Bunkie man sentenced in accidental shooting case

Jesse Ducote, 22, of Bunkie was sentenced today to five years for the negligent homicide of a friend in November 2017.

Ducote pleaded guilty in November to accidentally shooting Jake Ducote, 19, at the victim's home in Moreauville. 12th Judicial District Judge Billy Bennett handed down the maximum sentence allowed for the offense.

"One man lost a life," Bennett said in pronouncing sentence. "The other must lose his freedom, if only temporarily."

Bennett released a 10-page explanation for his decision, saying Jesse Ducote will have to live with the incident for the rest of his life, but it can't go unpunished.

Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office investigators reported the two men were playing with a .223 caliber AR-15 rifle at Jake Ducote's home. Jesse Ducote thought the rifle was unloaded when he pointed it at Jake, who was standing at a window inside of the home, and pulled the trigger. The bullet traveled through the window and struck Jake Ducote in the head, killing him instantly.

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