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Baton Rouge man sentenced to 18 months for killing panhandler outside Trader Joe's

2 days 8 hours 47 minutes ago Tuesday, June 11 2024 Jun 11, 2024 June 11, 2024 1:05 PM June 11, 2024 in News
Source: Advocate

BATON ROUGE — A man facing up to four decades in prison for killing a panhandler outside the Trader Joe's grocery store on Perkins Road in 2020 was sentenced Tuesday to only 18 months, prompting the victim's family to storm out of the courtroom and drawing criticism from the local prosecutor.

In April, a jury convicted Jace Orion Boyd, 28, of manslaughter. Boyd had said he felt Danny Buckley, 61, was a threat to him and to others in the store parking lot.

"While the court's sentence was certainly within the statutory range, we feel that based on the facts and circumstances developed at trial, a longer period of incarceration was warranted," District Attorney Hillar Moore III said. "The defendant has shown no remorse for his actions."

Moore said Boyd has not apologized for his actions and that, while out on bond, Boyd had left the area without court permission and also tested positive for marijuana use. 

The judge, Brad Myers of the 19th Judicial District, could have sentenced Boyd to up to 40 years. Defense lawyer Seth Dornier said Myers accurately determined that Boyd was unlikely to kill again and likely gave great weight to the jury's rejecting the initial second-degree murder charge. Buckley's family members left the courtroom after the sentence was handed down.

Boyd's jury couldn't reach a verdict on a separate count of illegal use of a weapon. Myers declared a hung jury, which would give prosecutors the right to bring the charge again, but Dornier said that was unlikely.

"I think that ship has sailed," he said.

Buckley's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boyd.

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