Leon Gary Plauché
November 10, 1945
|Died||October 20, 2014 (aged 68)|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
|Children||4 (Leon Gary, Jr., Joseph "Jody" Boyce, Jeffrey Michael, and Sissy Jennifer Laureé)|
Leon Gary Plauché (November 10, 1945 – October 20, 2014) was an American known for the 1984 vigilante killing of Jeff Doucet, who had kidnapped and raped his son, Jody Plauché. The killing occurred on Friday, March 16, 1984, and was captured on camera by a news television crew. Although Plauche shot and killed Doucet, he was given a seven-year suspended sentence with five years' probation and 300 hours of community service for the shooting and received no prison sentence. The case received wide publicity because some people questioned whether Plauche should have been charged with murder or let off. Plauche stated that he was in the right, and that those in a similar position would have done the same thing.
Kidnapping by Doucet
Gary Plauche lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was separated from his wife June at the time of the shooting. During 1983 and 1984, his 11-year-old son, Jody Plauche, was taking karate lessons with an instructor, 25-year-old Jeffrey Doucet, who had been sexually abusing the boy for at least a year. In February 1984, Doucet kidnapped Jody and took him to a motel in California where he sexually assaulted and molested him. Police searched the country for Jody, and he was eventually found after Doucet allowed the boy to place a collect call to his mother from the motel. California police raided the motel and arrested Doucet without incident.
On March 1, 1984, Jody was returned to his family in Louisiana, but Gary, who was 38 at the time, heard reports that Doucet had sexually assaulted his son. In an interview with a news television crew, Gary said that he did not know what to do and just felt helpless.
Doucet's killing by Plauché
On March 16, 1984, Doucet was flown back from California to Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, also known as Ryan Field, to face trial. Doucet arrived and was led in handcuffs by police officers through the airport at around 9:30 p.m., where Plauche was waiting for Doucet with a gun.
Plauche was friends with several high-ranking police officers in the Baton Rouge Police Department; while many people believed that these contacts told Plauche where and when Doucet would be arriving, it was actually an employee of the local ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV who gave Plauche the information. A news crew from WBRZ-TV was also waiting for Doucet and had set up their cameras to record his arrival. Opposite the news crew was a bank of pay telephones, where Plauche waited while talking to his best friend on a telephone. He wore a baseball cap and sunglasses, so no one recognized him.
As Doucet was escorted through the airport, he passed the news crew who were taping the scene. He then walked past Plauche, who took out his gun and fired a single shot, directly at the right side of Doucet's head, at point-blank range. Doucet immediately fell to the floor, bleeding from a wound close to his right ear. As depicted in the video of the incident, Plauche placed the telephone receiver down before officers restrained him and removed the gun from his other hand and then attended to Doucet. Officers grabbed hold of Plauche and recognized who he was at once. They kept him pinned against the bank of telephones, asking him as captured on camera, "Gary, why? Why, Gary?" The entire incident was captured on videotape.
Plauche was initially charged with second-degree murder, but agreed to a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years suspended, with five years' probation and 300 hours of community service, which he completed in 1989.
Psychological reports helped Plauche's case after it was learned that Doucet had abused Jody months prior to the kidnapping. Edward P. Uzee examined Plauche and determined that he could not tell the difference between right and wrong when he killed Doucet. Plauche's defense team argued that he was driven to a temporarily psychotic state after learning of the abuse of his son. Uzee also determined that Doucet had the ability to manipulate others and took advantage of the fact that Plauche was separated from his wife at the time, and had managed to wedge his way into the Plauche family. Judge Frank Saia ruled that sending Plauche to prison would not help anyone, and that there was virtually no risk of his committing another crime.
The video of Plauche killing Doucet has been featured on many television programs and documentaries, including the 2002 Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine and the 1993 shockumentary Traces of Death. The footage has also been uploaded to YouTube, where the video has received more than 20 million views. The video featured on YouTube was taken from the television series Anatomy of Crime, which aired in 2000 on Court TV and was produced by John Langley, the creator of Cops.
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