The Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court’s office told The IND that District Judge Marilyn Castle will hear the state’s motion to recuse fellow Judge Herman Clause from the Seth Fontenot case.
Fontenot, 18, is charged in the senseless Feb. 10 early morning shooting that left 15-year-old St. Thomas More student Austin Rivault dead. Two of Rivault’s 15-year-old friends, Cole Kelley of Teurlings Catholic and William Bellamy of STM, were also shot. The incident took place about 1:45 a.m. in the 100 block of Green Meadow Road, located in the Bellevue Plantation subdivision south of the Mall of Acadiana. Fontenot, who lives in the 100 block of Green Meadow Road, faces a first-degree murder count and two counts of attempted first degree murder.
All three teens were in a truck driving down Green Meadow Road when they were shot; Rivault was a passenger, but it’s unclear which of the other two teens was driving. Fontenot told police he wanted to scare the teens and did not intend to kill anyone.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Garber argues in the filing that Clause has shown potential bias in the case. Garber says Clause disclosed in chambers and open court that he has known Kelley’s mother, Cherie Guilbeau Kelley, since she was a child and also previously represented her father, Paul Guilbeau, as his attorney. Garber also says Clause fills his medication at a pharmacy owned by Cherie Kelley. He stipulated that Clause has said he does not recall having had direct contact with Cherie Kelley in more than 20 years.
Additionally, according to Garber's filing, Clause disclosed that he attends church services at the same place of worship as Fontenot's girlfriend.
Court records indicate that Clause signed an order today denying the motion to recuse.
Fontenot’s attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, called the state's action a stall tactic to keep his client in jail. The Wednesday hearing was supposed to be about reducing Fontenot’s bail.
KATC reported that 150 to 200 people showed up for the hearing and were not allowed to leave court once the proceedings began.
Bail is set at $500,000 for each attempted first-degree murder count; there is no bail for first-degree murder. In arguing for a reduction in bail, Guilbeau says there is no evidence his client intended to harm anyone.
After recovering three spent casings in the yard of Fontenot’s residence on Feb. 10, Lafayette Police arrested him at his workplace, Another Broken Egg in River Ranch, just before noon that day. They found a Beretta semiautomatic pistol in his 2007 Chevy truck.
Fontenot admitted the teens were fleeing in their vehicle when he fired three shots.