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South Lafourche Parish man granted new second-degree murder trial, set to start Jan. 25


THIBODAUX, Louisiana — A south Lafourche Parish man granted a new second-degree murder trial after a jury couldn't reach a verdict in March won't be retried until early next year.

The Daily Comet reports ( 32-year-old Robert Chouest, of Cut Off, is charged in the May 22, 2013, shooting of 41-year-old Shawn Galjour, of Larose. Lafourche sheriff's deputies found Galjour's body about 4:45 a.m. in Chouest's grandparents' driveway near the defendant's home.

State District Judge John LeBlanc scheduled Chouest's new trial for Jan. 25. He set aside two weeks, which is how long the first trial lasted after it started March 16 with jury selection.

LeBlanc declared a mistrial March 21, saying prosecutors had violated a sequestration order for witnesses, but the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision and the trial continued March 24. On March 28, the judge declared a mistrial for the second time after the jury deliberated for three and a half hours but remained deadlocked 9-3.

Under state law, at least 10 of 12 jurors must agree on a conviction. The jury forewoman confirmed that the majority had voted guilty.

Chouest's attorney, George Ledet Jr., of Cut Off, said the reason for the lengthy delay in retrying his client was simply that the judge's docket was full for the rest of the year.

Assistant district attorneys Annette Fontana and Heather Hendrix are handling the case. Hendrix said prosecutors plan to present a motion July 15 for an evidentiary hearing regarding a phone call between Chouest and his wife, Sandy.

Information from: The Courier,

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