Jerel Smith, the 32-year-old Luling man convicted in May of the second degree murder of Metairie’s Ryan Dubuc for $80 cash in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Smith’s sentence was handed down by District Judge M. Lauren Lemmon for the second degree murder conviction along with a separate 99 year sentence for the armed robbery of Dubuc. Lemmon also issued an additional five-year sentence because the weapon used in the robbery was a firearm. The sentences are to be served at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of corrections.
The 99-year armed robbery sentence is the maximum allowed for the crime by law, with the additional five years to be served consecutively to it.
The case was prosecuted by Rochelle Champagne Fahrig and Julie Cullen.
According to the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office, Lemmon handed down those sentences following emotional impact statements, including from Dubuc’s mother, which were met with more than one outburst from Smith.
“A friend of the Dubuc family said it best in one of the more than 40 letters submitted to the court in advance of today’s sentencing,” said District Attorney Joel T. Chaisson II. “Jerel Smith obliterated the heart of the Dubuc family when he senselessly and selfishly murdered Ryan Dubuc, who was trying to help him. Nothing can bring Ryan back, but it is my hope that his family will gain some peace in knowing that Jerel Smith will spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Smith, 31, of 1034 Luling Estates Drive, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and armed robbery in connection with Dubuc’s death in January of last year. Police believe Dubuc was giving Smith a ride in his truck and that Smith killed him shortly after the two left Birdie’s gas station in Luling on Jan. 9 of last year.
Dubuc was 28 years old. Shortly before his death, he withdrew $80 from an ATM at Birdie’s. He was then approached by Smith. Detectives do not believe the two knew each other. However, Smith got into Dubuc’s truck and they left together, but it is unknown if Dubuc allowed Smith into his truck willingly.
Dubuc’s body was found lying along an access road off La. Highway 3160 in Hahnville. Plant workers discovered his body near a wastewater treatment plant. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said Dubuc was “robbed and brutally murdered for as little as $80.” The Sheriff’s Office mobilized an intense investigation that led to Smith’s arrest. Champagne said a S.W.A.T. team arrested Smith at his mother’s residence.