Toussaint was found guilty of second-degree murder, simple arson and theft of a motor vehicle. District Attorney Trent Brignac said the charge of second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Toussaint’s sentencing will be held May 19, in 13th Judicial District Court Judge John Larry Vidrine’s courtroom.
The crime occurred May 11, 2010. Fontenot allegedly met with Toussaint and engaged in sexual intercourse on Dairy Lane. According to Toussaint’s confession, which was presented during the trial, he hit her on the head twice with a cinder block. Evidence indicated both Fontenot and Toussaint’s DNA were found on the cinder block and blood droplets belonging to Toussaint were found on a nearby concrete slab.
Toussaint’s confession also stated he drove Fontenot’s green Ford Mustang to an area off of Pine Point Road and set it on fire. Lead Prosecutor Marcus Fontenot, who was assisted in the trial by Shelley DeVille, stated in closing arguments that Toussaint burned the car to dispose of evidence.
On the first day of trial, Tuesday, April 5, law enforcement officials involved with the investigation were called to the stand, including Louisiana State Police State Trooper Stephen Bruner, criminal investigator, who oversaw the investigation and interrogated Toussaint during his arrest. Bruner testified that initially Toussaint denied any involvement in the murder or even knowing the victim. However, after an extensive investigation that eliminated all of Toussaint’s stories, Bruner said Toussaint finally confessed to the crime.
Defense attorney Alex Chapman, argued Toussaint only confessed after being threatened and having his family threatened. Using a transcript of the interviews, Chapman said Bruner stated Toussaint needed to tell the truth and “not put his family through this bull...” Chapman told Bruner that sounded like a threat to Toussaint’s family.
Bruner also testified that results from the Acadiana Crime Lab indicated the DNA of two people were found on the cinder block. The DNA was confirmed to belong to Fontenot, who was the major contributor (meaning most of the DNA belonged to her), and Toussaint, who was the minor contributor.
Bruner also discussed a knife found at the scene of the murder. The knife contained the DNA of Fontenot and two of her friends.
The prosecution argued the DNA on the knife was the result of Fontenot showing it to her friends at an earlier date. Bruner stated when they investigated Fontenot’s friends, it was discovered they were in a hotel in Lafayette at the time of the murder.
On the second day of trial, Wednesday, April 6, the prosecution continued to call its witnesses, including Andrew Ingram, a forensic scientist at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. Ingram confirmed it appeared Fontenot was the major contributor of DNA on the cinder block and Toussaint was the minor contributor. However, he stated he cannot say definitively that it is their combined DNA, but tests showed their DNA could not be eliminated as the source. All other DNA swabs submitted to the crime lab were eliminated as sources after testing. These included DNA swabs of all other suspects in the case.
Testimony on the third day of Toussaint’s trial Thursday, April 7, was interrupted when Toussaint stood up in the courtroom, said the witness on the stand was lying and fired his court appointed attorney.
During the testimony of Louisiana State Police Detective Wayne Vidrine, who was answering questions regarding Toussaint’s confession to the murder of Elizabeth Fontenot, 18, Toussaint said the statements from his confession were lies and he was told to say them. Toussaint’s outburst continued with telling 13th Judicial District Judge John Larry Vidrine that he wanted to fire his court appointed attorney, Alex “Sonny” Chapman and hire his own attorney. Toussaint finally asked to leave the courtroom and was escorted out.
Judge Vidrine quickly dismissed the jury when Toussaint’s outburst began and called them back into the courtroom once he was escorted outside. Without Toussaint present in the courtroom, Vidrine reappointed Chapman to serve as defense attorney and the questioning of Detective Vidrine continued.
Vidrine testified that Toussaint confessed to the murder of Fontenot, to taking her car and to burning the vehicle. During the testimony, the cinder block used as a murder weapon was shown to jurors. The prosecution rested Thursday.
The defense called its first witness, District Attorney Trent Brignac. Chapman questioned Brignac about conversations he had with Toussaint prior to his confession of the crime. Chapman had argued during the trial that pressure was put on Toussaint to confess with threats to his family. Brignac stated he did not threaten Toussaint or his family. He said he only spoke to the defendant, much like he does with many other defendants.
Toussaint returned to trial after a lunch break and asked to have Brignac called to the stand again, but Judge Vidrine denied the request. With no other witnesses to call, the defense rested.
Chapman stated it was a tough case for his client and the evidence was overwhelming. He added he filed a motion before the trial began to suppress Toussaint’s statement and confession, stating law enforcement was very “heavy-handed” with Toussaint during his statements. However, that motion was denied because Toussaint signed paperwork prior to each statement claiming he was not made promises or threatened.
“One family lost a daughter,” Chapman said, “And one family lost a husband and father to prison. They were messing around in the street doing things they shouldn’t have been doing and that’s what can happen.”