Guillory indicted for second degree murder
By Claudette Olivier,
Church Point Editor
OPELOUSAS–A Church Point man has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge in the Jan. 25, 2016, shooting death of Church Point native Bethany Walters.
On July 18, the St. Landry Parish Grand Jury reported to and filed the indictment with 27th Judicial District Court Judge Alonzo Harris charging Michael Guillory with Walters’ death.
For the victim’s mother, Cindy Walters, of Church Point, the indictment is another step in the process of healing from the loss of her child.
“It’s something a mother knows,” Walters said. “I couldn’t go on feeling the way I felt. I couldn’t go on feeling that way — I needed the science to back my feelings.”
She continued, “I feel like an angel of peace has finally visited my family. Our minds and spirits can start to heal and process her death. I didn’t know what happened to her. This was a search for the truth of what really happened to her. This is every parent’s worst nightmare and to not be able to know what happened adds to it — living with the unknown.”
According to a Eunice News report from February 2016, Walters’ death was originally reported as a suicide, but investigators were waiting on laboratory tests before ruling the death a homicide or suicide.
In the report, Clay Higgins, former public information officer for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, said Guillory, 31, was named a “person of interest” in the case, which occurred at a home he and Walters shared near Lawtell.
Guillory was arrested Jan. 27, 2016, for unauthorized use of a movable. He was jailed on that charge as well as a hold for probation and parole for another, unspecified incident, according to the report.
In December 2017, Walters hired Lafayette attorney John Tilly to help her find out exactly what happened to her daughter in her final moments. All available evidence in the case was turned over to Dr. James Traylor, associate professor of pathology and medical director of Autopsy and Forensic Services at Louisiana State University at Shreveport.
Traylor, who was hired by Walters, recommended further testing on the firearm connected to Walters’ death. After receiving the results of the testing, it was Traylor’s opinion that Walters’ death was a homicide.
On May 14 of this year, Guillory was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the 22-year-old Walters. On May 23, Guillory, who is currently incarcerated at a correctional facility in Caldwell Parish where he is serving time on felon in possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a moveable charges related to the 2016 incident, was transferred to the St. Landry Parish Jail for a bond hearing.
At the bond hearing, District Judge Jason Meche set a bond review hearing for Sept. 26.
According to a press release from St. Landry Parish District Attorney Earl Taylor, a second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
“Sometimes justice is an evolving thing. With the increase in technology, oftentimes we learn things that we were not able to know initially,” Taylor said. “I think this case is a situation where, through the persistence of her mother, we were able to determine that a crime had been committed, and it is our goal to take that information and to seek justice.”
He continued, “This affirms what she (the victim’s mother) believed all along. It’s a confirmation of what she knew about her daughter.”
Guillory’s public defender, Kenneth M. Willis, declined to comment on the case at this time.