A 39-year-old Larose man convicted in 2002 of killing another man at a party will continue serving a life sentence after his clemency application was denied.
The Louisiana Board of Pardons rejected Louis Preston Jr.’s request Monday for a reduced sentence, Department of Public Safety and Corrections spokesman Ken Pastorick said.
Preston was convicted of second-degree murder in the Sept. 22, 2001, shooting death of 18-year-old Ryan Picou.
Although Judge Robert Klees gave Preston a life sentence, he was granted a clemency hearing Monday in Baton Rouge. Family and friends from both the victim and defendant appeared before the board to argue their cases, Pastorick said.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the board voted 4-0 to deny Preston’s application, Pastorick said.
Picou family friend Jera Angelette praised the board’s decision.
“It was a long, emotional hard day,” she said. “It was extremely hard to hear all the facts that lead up to the shooting and have to hear them defend him. The courtroom was packed with both sides, and there were a lot of emotions. After they denied him across the table they escorted his family out, and we waited and then they escorted us. I am so grateful for them considering our letters and listening to both sides and keeping justice for us all.”
According to state law, those serving life in prison can apply to the Board of Pardons to be considered for clemency after serving 15 years of their sentence.
Police said Preston shot and killed Picou with a shotgun at a party on East 25th Street in Larose.
Preston’s trial was riddled with controversy and chaos. The Daily Comet reported that after the verdict was announced, angry family members from both sides were restrained by deputies as members of the jury openly wept.
When the verdict was read, Picou’s family and friends cheered while Preston’s family members exploded in anger. Some audience members had to be escorted from the courtroom.
Preston said during testimony he was being beaten on the ground by Picou’s friends when he asked someone to retrieve a 12-gauge shotgun from his car. He then fired two shots from that gun, one of which hit Picou in the back as he ran for cover. The bullet ripped through the victim’s chest and penetrated a bathroom wall.
Preston is currently serving his sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.
Posted on Fri, March 1, 2019
by By Dan Copp / Daily Comet Staff Writer