Material witness in deputy shooting released

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 29, 2012

By Lori Lyons
Contributing Writer

LAPLACE – Teniecha Bright, one of seven suspects originally charged in the shooting deaths of two St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s deputies and the wounding of two others, has been released from jail after posting a portion of her bond, according to reports.

Bright was released from the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility in St. Charles Parish on Dec. 19, court records show. She had been in custody since Aug. 16, the day St. John Parish Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were killed and Jason Triche was wounded in an ambush at a LaPlace trailer park while searching for suspects in the shooting of another deputy, Michael Scott Boyington.

Authorities arrested Kyle Joekel and Brian Smith and charged them with first-degree murder of a police officer in the deaths of Nielsen and Triche, and two counts of attempted first degree murder in the shootings of Jason Triche and Boyington. Additional attempted first-degree murder charges were added last month because other deputies were present but not wounded in the attack.

 Brian Smith’s father Terry Smith and brother Derrick Smith were charged with principal to first-degree murder. Terry Smith’s wife Chanel Skains was charged with accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder. She pleaded guilty on Nov. 15 and will be sentenced after the trials for the other defendants are completed. Brittney Keith is charged with two counts of principal to first-degree murder of a police officer and three counts of principal to attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

According to reports, Bright has claimed that she merely hitched a ride with the other defendants the day of the murder, but she was originally booked with principal to first-degree murder of a police officer. Last month those charges were refused, but she was ordered to remain in custody as a material witness in the case. Court records show that Bright paid $1,000 of the $100,000 bond set for her release on Dec. 19.

Telieta Robinson, reported to be Bright’s mother, signed for the remaining $99,000 to ensure her daughter would appear in court to give testimony on Jan. 18, as previously scheduled.

Trials for the remaining defendants are expected to be in mid-2014.