Dogfighting charges dropped; evidence taken from dead man fails trial burden

Published 12:12 am Saturday, September 15, 2018

EDGARD — Prosecutors dropped dogfighting charges against three Garyville men after video evidence found on a dead man could not be authenticated in court.

Insufficient evidence was cited in all three cases by the St. John the Baptist Parish D.A.’s office during court proceedings Aug. 15.

St. John Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Bryant Daigre Jr., Brandent Sampson Sr. and Kenon Duhe on Oct. 3, 2015.

Bryant Daigre Jr.

At the time of the arrests, detectives said they obtained arrest warrants after receiving video evidence “clearly showing” the suspects forcing dogs to engage in illegal dogfighting.

Brandent Sampson Sr.

A Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said police confirmed the video showed dogfighting in St. John Parish; although, an exact location was not released.

Kenon Duhe

District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut said the video was found on the phone of Kentrell Hayes as police were processing Hayes’ homicide. Hayes, 26, was killed in September 2015 after being shot multiple times.

St. John Sheriff’s Office deputies discovered Hayes in the 300 block of Sherman Walker Street in Garyville, authorities pronouncing him dead on the scene.

Dinvaut said police reviewed the victim’s phone and observed a dog fight, eventually identifying three men they believed were in the video and the location where it was taken.

“With a video or picture, you have to be able to say, ‘who took the picture,’” Dinvaut said. “A person has to get on the stand and say this picture is an accurate depiction.”

According to Dinvaut, authorities do not know who took the video.

“I can’t convict them because I don’t have anybody to authenticate the case, because the police officer is going to say ‘I took it off of a dead person’s body,’” Dinvaut said. “That’s hearsay as to what is on the videotape. He can’t say. He wasn’t there. He is not the person that took the picture. Under the rules of evidence, in order to introduce evidence at trial, you cannot use hearsay.”