Leon Gary Plauche
October 23, 2014 (aged 68) Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Joan Little, Inez García, Marianne Bachmeier
Leon Gary Plauche (November 10, 1945 – October 20, 2014) was a native of Louisiana, known for the 1984 killing of Jeff Doucet, who had kidnapped and sexually assaulted his son, Jody Plauche. The killing occurred on Friday, March 16, 1984, and it was captured on camera by a news television crew. Although Plauche shot and killed Doucet, he was given a 7 year suspended sentence with five years probation and 300 hours of community service for the shooting and received no jail time. The case received wide publicity because many people questioned whether Plauche should be charged with murder or be let off. Plauche claimed to believe until his death that he was in the right, and that those in a similar position would have done the same thing.
Kidnapping by Doucet
Gary Plauche lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was separated from his wife June at the time of the shooting. In 1984, his 11-year-old son, Jody Plauche, was taking karate lessons. Jody's karate instructor, 25-year-old Jeffrey Doucet, had been sexually abusing Jody for at least a year. In February 1984, Doucet kidnapped Jody and took him to a motel in California where he sexually assaulted and molested him. Police searched the country for Jody, and he was eventually found after Doucet allowed Jody to place a collect call to his mother from the motel. California police raided the motel and arrested Doucet without incident.
On March 1, 1984, Jody was returned to his family in Louisiana, but Gary, who was 38 at the time, was struggling with reports that Doucet had sexually assaulted his son. In an interview with a news television crew, Gary said that he did not know what to do and just felt helpless.
Doucet's killing by Plauche
On Friday, March 16, 1984, Doucet was flown back from California to Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, also known as Ryan Field, to face trial. Doucet arrived and was led in handcuffs by police officers through the airport at around 9:30 p.m., where Plauche was waiting for Doucet with a gun.
Plauche was friends with several high-ranking police officers in the Baton Rouge Police Department; while many people believed that these contacts told Plauche where and when Doucet would be arriving, it was actually an employee of the TV news station WBRZ-TV who gave Plauche the information. A news television crew was also waiting for Doucet and had set up their cameras to record his arrival. Opposite the news crew was a bank of pay telephones, where Plauche waited while talking to his best friend on a telephone. He wore a baseball cap and sunglasses, so no one recognized him.
As Doucet was escorted through the airport, he passed the television crew who were taping the scene. He then walked past Plauche, who took out his gun and fired a single shot, directly at the right side of Doucet's head, at point-blank range. Doucet immediately fell to the floor, and Plauche placed the gun down before officers restrained him.
The entire incident was captured on videotape. Officers grabbed hold of Plauche and recognized who he was at once. They kept him pinned against the bank of telephones, asking him as captured on camera, "Gary, why? Why, Gary?"
Doucet died the next day.
Plauche was initially charged with second-degree murder but agreed to a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years suspended, with five years probation and 300 hours of community service, which he completed in 1989.
Psychological reports helped Plauche's case after it was learned that Doucet had abused Jody Plauche months prior to the kidnapping. Dr. Edward P. Uzee examined Plauche and determined that he could not tell the difference between right and wrong when he killed Doucet. A voice inside Plauche's head was telling him that he had to kill Doucet or he would continue to abuse and harm his son. Uzee also determined that Doucet had the ability to manipulate others and took advantage of the fact that Plauche was separated from his wife June at the time, and had managed to wedge his way into the Plauche family. Judge Frank Saia ruled that sending Plauche to prison would not help anyone, and that there was virtually no risk of him committing another crime.
The video of Plauche killing Doucet has been featured on many shock television programs and documentaries. It most famously appeared in the 2002 Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine and the 1993 shockumentary Traces of Death. The footage has also been uploaded to YouTube, where the video has received more than 19 million views. The video featured on YouTube was taken from the television series, Anatomy of Crime, which aired in 2000 on Court TV and was produced by John Langley, the creator of COPS.
Gary Plauche was reported to defend and stand by his actions.
Plauche suffered a stroke in 2011 and died in 2014 aged 68 at a nursing home after another stroke.