Sun, Dec 2, 2012
The female driver who accused a Delcambre police officer of touching her inappropriately, kissing her and then asking her for a phone number all during a traffic stop is considered a hero by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
A 12-person jury took three hours to decide that Ernest Billiot, a former Delcambre police officer, is guilty of sexual assault and second degree kidnapping.
Judge Edward Broussard will sentence Billiot in the next two months. He is facing anywhere from 10 to 40 years in prison.
After the verdict was read Friday at 4 p.m., Billiot was escorted out of the 15th District Judicial Courtroom and straight to jail.
The State Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case.
Emma Devillier, the assistant attorney general of the criminal division, was emotional after the verdict was read. The female driver, who brought charges against Billiot four years ago, was not in the courtroom Friday. Devillier texted her the verdict. The female’s response was “OMG (Oh, my god.).”
“A victory like is this…it is a sad day for law enforcement,” said Devillier. “In one way he used the trust that was given to him. But it is a victory for this lady who has been through so much. She is a true criminal justice hero. I am so grateful to her for standing up for herself and for victims everywhere.”
Devillier said this verdict sends a message to victims by speaking up. “Your voice can be heard,” she said. “There are people who will listen to you.”
She thanked the jury for listening to the victim’s voice. “They saw the truth,” Devillier said.
The trial took four days. The female driver was the first witness the state called to the stands. She told the jurors how she was stopped by a Delcambre police officer after 1 a.m. The driver said she was heading west through Delcambre when she bypassed a Delcambre patrol car heading east.
The police car turned around and the female driver passed the Delcambre Chevron and pulled over onto the shoulder along La. 14.
Billiot told the female she almost hit his car head-on, and he wanted to know if she had been drinking that night. Eventually, he ordered the female to get into the back seat of his patrol car because he told her she has to go to the Delcambre police station to take a breathalyzer test. Delcambre police do not have a breathalyzer test. They use other law agency’s equipment if one is needed.
She told the jury she did what she was told and got into his car and went to the station. While there, she went to the bathroom and when she got out, he was standing by the door. Billiot told the lady he thought she was hiding drugs and wanted to check her for drugs. He did a strip search while the two of them were alone.
Eventually, he took her back to her car parked along La. 14 but never tested her for alcohol. While at her car, he asked her for a phone number for a possible date. She gave him a fake phone number, which he wrote on his hand. Before she could walk away and get back into her car, he kissed her on the lips, which stunned her.
She went home and called 911 to complain about the officer, which began the investigation.
Billiot said he never stopped the female and the state had no evidence saying he did. He never called the stop into the dispatcher nor was there any video showing a police stop. It was her word against his.
Billiot plans to appeal the verdict.