The motion hearings for the Seth Fontenot first-degree murder trial wrapped up Thursday. The trial was supposed to start earlier in the week, but was pushed back to early next year and with a new trial judge.
This ruling comes nine months after charges were filed and a slew of pre-trial motions. Fontenot's defense attorney, Thomas Guilbeau requested more time in order to hire and fund expert witnesses at the court's expense—the main factor in the delay.
15th Judicial District Judge Kristian Earles granted the continuance, but said Judge Edward Rubin will now preside over the case, since a new lottery assignment will have him handling Acadia Parish cases starting in 2014.
Despite Guilbeau's efforts to keep explicit text messages and some autopsy photos out of court, the evidence was ruled admissible during trial. And when it came to those text messages, the arguments got heated.
Prosecutors said they give an insight into Fontenot's state of mind around the time of the fatal shooting. The defense claimed the texts are inflammatory and attack Fontenot's character. It got so heated at one point Judge Earles threatened Guilbeau with contempt of court.
But after a few hours and some closed door discussion, the judge granted the continuance, delaying the trial once again.
No trial date has been set, however Guilbeau said they should be ready in March. The defense has until January 15th to hire the necessary experts.