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DA to Seek Death Penalty for Dakota Theriot; Not Guilty Plea Entered

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – A man accused of killing five people in a multi-parish shooting spree, including his own parents, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of first-degree murder.

Dakota Theriot, 21, is accused of shooting Summer Ernest, who investigators say was his girlfriend; her father, Billy Ernest, and her little brother, Tanner, in their trailer in Livingston Parish. He then stole Billy Ernest’s truck and drove to Ascension Parish where he shot and killed both of his parents.

Theriot was arrested in Virginia the next day as he arrived at his grandmother’s house.

District Attorney for the 24th JDDA, Scott Perrilloux, says his office is going to pursue this as a capital case, and they will be seeking the death penalty.

“We’re dealing with something tragic and horrific that took place in this community and now we have to do our job and moving forward that’s what we’ll do,” Perrilloux said Monday after the hearing. I don’t take any pleasure in accepting a capital case but again after reviewing all the circumstances, the facts that we have before us, all the considerations we had to make, and we didn’t make it lightly, we felt like the death penalty was the appropriate course of action.”

May 9 is the next court date. It will be a motions hearing and will go before Judge Brenda Ricks at 1 p.m.

Theriot was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder in Livingston Parish, to which he pleaded not guilty on Monday, Mar. 18. He’s facing two more murder charges in Ascension Parish.

His next court date is a motions hearing scheduled for May 9 in Judge Brenda Ricks’ courtroom.