Killona meeting: St. Pierre tackles anonymous racial allegations

August 08, 2007 at 10:21 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

This KKK picture was part of an incendiary unsigned flyer sent out to Killona residents.
This KKK picture was part of an incendiary unsigned flyer sent out to Killona residents.
V.J. St. Pierre, a candidate for St. Charles Parish President, addressed an audience of Killona residents, August 2, concerning rumors that he beat-up an African American Destrehan male more than threedecades ago, when he worked as a deputy for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Flyers left in mailboxes of African-American residents throughout parts of the parish accuse St. Pierre of brutally beating Gary Tyler, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Timothy Weber, a thirteen-year-old white youth from Destrehan in 1975. Weber was St. Pierre’s 3rd cousin.

“It’s simply not true,” St. Pierre told the Herald-Guide.

“I never beat-up Gary Tyler,” he said.

“I want to get back to the focus of my campaign which is meeting the needs of all our residents regardless of their race, parish wide,” he continued.

St. Pierre, feels the allegations won’t hurt his chances of winning the election.

“After speaking with the residents in Killona, I feel confident that it won’t hurt my chances of winning votes,” he said.

“The meeting turned into a question and answer session and I got the opportunity to hear a lot of the concerns that the community had, despite the negative flyer that was circulated, he continued.

“I did report that the flyers had been distributed in parts of the parish to Sheriff Champagne and I did notify the school board,” St. Pierre said.

“Most of the residents felt that if the rumors on the flyer were true then the person should have had the courage and guts to sign his or her name,” he continued.

“I liked Gary. He was a decent kid, who just seemed to have gotten involved with the wrong crowd,” he said.

St. Pierre wants peace to remain within the parish.

“I’m hoping that this won’t dredge up a situation that creates a racial divide in the parish like it did all those years ago,” he said.

“It was awful. Blacks were on one side and whites were on the other,” he continued.

“We have a very peaceful parish, everybody gets along and I just want things to stay that way.”

St. Pierre recalls the fatal shooting and the “worse day he remembers in St. Charles Parish.”

“I remember a black hand holding a gun coming out of a school bus window,” he said.

“I was standing just a few people down along the sidewalk when the shot was fired,” he continued.

“It hit my cousin, Timothy, in the head,” he said tearfully.

“I held him in my arms and myself and another deputy tried to get him to the hospital but it was too late,” he continued.

“He died in my arms.”

Tyler’s mother still accusses St. Pierre of beating-up her son.

“I heard him moaning,” Juanita Tyler told the Herald-Guide.

“They questioned him in New Sarpy, at the holding station,” she continued.

“It looks a lot different today I’m sure, but back then the way it was designed I couldn’t get to him,” she continued.

“I asked if I could see him and they wouldn’t let me see him until later on that evening,”

“Gary told me that V.J. St. Pierre and another deputy named Mike Babin, kicked him and beat him up,” she said

“He was rocking back and forth in a chair and he just kept saying, ‘the white people are going to kill all the black people,’ and that’s all I can remember,” Juanita said.

St. Pierre disputes this claim.

“The only people that were in the room when Gary was being questioned were Nelson Coleman, me and deputy Jim Giglio who came in and out periodically,” he said.

“None of us beat Gary Tyler.”

St. Pierre will continue making rounds parish-wide focusing on his goals and his vision for St. Charles Parish. “If I’m elected parish president, I will do things differently,” he said.

“I plan on being in the office three days out of the week, the other two days I will spend in the communities meeting people and addressing their concerns face to face, because it’s the only way to solve problems.”

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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