Former serviceman sentenced after shooting father-in-law, attempted arson

Published 10:41 am Tuesday, September 18, 2018

HANVILLE — A Luling man pleaded guilty Monday to attempted manslaughter and attempted aggravated arson.    

The amended charges and convictions followed 32-year-old William Canada’s Aug. 2, 2016, arrest on three counts of attempted murder after police said he shot his father-in-law during an early morning exchange of gunfire that had the makings of more violence.

According to the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, the victims were provided the opportunity to give extensive input into the plea process and concurred with the proposed sentences.

“The victims and multiple family members were present in the courtroom when the plea was entered,” a release from the D.A.’s office said. “All three of the victims delivered impact statements in advance of imposition of the sentence by Judge Timothy S. Marcel.

“Each said that they hoped for the best for the defendant in the future and asked the defendant and his family to respect their privacy and their wishes to be left alone.”

Marcel recommended Canada be referred to the Veterans Program at Hunt Correctional Center to serve the remainder of his sentence, adding he hoped the plea brought both families “some semblance of closure.”

Marcel said that while Canada’s actions were likely, in part, caused by circumstances arising from his combat service and that combat service may have “mitigated” Canada’s behavior, it did not “absolve” the behavior.

Canada was sentenced to 20 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, with 10 years suspended for attempted manslaughter charge. He was also sentenced to 10 years for attempted aggravated arson.

The sentences are to be served concurrently with credit given for time already served.

On the day of his arrest, St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne said Canada was arrested after a shootout at his in-law’s residence on Lac Verret Drive in Luling.

Champagne said Canada’s estranged wife was staying with her parents.

Due to text messages sent to Canada’s estranged wife that raised concerns, his father-in-law spent the night in the living room out of caution.

At approximately 4 a.m., the father-in-law observed Canada on the porch of the residence with two gas cans and a Molotov cocktail.

Champagne said Canada immediately began shooting through the doors and windows of the home. The estranged wife’s father was able to return fire, at least two shots, before suffering a gunshot wound to the chest.

Canada fled the scene in a white truck, and Champagne said responding deputies located him leaving the subdivision and took him into custody without incident.

Canada was uninjured.

Three people were home during the incident: Canada’s estranged wife and her mother and father. The father, who was the only one injured, was taken to the hospital and released.