State begins release of more than 2,000 inmates
On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, the State of Louisiana began its release of roughly 2,021 inmates from jails and prisons across the state.
The release of these inmates is due to the new legislation passed by state legislatures and then signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards back in June of this year.
One of the major changes that comes from the laws which have been deemed by the state as the Justice Reinvestment Legislation, is that inmates convicted of non-violent crimes will only be required to serve one third of their sentence instead of serving 50 percent of their sentence.
For Pine Prairie resident Dana Galvin, the release of these inmates hit home for her and her family and friends, who will now have to watch the individual convicted of conspiring to kill Galvin’s sister and two other females be released from prison.
The murders of Brandy Vickers, Michelle Aucoin, and Jennifer Leger, which were committed by Kenneth Vickers, Jr. occurred in the early 2000’s in the Beaver Creek area.
Kenneth was the husband of Brandy, while David Leger, who was convicted of conspiring to murder the other two ladies, was married to Jennifer and had a child with the other victim - Michelle.
Kenneth, who was sentenced to 120 years, will not be released from prison. However, David, was released on Wednesday after serving 13 years of his 36 year sentence.
For Galvin, the reality of David’s release, leaves her with unanswered questions.
Galvin said, “I’m unsure how our Governor, representatives, and senators decided on these new laws, but they are wrong. How can they look us in the eye and tell us what they are doing is right?
“I need them to look me in the eye and tell me how David Leger deserves to be out of prison. Because he took some classes and was a good boy he gets to go home. He gets to be home with his family for Thanksgiving while we mourn for the rest of our lives. I need someone to explain to me how that is justice.”
David’s original release date had he served his full 36 years would have been April 2, 2039.
Under the law that required an individual to serve 50 pct. of their sentence and with good time calculated, David would have been released in the year 2019.
In preparation for the release of these inmates, the Evangeline Parish District Attorney’s Office held a meeting with the head of Probation and Parole in the parish - Charles Guillory.
During the meeting, Guillory discussed the new laws with D.A. Trent Brignac and his staff to prepare for the releases to begin.
According to the La. Justice Reinvestment Reforms Practitioner’s Guide, the new laws are expected to save the “taxpayers an estimated $262 million over the next 10 years.”
Another wave of inmates are expected to be released within the next few days.