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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Jury deadlocked in Cut Off man’s murder case

Jury deadlocked in Cut Off man’s murder case

A Cut Off man charged in a fatal shooting near his home will get a new trial after a jury could not make a decision Saturday in his second-degree murder case.

Robert Chouest, 31, is charged in the May 22, 2013, killing of Shawn Galjour, 41, of Larose. Galjour was found on his back in a driveway near Chouest's home on ABC Lane.

According to the Daily Comet, the jurors returned to the courtroom after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation to tell state District Judge John LeBlanc that they were deadlocked 9-3.

Another hour later, they maintained that they could not reach a verdict, and LeBlanc declared a mistrial.
In Louisiana, at least 10 of 12 jurors must agree to convict someone of a charge. A designated jury foreman confirmed in court that the majority had voted guilty but did not say on what charge.

The jury could have found Chouest guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide, or not guilty.

"We fully intend to retry Mr. Chouest," said Lafourche Parish District Attorney Cam Morvant II. "I was disappointed in some of the things that occurred in court, but that does happen sometimes."

Chouest had testified Thursday that he'd had about six beers and used crystal methamphetamine the afternoon of May 21, 2013. He also testified that he'd taken about eight Percocet pain pills and, soon before the shooting, smoked about five rocks of crack cocaine.

Chouest's attorney, George Ledet Jr., of Cut Off, said his client had been up for three days and shot at a silhouette he mistook for an alligator. He was a hunter, Ledet said, and had no reason to believe anyone would be in a driveway on an isolated, family-owned street at 4 a.m.

It was never determined why Galjour was on ABC Lane at that time but a coroner’s report showed that the victim was intoxicated.

Chouest also testified that he didn’t realize Galjour was a man until after the shooting.

Attorneys on both sides will have a conference with the judge May 13 to schedule a new trial.