Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Vincent D. Roberson, of Monroe, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years of hard labor plus $5,000 and court costs for killing Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department K-9 officer Sgt. Boco.
About 15 LPSO deputies stood in the back of the courtroom as 3rd Judicial District Judge Jeff Robinson handed down the sentence on the aggravated cruelty to animals charge.
“The victims were the deputies of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, one in specific was Boco, who was shot and killed in the line of duty,” Robinson said.
The judge said he found no mitigating factors in the case and believes if Roberson, who has a long criminal history, was given a suspended sentence or probation, he would commit another crime.
Roberson already faces an attempted second-degree murder charged in Ouachita Parish in connection with the incident that started the events leading to Boco’s death.
LPSO Chief Deputy Stephen Williams, who was among he deputies in the courtroom, said the sheriff’s office is pleased with the sentence.
“We are glad to know the situation is resolved,” Williams said. “We thank the community for all of its support.”
Though Roberson could have been charged with killing of a police animal, 3rd Judicial District Chief Felony Prosecutor Lewis Jones opted for the aggravated cruelty to animals charge because it carries a higher penalty.
The maximum penalty for killing a police animal is only three years of jail time.
“I never believed that was sufficient punishment for what this defendant did, so I charged him with aggravated cruelty to an animal which carries up to 10 years in prison,” Jones said after Tuesday’s sentencing.
“We are working to get the penalty provision of the specific statute changed to significantly increase the penalty. I am pleased that Judge Robinson saw fit to give this defendant the maximum sentence. I wish I could have had him punished more severely, but my hands were tied by the statute,” Jones said.
“This defendant has a history of stalking, aggravated assault with a firearm, and is awaiting trial for attempted murder. He is clearly a danger and I am pleased, with the assistance of all of the law enforcement officers involved in this case, that we were able to keep him away from the public for the maximum sentence allowed for this charge.”
Roberson offered a brief statement on his own behalf before Robinson handed down the sentence.
“I know everybody thinks I’m a bad person, but they don’t know how many dogs I got,” he said.
Roberson claimed to have five dogs and several horses.
During the pre-sentence investigation, Roberson told the judge he wanted a second chance so he could be with his grandchildren and go to church.
The manhunt that led to Boco’s death and Roberson’s eventual capture began on the morning of Aug. 17 at an apartment on Texas Avenue in Monroe where Roberson allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head.
Around 4 p.m. that day, Monroe police issued a bulletin to area law enforcement agencies asking them to be on the lookout for Roberson who was traveling in a 2001 white Chevy Silverado.
At the time, Roberson’s cellphone pinged three miles west of Choudrant on I-20. Shortly thereafter, LPSO received word Roberson was in the Chandler Road area.
At approximately 7:30 that evening, Roberson’s abandoned truck was found parked near a residence on Chandler Road.
As deputies approached Roberson, he ran into the woods behind the residence. That’s when Boco was sent in to aid in the search. Officers heard five to seven gunshots, after which there was no more contact with Boco.
Roberson was apprehended with no resistance as he approached Ruston Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Hwy. 80 around 2 o’clock the next morning.
Deputies continued their search for Boco. They found his body about 3:45 the same morning.