Guillory pleads not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder
A Church Point man has entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in the Jan. 25, 2016, shooting death of Church Point native Bethany Walters.
Michael Guillory, who is serving time on felon in possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a moveable charges related to the 2016 incident, appeared before 27th Judicial District Judge Jason Meche for a bond hearing and arraignment on Sept. 26.
Guillory entered his plea during his arraignment.
Cindy Walters, mother of Bethany Walters, said, “So much happened at the bond hearing. He (Guillory) was introduced to his court-appointed attorney. He was charged in May, and his lawyer was not prepared (for the bond hearing). It’s very upsetting that he was not prepared.”
Walters said Guillory’s attorney asked for an extension for the bond hearing, and the extension was granted at the objection of the state. Walters said Assistant District Attorney Katie Ryan will be the prosecutor in the case. Walters also said Guillory will remain incarcerated at the Caldwell Correctional Center until his next bond hearing before Meche on Oct. 30.
“This frustration is par for the course,” Walters said. “It’s to be expected that this is how it plays out. Waiting for it to come to an end could take weeks, months, before we go to trial. Our justice system in America is wonderful. No matter how long it takes, I believe in the system. It’s a jury of our peers, for them and for us.”
Guillory, 31, was named a “person of interest” in the 2016 shooting, 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 a Eunice News report from February 2016.
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.
In a May 26 Church Point News article, St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Traylor’s findings were turned over to the Sheriff’s Office, and the information was then presented to a local judge who signed a warrant for Guillory’s arrest.
On May 14 of this year, Guillory was charged with second-degree murder in the death of the 22-year-old Walters. He was indicted on the charge on July 18.
Pre-trial is set for Feb. 28, 2020, and plea status is set for April 7 and 8, 2020. Jury selection is set for April 13 and 21, 2020. A trial date is not set.
Guillory’s public defender, Kenneth M. Willis, did not return a call for comment.