Assistant district attorney Lance Beal is the lead prosecutor in the murder trial of fentanyl overdose death.
Damien Bernard faces charges of second-degree murder and distribution of Schedule II narcotics in the October 2021 death of JonTerez Broussard, who died after suffering an overdose while out with friends in downtown Lafayette.
Bernard's attorney attempted to delay the trial to gain additional time to review discovery items like interviews, video evidence, and iPhone reports; however, Judge Colbert denied the motion.
Louisiana's second-degree murder statute specifies that a person can be arrested and prosecuted if the distribution or dispensing of an illegal drug is the direct cause of a death.
In 2015, 32 people died from fatal overdoses in Lafayette Parish and zero of the deaths involved fentanyl. In 2022, there were 148 overdose deaths in the parish and 114 involved fentanyl.