A judge sentenced a Houma man to 60 years in prison Thursday for the 2015 armed robbery of a Galliano seafood merchant and his wife.
Brent Lebouef, 25, could have faced up to 99 years after a jury convicted him June 29. Prosecutors said he and another man were armed with a gun and baseball bat when they tied up the couple, covered the victims’ heads with pillow cases and ransacked the home.
Assistant District Attorneys Rene Gautreaux and Shaun George prosecuted the case.
“We are satisfied that this sentence will keep a dangerous offender away from the public for a long time,” District Attorney Cam Morvant II said. “I hope that this conviction and sentence will help to restore a sense of security to the victims’ family.”
The homeowner, 64-year-old Jim Guidry, owned Big Jim’s Seafood. He was killed in a crash June 8, 2015, on La. 1 just south of Golden Meadow.
Lafourche sheriff’s deputies responded about 2:30 a.m. May 13, 2015, to Guidry’s home on East 150th Street after he and his wife reported two masked men had burst into their bedroom while they were asleep. According to the Sheriff’s Office, those two men were LeBouef and Santos Dardar.
Dardar, 34, of Montegut, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. His cousin, Donald Dardar, 37, of Montegut, pleaded guilty to simple burglary for his role as the getaway driver and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Attorneys Ben Comeaux, of Thibodaux, and Greg Stahlnecker, of Denham Springs, represented Lebouef at trial.
State District Judge Christopher Boudreaux on Thursday denied the defense’s requests for an acquittal and a new trial.
Comeaux argued that prosecutors hadn’t proven the identity of the second robber beyond a reasonable doubt, as they are required. The only witnesses to identify Lebouef were his co-defendants, who were given lesser sentences in exchange for their testimony.
Donald Dardar twice used Lebouef’s brother’s name in his testimony, Comeaux said, and Santos Dardar admitted he’d “say anything” to go home to his kids.
Boudreaux countered that Donald Dardar quickly said he misspoke and Santos Dardar said under oath that he was telling the truth. The judge added that it’s the jury’s job to decide if witnesses are credible.
Comeaux said his client will appeal.
“It is a sad day when the criminal justice system fails in such a way that an innocent man is sent to prison for 60 years based on no evidence and only ... two convicted felons’ inconsistent testimony,” he said. “This is why a jury’s job is so important. Regardless, our prayers are with the victims and their family, as they should never have to undergo such a terrible event.”
Guidry told The Courier and Daily Comet the robbers took $6,000 or $7,000 from his pants pocket, a safe containing just over $100,000 and an SUV. He said they also stole about a dozen guns, including several belonging to his son, and a few silver dollars his wife had collected.
Golden Meadow Police found the SUV abandoned on Louviere Lane.
Donald Dardar’s wife, Mandy Dardar, 30, was in the getaway vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office said. She was charged as an accessory and later pleaded guilty.
Mandy Dardar had agreed to testify against the other defendants, prosecutors said. However, she was killed Feb. 25, 2016, in a crash on La. 308 in Larose.
-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.
Posted on Fri, August 18, 2017
by By Bridget Mire, Daily Comet Staff Writer