Man acquitted of murder one day after judge refuses to accept his guilty pleaBy Mason White 11:52 AM September 10, 2013
By: David Ross
A man was offered a plea deal of 10 years in prison if he pleaded guilty to murder.
Although, Vaughn Robichaux, 25, of New Orleans, Louisiana, denied the allegation that he had killed his childhood friend, he decided to take the plea deal in order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence.
However, the judge refused to sign the plea deal as a 10 year sentence for murder was not enough.
Robichaux said that he was at work when someone shot his childhood friend in the head, but he was prepared to plead guilty and accept the plea deal, in exchange for a period of 10 years in prison as he had already spent 5-years in prison awaiting trial.
However, the deal fell apart when the Criminal District Judge Arthur Hunter refused to sign the deal because he disagreed with the 10 year prison sentence, which is the minimum state-mandated sentence.
Hunter wanted Robichaux sentence to 50 years in prison. “A sentence of 10 years would have been like a slap on the wrist because of the severity of the injury,” Hunter said.
Moreover, the judge was concerned that because the defendant had already spent nearly five years in prison, he would have received credit for time served, which would have further reduced his term.
One day made all the difference for Robichaux. The jury heard the testimony of two witnesses, who identified Robichaux as the shooter.
They also heard from three witnesses, who testified that they saw Robichaux at work that day, even though none of them could confirm that he had been at work until 4:00 pm on the day of the shooting.
Robichaux’s time card furthermore proved that he left work at 4:00 pm, which was an hour after the shooting.
After deliberating for less than two hours, the jury returned a unanimous verdict acquitting Robichaux of the charges.
“We are disappointed by the verdict,” Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.