LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The man accused in the death of a man in Lafayette in 2017 could spend up to 40 years behind bars after being convicted for manslaughter.
The district attorney and the prosecuting attorneys explain why they hope this conviction will encourage other families who’ve been through tragedy that justice can be served.
In August of 2017, Christon Chaisson was killed in downtown Lafayette. Chaisson saw a man allegedly beating up his girlfriend.
When he tried to stop it, another man, Tyler Benoit, pulled out a gun and shot Chaisson.
“This is absolutely a case that needed and required resolution and for Tyler Benoit, justice was overdue,” Assistant District Attorney Elisa Gauthreaux said.
In his trial last week, a jury convicted Tyler Benoit of manslaughter and obstruction of justice for the 2017 killing of Christon Chaisson.
The prosecuting attorneys say it was tough because the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed the verdict system for murder cases, which is one reason why Beniot’s trial was delayed for years.
The new verdict system says a jury now has to come to a unanimous decision to convict a murder suspect.
Benoit was initially charged with second-degree murder. A jury, however, could only come to a unanimous decision by convicting Benoit with manslaughter.
Regardless, Chaisson’s family says they were happy with that because it finally gave them some closure and put Benoit behind bars.
“It was a relief for the family. You could feel the need… they needed to see this. They needed to see it. They needed to see this trial. They needed to see this brought to completion and fruition. I think that that’s where we feel like the right thing’s been done,” A.D.A. Gauthreaux added.
The attorneys who tried the casse say although it’s taken four years to build this case and get it to trial, justice was ultimately served.
They encourage others waiting for a trial to hold onto the hope they’ll get their day in court as well.
“It might seem like it’s slow. Like I said before, it’s maybe meant to be slow, but it’s coming. And we’re here for them,” Assistant District Attorney Roya Boustany said.
“It certainly made me and the office very proud to hear that verdict, and again, especially with the reaction of the victim’s in the matter of the family, it just made it very, very rewarding,” District Attorney Donald Landry told News Ten.
The maximum punishment for both Benoit’s convictions is 40 years in jail. Benoit’s sentencing will be in the next few months..