Seth Fontenot to serve 13 months

by Wynce Nolley

Seth Fontenot received a three-year sentence for his manslaughter conviction in the 2013 death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault but will serve a little more than a year in jail.

Photo by Robin May

Seth Fontenot was sentenced Wednesday to three years of hard labor with all but 13 months suspended.

He also was sentenced to two years of active, supervised probation for his manslaughter conviction in the 2013 death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault, which also injured two other teenagers.

Fifteenth Judicial District Judge Edward Rubin handed down the sentence after hearing from the victim’s family as well as a tear-laden statement from Fontenot himself.

“When I learned that I had taken a life I felt devastated,” Fontenot said in court. “I felt like a monster."

While Fontenot was initially charged with first-degree murder for the death of Rivault, a jury convicted him in March on the lesser charge of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated battery. Fontenot was facing up to 40 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and up to 10 years in prison on each of the aggravated battery charges.

Today’s sentencing concludes the high-profile murder trial — where prosecutors opted against the death penalty — that resulted from an early morning encounter on Feb. 10, 2013, between an armed Fontenot and three teens in a pickup truck.

The encounter ultimately ended with three shots fired as the teen-filled truck attempted to pull away from the curb outside Fontenot’s home that morning, ending in the death of 15-year-old Austin Rivault, a St. Thomas More freshman who was sitting in the vehicle’s back seat. The truck’s other two teen occupants, Cole Kelley and William Bellamy, were also struck by Fontenot’s bullets and survived.