John Paul Devillier, who initially plead innocent, has changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity in the April 16 shooting of St. Charles Parish deputy Cpl. Burt Hazeltine.
Devillier, 56, of Gulfport, Miss., was charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of battery of a peace officer and resisting an officer by force after he was accused of shooting Hazeltine, 36, while directing traffic in a school zone in Paradis.
The deputy was “ambushed” by Devillier in an apparent case of road rage, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He shot Hazeltine three times putting him in the hospital for a week, leaving him with a perforated lung and loss of sight in his right eye.
As of Friday, Devillier was still being held in jail on $1 million bond. Devillier’s attorney Wendy Williams’ request for a bond reduction was denied.
Devillier returns to court on Tuesday (Aug. 25) for a status conference on the case. A trial date has not been scheduled.
Devillier changed his plea on Aug. 4 after Williams had a mental health evaluation report conducted by a psychiatrist and psychology chosen by the defense.
However, the report was not available in court records as of Friday (Aug. 21) and parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson II was unavailable for comment on Friday.
Court records do include two evaluations done May 12 by court-appointed mental health professionals at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse. Both state they found Devillier competent for trial.
Psychiatrist Richard Richoux’s evaluation states he found Devillier competent to proceed to trial. Forensic psychologist Rafael Salcedo’s evaluation states the same, although he added he would have preferred having more documentation as part of the evaluation.
According to Richoux, Devillier was being treated for depression and anxiety by psychiatric nurse practitioner with Effexor and Valium. Richoux also reported psychotherapy for marital conflicts and later for depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder by a clinical psychologist.
“He was not taking psychiatric medication at the time of the current evaluation although he stated that he was taking them up until the time of his arrest,” Richoux states. “It should be noted that despite the absence of psychotropic medication at the time of the current examination, he did not appear clinically depressed. He showed no evidence of psychosis.”
Richoux also reports Devillier showed no current psychopathology, which would prevent him from assisting counsel in preparing his defense.
Salcedo’s evaluation states he was taking Neurontin and Tylenol, along with three different antihypertensive medications, at the time of the examination.
On Devillier’s mental condition, Salcedo states he did not observe him “manifesting any obvious signs of symptoms of a major psychiatric disorder” at the exam.
Devillier’s job history includes having worked 20 years in the U.S. Navy and then retired, according to Salcedo. He then worked various security positions with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), Federal Express and other similar jobs. He was injured on the TSA job and is on Workers’ Compensation, having last worked in 2010.
Due to orthopedic problems, Devillier told Salcedo that he had been seeing a pain management specialist and was prescribed 20 mg of OxyContin twice a day and Lidocaine patches.
“Devillier denied abusing prescription pain medications,” Salcedo reports. “He stated that he drank occasionally. He denied abusing illegal drugs any time in the recent past.”