Four Plead Guilty In Bombing Of Sheriff
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ A former sheriff pleaded guilty with three other men today to planting a bomb Dec. 15 that nearly killed his political rival, Lafourche Sheriff Duffy Breaux.
Breaux nearly lost his left foot in the pipe bomb blast in the parking lot of the Thibodaux Civic Center. Daniel Leche, 62, a part-time deputy, also was injured.
Federal authorities had accused former Lafourche Parish Sheriff Cyrus ″Bobby″ Tardo, 58, of hiring a hit team made up of men with law enforcement backgrounds to kill Breaux. Breaux had wrested the sheriff’s office away from Tardo in a 1975 election and successfully defended it against a Tardo challenge in 1979.
Former Houma policeman Ralph J. Bergeron, 42, of Slaughter; John G. Tullier Jr., 23, of St. Amant; former Baton Rouge and New Orleans police officer Marshall K. McClendon, 42, and Tardo pleaded guilty to conspiracy, damaging a law enforcement vehicle and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Tardo also pleaded guilty to soliciting to commit a crime of violence.
Tardo faces up to 45 years in prison and $1 million in fines. The others face up to 35 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Sentencing was set for May All four men also faced two counts of attempted murder in Lafourche Parish.
But Bergeron, in a plea bargain under which he agreed be a government witness, will not be prosecuted on the murder charges, said U.S. District Judge Morey Sear. The three others said in court they made no plea agreements.
According to court papers, an informant told authorities McClendon placed the bomb in a brown paper bag next to Breaux’s car and detonated the device with a remote control transmitter as the 60-year-old sheriff approached the bag and kicked it.
On March 8, Sear ruled that McClendon was competent to stand trial, despite testimony from psychiatrists that McClendon suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam.