A Lafayette Parish man who shot two men he said knew his daughter was being sex-trafficking will serve about 12 years in prison after accepting a plea deal in early October.
David Kissel, 43, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated battery on October 6 and was sentenced to 18 years in total, including six years suspended and credit for time served. His prison sentence will be followed by five years of active supervised probation.
The first year of his probation will be served under house arrest, according to court records.
He must also complete a life skills education course and undergo mental health and substance abuse assessments upon release from prison, and then follow the care guidelines resulting from those assessments.
Kissel was arrested after Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a property in the 100 block of Parklane Road on April 13, 2021 at approximately 1:45 a.m. and found a man with a gunshot wound to inside a residence, and Kissel inside an RV with a second injured victim. The man was rescued by members of the SWAT team and Kissel eventually surrendered.
Prosecutor James Klock said there was evidence that impairment played a role and victim statements suggested Kissel was suffering from a nervous breakdown at the time of the shooting.
“In this incident, it seemed there was more at stake than the facts that we read in the report,” he said.
Kissel’s mental health was assessed by psychiatrist Dr Luke Verret and psychologist Warren Lowe, who wrote that his actions ‘may have been motivated by belief in a potential delusion’ after Kissel spoke about his history of psychiatric treatment. and his belief that his daughter, who is in the care of relatives in Florida after her mother’s death, was being sex trafficked.
Kissel said months of observation led him to believe the victims had information about his daughter, and he acted out of frustration that they weren’t sharing what they knew, Lowe wrote.
Kissel initially faced two counts of attempted first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping.
Klock said the aggravated battery charges better fit the crime committed when considered in the larger circumstances, and the amended charges offered a range of sentencing options that allowed prosecutors to reach a plea deal. that all parties accepted.
Both victims were involved in plea bargains, he said.
“[Kissel] does not have a significant criminal history. This is one of those circumstances where it’s questionable for someone with no background like that to just walk into a shootout and fake jail the way it happened. It emerged from talking to victims and consulting with the defendant’s attorney, Chad Ikerd, that he was in a bit of a mental breakdown at the time. Some of it was drug addiction related, but it was a strange confluence of circumstances that led him to these actions,” Klock said.
The plea agreement also stated that once released from prison, Kissel could transfer his parole or probation to Florida if the state agreed to supervise him.
This stipulation would allow Kissel to live near his daughter, who would be an adult, if the two wanted to establish a relationship. Having a support system is important for successful reintegration into society, not just for material needs but also for social and emotional support, Klock said.
The prosecutor said he hopes the mental health and addictions support they’ve worked to build into Kissel’s system will give him the structure he needs to stay out of trouble in the future.
“It’s an unfortunate circumstance, really. I hope that Mr Kissel will take the time he has to [the system] to think things through and solve his problems…Hopefully he can put all of that behind him,” Klock said.
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