Bruce Bourgeois Jr., 35, pleaded guilty today (Dec. 3) to manslaughter and attempted manslaughter after stabbing his live-in girlfriend to death and slitting her mother’s throat.
Bourgeois was arrested and charged in the July 30, 2014 incident in Destrehan that left Mia Waite dead and her mother, Carmelina Waite, severely injured.
In today’s court hearing, Carmelina Waite faced Bourgeois and commented that she “just wanted her family to have peace,” according to witnesses. She left the stand and hugged Bourgeois’ mother.
Judge Emile R. St. Pierre accepted Bourgeois’ plea in the 29th Judicial District Court. Assistant District Attorneys Howat A. Peters Jr. and John M. Chaisson prosecuted the case against Bourgeois.
District Attorney Joel T. Chaisson II said today’s guilty plea eliminated the need for a trial scheduled in February.
Bourgeois got a 40-year sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to manslaughter and a 20-year sentence for attempted manslaughter. He was initially charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery.
According to state law, he must serve 34 years of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.
Chaisson said that he only agreed to the amended charges because Bourgeois agreed to accept the maximum prison sentences on those charges. He agreed to not object to the judge ordering the sentences be served concurrently because Carmelina requested that at the sentencing.
Chaisson also said he held firm on the maximum sentences despite Bourgeois’ attorney making numerous requests to lessen them.
“This plea agreement serves to ensure that Bruce Bourgeois Jr. will spend the majority, if not the remainder of his life, in prison and spare Mia Waite’s family the pain and uncertainty of a public trial and years of appeals,” Chaisson said. “It is my hope that the family may find peace with the closure that this guilty plea provides.”
On Aug. 1, 2014, Bourgeois was arrested and charged a day after the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office found Mia Waite stabbed to death in her bathroom at the residence she shared with him in the 300 block of Madewood Drive in Destrehan.
Bourgeois was accused of luring Carmelina Waite to the residence to get her vehicle, when she resisted he slashed her throat. He fled the scene in her vehicle and was arrested the next day in a wooded area near Independence.
In October 2014, St. Pierre ruled Bourgeois was competent to stand trial after his attorney said his client was “having mental breakdowns in jail.”