Jury sentences man to death penalty for killing two deputies

Published 9:06 pm Sunday, February 9, 2020

A man convicted of killing two Louisiana sheriff’s deputies during a bloody gun battle showed little reaction Sunday as a jury decided he should receive the death penalty, a newspaper reported.

The decision came two days after Kyle Joekel was convicted at trial in St. John the Baptist Parish, The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported.

Jurors found 35-year-old Joekel guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

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Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were killed during a 2012 shootout at a trailer park in Laplace, a suburb west of New Orleans.

An early morning assault on another deputy, Michael Scott Boyington, led to the deadly shootout.

Prosecutors said Joekel stood over Triche with an AK-47 and shot him at close range. Defense attorneys argued that another man — Brian Smith, who is being held in a mental hospital and has been deemed incompetent for trial — fired the shots.

Joekel and Smith were members of the anti-government extremist group Sovereign Citizens, according to prosecutors.