LaPlace, LA - The families of murdered St. John the Baptist Parish Deputies Brandon Nielson and Jeremy Triche were stunned to find out that one of the convicts in the officers' murder, Derrick Smith, has been released after only 4 years in prison for "good behavior." The good behavior status was despite police finding threats to law enforcement and their families in Derrick Smith's jail cell.
According to Lori Lyons with L'Observateur, Derrick Smith was released Saturday, to the custody of his grandmother, who lives in Oak Grove.
He was released on "good-time parole", with a warning from police that he should be approached with "extreme caution." Derrick Smith identifies as a Sovereign Citizen. The Sovereign Citizens group is an extremely violent, anti-government group that doesn't recognize most authority and is on the FBI's watch list.
The incident leading to the officers' murder occurred on August 16, 2012.
St John Deputy Michael Boyington was working a traffic detail around 4:00 AM. Deputy Boyington stopped a vehicle driven by Brian Smith. When the deputy asked for Smith's driver's license, he sped off and then shot Deputy Boyington four times as he pursued. The injured deputy was able to contact dispatchers and give them a description of the vehicle. Deputy Boyington survived the shooting.
St. John Deputies Jeremy Triche, Jason Triche, and Brandon Nielsen tracked the vehicle used in the shooting to a residence at Riverview Trailer Park where the suspects lived.
While the officers were talking with two of the suspects, another suspect opened fire on them with an AK-47. Deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche were murdered and Deputy Jason Triche was wounded, but survived.
Three of the suspects were shot in the gunfight.
Derrick Smith was originally charged with principal to attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty in May 2013 to a reduced accessory charge and was sentenced to five years. He also received an additional 12 years on the possession of a firearm charge.
St. John Sheriff Mike Trege is shocked that Smith could be released, as just last week they found a threat to law enforcement in his cell.
Smith wrote a rap in his cell, “5 years for fillin a cop full of lead, no evidence only he said she said. Looked at the DA with a smile on my face, now I’m sittin here waiting to catch my next murder case. Only gota do 5 so I’ll be straight. Goin home on parole but I’m leavin the state.”
He also previously wrote a letter to his brother which said, “I aint got nothing to live for any more, so I’m gona take everyone to hell with me. I found out where my old P.O. lives. I’m gona get his wife and kids, let him live in pain.”
Derrick Smith and his family have a history of moving around to different states in order to avoid law enforcement. Derrick's father, Terry, moved them around for ten years while he spent ten years raping a juvenile family member. Law enforcement officers in multiple states were thwarted by Terry moving the victim with him, leaving them unable to locate either.
Deputy Nielsen's widow, Daniell Nielsen Jenkins, said that she was shocked to learn of Derrick Smith's early release. She said:
"It came completely out of the blue. No one told us anything. No one asked us anything. What I don’t understand is, how can you release this guy when you know that he has made threats against law enforcement? Why is he eligible to be released on good behavior? That is not good behavior. None of us feel safe. People should be outraged..."
If you are wondering why a parole board would release this monster, the answer is: they didn't. The state's "good-time law" did. The state says that they were unable to deny Smith good-time credit, which resulted in his early released.
An official with Baton Rouge Probation and Parole said that Derrick Smith had these conditions for his parole: He cannot leave the state, must remain in his home between 9 PM and 6 AM, and must wear an electronic monitoring device.
No justice to be found here.