Let’s put a stop to career criminals

Eunice Marie Dupre
August 26, 2008
Stephen Michael Eschete
August 28, 2008

Deputy Martha Woods Shareef, a 15-year veteran with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, died last week at the hands of what police say is a career criminal. If convicted, Billy Daigle, 41, of 179 Brien Street in Houma will could receive the death penalty.

The accusation that a career criminal killed Deputy Shareef leaves many wondering, “Could her death have been prevented?”

Houma Police carried out a search warrant Friday and found seven people in possession of what they believed to be narcotics. The homeowner and a juvenile in the home were put into custody, while five others were set free with summonses.

Police say the five were not arrested “due to jail overcrowding.”

Could one of those released commit a crime such as the one in which Daigle is accused?

Daigle’s criminal record is tainted with words like “first-degree murder,” “negligent homicide” and “attempted first-degree murder,” yet he was free last Wednesday to roam the streets – the day Deputy Shareef was murdered.

According to police records, Daigle was arrested 22 times and served limited prison sentences. His most recent sentence ended June 26.

In California, three convictions can put a criminal in jail for life – but in Louisiana crimes appear to be punishable by the number of available jail cells.

It is time we take crime seriously and devote the resources necessary to make sure criminals stay off the streets. Many victims – sons and daughter, mothers and fathers – might be alive today if career criminals were taken off the streets.

At least that is the case with one special Lafourche Parish deputy, and we won’t forget.