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Trial of 2019 Cottonport club shooting suspect underway

Alexandria KALB-TV logo Alexandria KALB-TV 6/1/2022 Alena Noakes
Derrionte Boyer © Provided by Alexandria KALB-TV Derrionte Boyer

MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - The trial of Derrionte Boyer officially began on June 1, 2022, at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse.

Boyer faces numerous charges for a November 2019 shooting outside of the New Beginnings Club near Cottonport, which resulted in the deaths of Justin Heath and Monte Jones, as well as the injuries of two others.

He faces four counts, including one count of second-degree murder, one count of principal to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Both counsels laid the groundwork for the case with their opening statements.

Assistant District Attorney Tony Salario listed off numerous witnesses to be called up to testify Boyer was the shooter involved in the incident at the club. Meanwhile, Defense Attorney Tiffany Sanders countered in her statement that Boyer, a 16-year-old Peabody High School freshman at the time, was not even at the club the night of the shooting, and there was no evidence linking him to the incident.

Salario set the scene by describing the circumstances of the night.

While at the club for a party, Jones was attacked by a group of people, so badly injuring him that what would occur moments later would result in his death. When Jones and Heath were leaving the club with two others, the same group was waiting outside, one of them firing at least 10 shots in Jones’ and Heath’s direction. The prosecution claimed that person was Boyer, citing witnesses who identified the shooter as D.T., Boyer’s nickname.

Heath was shot eight times, and Jones was shot once in the arm. Heath died on arrival to the hospital in Bunkie, while Jones died at the scene.

On the other hand, Sanders urged the jury to not only listen to what they hear during the trial, but also what they do not hear, which she said would be a motive and Boyer’s actual name.

Instead, Sanders insinuated it was actually another man, Brent Barry, Boyer’s half-brother, who carried out the crime. She said Barry hated Jones because he was sleeping with the mother of his baby, carried out the beating on Jones and admitted he had a gun with him at the club.

Former Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeremiah Honea was the first witness called to the stand. Honea reviewed multiple crime scene photos, which included shell casings outside the club. He identified the casings to belong to a 9 mm handgun which was never recovered.

On cross-examination, Sanders’ co-counsel, Bridget Brown, questioned Honea on the other arrests of people from that night and the nature of the evidence collected.

Evidently, seven other people, including four with the last name “Barry,” were arrested in connection with the incident inside the nightclub. The defense claims some of those arrested have received lesser charges. The detective noted none of them were identified as the shooter, only Boyer was.

As to the other evidence, Brown focused on gunshot residue tests and whether DNA collected linked Boyer to the scene. Honea said they did not send any evidence with residue or possible DNA for testing.

ADA Salario is acting as lead prosection for the state, while Sanders is acting as lead defense for Boyer. Judge William Bennett is presiding over the case.

**Note: Due to time constraints, News Channel 5 was only able to provide coverage for the first half of the day’s testimony.

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