Prairieville Man Sentenced on 2nd Degree Murder Charge

          On April 12, 2017, an Ascension Parish Jury found Kevin Sheppard of Prairieville, LA., age 25, guilty of 2nd Degree Murder in connection with the 2014 shooting death of 22-year-old Lewis Ray Sanchez, also of Prairieville. Sheppard was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Charles “Chuck” Long and Lindsey Manda. Presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Thomas Kliebert.  

          During the early morning hours of December 24, 2014, deputies with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Bishop Woods area of Ascension Parish located on the outskirts of Gonzales in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, deputies located a male subject lying in the roadway on Josh Brown Rd. suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. This victim was in and out of consciousness at this time. This victim was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge where he recovered from potential life threatening injuries. A short distance away, deputies located Lewis Ray Sanchez lying on the roadway near the edge of a ditch. Sanchez was unresponsive and shortly after pronounced deceased on scene. Sanchez succumbed to injuries sustained from a single gunshot wound to the chest area.  

          Through the course of an extensive investigation, investigators determined that the two victims along with another individual had gotten into a white suburban with two subjects to go purchase alcohol and illegal narcotics. Once in the vehicle, the subject traveled to the Bishop Woods area. During the ride, two of the subjects inside of the vehicle began arguing over a debt that was owed. During the argument, the two victims were seated in the rear portion of the suburban when the front seat passenger, identified as Kevin Sheppard, turned to the rear and fired multiple gunshots into the back seat area. At this time, all of the vehicle’s occupants exited the vehicle, including the driver and Sheppard. Shortly after, Sheppard, who was still armed, ordered the driver back into the vehicle and the two fled the area. Sheppard and the driver of the vehicle traveled to a Sorrento residence. Sheppard stayed at the residence for a short time, and then left the area in the white suburban alone. During the mid-morning hours of December 24th, investigators located the white suburban burned along the Mississippi River levee in St. Gabriel. Sheppard drove the suburban across the Mississippi River levee in St. Gabriel where it was burned. Investigators conducted numerous interviews and were able to take statements from three passengers who were inside the vehicle. The statements of all three individuals were consistent and all three individuals identified Kevin Sheppard as the shooter in this matter. An arrest warrant was issued for Sheppard, and on the same morning shortly before 10:00 am, Sheppard turned himself in to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. Sheppard was subsequently arrested and booked into the Ascension Parish Jail. Although the firearm used in this matter was never recovered, scientific evidence proved that Sanchez was shot with a .38 caliber revolver. 

          Jury selection began on the morning of April 11, 2017, and after a day and a half of testimony, the jury returned a verdict of guilty as charged of 2nd Degree Murder. Sheppard, who testified during the trial, admitted to lying to investigators during their investigation in hopes of being eliminated from the investigation. Sheppard testified that he was in the vehicle prior to the murder and after the murder, but was not in the vehicle at the time the shots were fired. Sheppard also testified that he did in fact burn the suburban along the banks of the Mississippi River, but maintained his innocence as it pertains to the shooting. 

          Upon completion of the jury’s two hour deliberation and return of a guilty verdict, Judge Kliebert deferred formal sentencing to a later date. 

          On October 23, 2017, Sheppard appeared before Judge Kliebert for sentencing. Upon hearing victim impact statements from family members of the victim, Judge Kliebert ordered that Sheppard be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections for life. It was further ordered that this life sentence is to be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.