In 1984, Gary Plauché killed Jeffrey Doucet, a 25-year-old karate instructor who had kidnapped and raped his 11-year-old son, Jody. Considering the circumstances, the judge and jury showed leniency towards Plauché and he was given a seven-year suspended sentence with five years of probation and 300 hours of community service, and he ended up serving no time in jail.
The case was extremely controversial at the time, with many people arguing whether or not it was justifiable for Plauché to take matters into his own hands. Plauché and his son Jody lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On March 16th, 1984, Doucet was flown to Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport to prepare for his trial. Plauché was waiting for Doucet with a gun in the airport, after getting a tip from a local news reporter about the flight schedule.
Plauché was waiting in the airport terminal near television crews and speaking on a payphone as all of the reporters were waiting for the kidnapper to land. He was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses so no one would recognize him and prevent him from carrying out his mission.
As soon as Plauché saw Doucet, he took out his gun and fired a single shot, directly at the right side of Doucet’s head. In videos of the incident, Plauché can be seen firing the shot before he is restrained by officers who removed the gun from his hand and arrested him. Many of the police on the scene instantly recognized the shooter as the victim’s father and can be heard asking “Gary, why? Why, Gary?”
Doucet was taken to the hospital but died the next day from his injuries. Plauché was initially charged with second-degree murder, but agreed to a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest to manslaughter. He received a seven-year suspended sentence, with five years of probation and 300 hours of community service, which he completed in 1989. He ended up not spending any serious time in jail aside from his initial time served. Plauché's defense team argued that he had been driven to a temporarily psychotic state after learning of the abuse of his son.
In August 2019, Jody Plauché released his book "Why, Gary, Why?": The Jody Plauché Story, which details the case from his perspective. Gary Plauché suffered a stroke in 2011 and passed away in 2014 at a nursing home after another stroke, at the age of 68.
What do you think? Did Plauché do the right thing? Should he have spent time in prison?