Convicted killer recaptured after being set free following 6-year sentencing delay
ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Authorities said a convicted killer, who was set free after never being formally sentenced for his crime in Ascension Parish, was recaptured on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Michael Leblanc, 41, was taken into custody in a New Orleans hotel room by the U.S. Marshal’s Office Fugitive Task Force, according to authorities.
LeBlanc was convicted of second-degree murder in 2017, a conviction that comes with a mandatory life sentence. He was convicted of murdering 37-year-old Adoriji Wilson, who was sitting on his front porch at the time. The sheriff back then believed the murder was a hit.
Despite LeBlanc being convicted of murder, he was never brought back to court to be formally “sentenced” for that charge in Ascension Parish, District Attorney Ricky Babin confirmed to WAFB.
The sentencing portion of LeBlanc’s murder case has hit a number of delays and continuances since 2017, tied to COVID-19 and the death of his original defense attorney.
Therefore, when he finished serving time for an unrelated gun possession charge, he was set free from the Riverbend Detention Center, which houses Madison Parish’s pretrial detainees.
A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections said LeBlanc was discharged from the center on November 30, 2022, instead of being sent to prison in Ascension Parish for his murder sentencing.
“The Louisiana Parole Board has issued a warrant for the arrest of Michael LeBlanc, as he failed to report to Probation and Parole within 48 hours of his full discharge from the local level physical custody as outlined in the conditions of his release from Department of Corrections in May 2022,” said Ken Pastorick, Communications Director for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
According to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, a resident notified a deputy that Leblanc was potentially spotted in Donaldsonville. Following that notification, authorities contacted DOC officials and learned of Leblanc’s release.
“This thing spans through several agencies, and there are way more questions than answers,” said Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre. The thing that’s important to me and to our deputies and our detectives is that if Michael LeBlanc is in Donaldsonville, he needs to be picked up and he needs to be put back in jail.”
Sheriff Webre said Leblanc is a violent offender and was believed to be dangerous.
District Attorney Ricky Babin with the 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office told WAFB this mistake is solely on the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Babin said a ‘detainer’ had been placed on LeBlanc to not be released, pending his sentencing on his murder conviction.
”If he has a detainer they shouldn’t release him, they should send him back to the parish prison in which he’s detained,” said Babin. “He wasn’t sentenced yet, but there’s no delay on us, there’s nothing for us to do. All I have to do is put the sentence on the docket, the sentence is automatic life in prison without parole. I don’t have to have a sentencing hearing to convince a judge how many years to sentence him, it’s an automatic legal sentence.”
Babin called LeBlanc’s release frustrating and was hopeful deputies would catch him.
“It’s extremely frustrating and what’s also frustrating is this guy is dangerous. He needs to be captured and put up real quick. This is mind-blowing, it really is mind-blowing,” explained Babin.
Officials with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections are putting the blame elsewhere, and sent the following statement Tuesday evening:
Below is a list of some of LeBlanc’s alleged criminal history as provided by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office:
- 2013 - Arrest on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
- 2014 - Arrests on charges of second-degree murder, illegal use of weapons, felony cruelty to animals, felony second-degree battery, and simple battery
- 2015 - Arrest on a charge of second-degree battery (while in custody)
- 2017 - Arrest on a charge of second-degree battery (while in custody)
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