Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 2004

Staff Reporter

EDGARD – A LaPlace man who fled the St. John the Baptist Parish Courthouse in Edgard on Oct. 26 to avoid prosecution of narcotics charges was sentenced Monday to 44 years in prison.

State District Judge J. Sterling Snowdy told 24-year-old Shawn Housley, he would have to serve two consecutive 22-year terms.

Housley was sentenced for a 2003 incident in which he was accused of selling $40 worth of crack cocaine to undercover agents inside the E-Z Stop at the intersection of Airline Highway and Main Street.

On Oct. 26, a 12-member jury found Housley guilty on two charges of attempting to distribute narcotics. However, Housley slipped out of the courthouse while the jury was deliberating a verdict in the felony case.

Housley was apprehended Nov. 12, at 2:03 p.m. on Hawk Street in LaPlace after officers with the St. John the Baptist Parish Criminal Investigation Bureau surrounded an area where Housley was spotted.

After a short foot chase, Housley was arrested one block from his 617 Eagle Street home. He was placed in the Sherman Walker Correctional Center without bond, after Snowdy revoked a $350,000 bond placed on Housley in October.

Housley is now an inmate with the Department of Corrections. The DOC will decide where he will serve his term.

Assistant District Attorney Robert Becnel said Monday that it is unfortunate someone as young as Housley has to serve a 44-year prison term. He said, “It is sad these young people deal in narcotics.”

Becnel said Housley was offered a plea bargain before the start of his October narcotics trial.

“Housley could have accepted a 10-year prison term. He chose to reject the plea bargain and go to trial. The jury convicted him. The judge could have given him a life sentence,” said Becnel.

Housley had at least two prior drug arrests and two prior drug convictions. Following his drug convictions, he was placed on probation until 2007. He was on probation when he was arrested for the 2003 incident.