need access to the records because they “are relevant to their (Bellamy and Kelly) ability as witnesses pertaining to credibility, faculties of observation and recall and any other factor affecting” the value of their testimony against Fontenot.

In an interview with Lafayette detectives, Kelley “stated without qualification that (Bellamy) at the time of the incident was heavily under the influence of alcohol,” the motion states.

The motion says that Fontenot “is specifically seeking any and all results from blood tests or any other tests pertaining to the possible drug influence or intoxication of (Kelley) and (Bellamy) at the time of their treatment …”

Judge Earles at a bond hearing ordered Fontenot to move from his Green Meadow Road home because it was just four houses away from where Rivault’s family lives. Fontenot now lives outside Lafayette Parish.

According to the arrest affidavit, police said Fontenot admitted firing three shots at a fleeing vehicle “he believed to contain suspects” whom he had seen on his property, where his truck had been broken into multiple times.

“Mr. Fontenot stated that his intentions were to only scare the victims, not to inflict bodily harm and/or death,” Detective Larry Theriot wrote.

Fontenot’s attorneys, Guilbeau and Katherine Guilbeau Guillot, in August argued that their client’s statements to police should be thrown out of the case because Fontenot didn’t realize the trouble he was in.

Earles denied the request, prompting Fontenot to appeal to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal.

Earles granted Fontenot’s request to check the criminal backgrounds of the grand jurors that indicted Fontenot. According to court documents, the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court’s Office supplied the names and birthdates of the grand jury to the Sheriff’s Office, which ran the names through an FBI’s database of U.S. felons.

The court record so far contains nothing on the database search. All participants in Fontenot’s trial are under a gag order, prohibited by Earles from speaking to media about the case.