4 arrested in connection with theft, killing of calf in Pointe Coupee Parish
BATON ROUGE - Two men are accused of shooting and killing a calf while another four are accused of stealing the animal for its meat.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry says a cattleman found a dead calf on the spillway levee near Morganza, and Pointe Coupee Parish deputies noted the calf had been shot with one hindquarter and a loin removed. The Department of Agriculture says they were contacted to assist in the investigation.
Witnesses indicated during interviews that four suspects left Morganza together with the intention of riding down the levee to kill a cow. Investigators said the suspects drove to an area where there are cattle on the levee and one of the suspects, Austin Leonard, shot at a fleeing cow, but did not kill any cattle.
During the night, Leonard and another suspect, James Devillier, drove back to the levee with a 12 gauge shotgun and killed a calf after enlisting the help of Kale David and Dustin Vidrine. The four tried to load the calf, but realized it was too big to load so they removed a hindquarter and loin. Investigators said a leg bone was found discarded in a trash can just down the road from David's residence.
The agriculture department says the suspects admitted to their involvement in the calf slaying during interviews.
“The LDAF Livestock Brand Commission closely works with law enforcement to quickly solve crimes, bring these criminals to justice and hopefully deter others from committing such heinous acts. If we find out you’ve stolen property and abused that property, we will hold you accountable,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Deputies recovered a 12 gauge shotgun and some of the meat. All four suspects were arrested and booked into the Pointe Coupee Parish Jail on Friday where they were charged with theft of livestock for taking the meat. Leonard and Devillier were also charged with aggravated cruelty to animals for the alleged killing of the calf. Leonard, a convicted felon on probation for a prior felony incident, faces an additional charge for illegal possession of a firearm.