LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — A judge has delayed Seth Fontenot's murder trial for a third time, pushing the start date from April to September because state funds have been unavailable to pay for an investigator and expert witnesses needed to defend the former college student.
Judge Edward Rubin said Thursday he was bound by another judge's order in 2013 commanding the district's Indigent Defender's Office to provide money for Fontenot's defense.
He reset the trial for Sept. 22.
Fontenot's trial on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder had been set for the week of April 21.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1fO5zu2 ) Fontenot is accused of firing three shots at a truck on Feb. 10, 2013, killing Austin Rivault and wounding two other teens.
Fontenot told investigators he fired at the truck's tail lights to scare the boys he suspected were trying to break into his vehicle. Fontenot was indicted in the weeks following the killing, which occurred on an early Sunday morning.
Judge Kristian Earles granted Fontenot's request last year for public funds to aid in his defense, even though Fontenot's family is paying noted criminal defense attorney Thomas Guilbeau for legal representation.
Earles presided over Fontenot's case until the end of 2013, with Rubin taking the case in January.
Paul Marx, who heads the 15th Judicial District's Indigent Defender Office, said after the hearing his office did not have available money for Fontenot in this fiscal year, which ends June 30. Marx declined further comment, citing a standing gag order imposed by Earles last year.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com