Braxton Moody IV charged with firing shots into Dr. Lee Leonard’s vehicle

by Leslie Turk

Local businessman with history of mental illness allegedly fired multiple shots into unoccupied vehicle of his ex-wife's longtime companion.

Braxton Moody IV
Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office

Both The Daily Advertiser and The Advocate this week reported that Braxton Moody IV, 66, was arrested for firing three shots into a Cadillac Escalade belonging to his ex-wife’s longtime companion, Dr. Lee Leonard.

According to The Advocate, Moody was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center Wednesday morning and today was charged with drive-by shooting assault and aggravated criminal damage to property. The alleged incident occurred around 11 p.m. July 22.

The 6-foot, 275-pound Moody, a member of the prominent Moody family of Lafayette, has a long history of mental illness. He was arrested in Baton Rouge Monday while trying to board a plane, according to the two papers. A warrant had been issued for his arrest by the Lafayette Police Department.

The vehicle was unoccupied and parked at a home in the 100 block of Oak Water Drive when Moody allegedly fired the shots.

District Attorney Keith Stutes, who could not be reached for comment this morning, filed a motion to hold Moody without bail, according to The Advocate. Stutes told the paper a hearing could be held Monday.

Leonard’s attorney, Tommy Guilbeau, told the papers his client had a restraining order against Moody. “How did he get a gun?” the attorney wondered to the Advertiser.

Guilbeau told The Advocate police seized a 9mm handgun and a 20-gauge shotgun loaded with buckshot found in Moody’s Land Rover, which was in the airport parking lot.

Cpl. Paul Mouton, a spokesman for the Lafayette Police Department, did not know whether the guns belong to Moody and were purchased legally. "The Lafayette Police Department has not taken possession of any weapons in this case," he tells The Independent via email. "The suspect’s vehicle was searched by the Airport Police."

A message was left Friday morning with the spokesman for Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport's airport police.

The Advertiser reported that Moody spent time in 2013 at Oceans Behavioral Hospital in Broussard, described on its website as a secured facility for geriatric patients “who require inpatient hospitalization for psychiatric illness” and that the hospital sent a letter on Jan. 9, 2013, warning Leonard of threats Moody made against him.

The Moody family owns Louisiana State Newspapers and has numerous other investments. The B.I. III Moody College of Business Administration is named for Braxton Moody IV’s father.

This is not the first time Braxton Moody IV has faced a gun charge in a bizarre incident. In February 2011, he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for an incident that allegedly occurred in Destin, Fla., where his family owned a condominium. According to Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office reports obtained by The Independent, on Dec. 28, 2010, Moody allegedly pointed a hunting rifle at a man he thought was trying to kill him. Moody told police he (Moody) was in the middle of an FBI probe involving his father and other people, including a “Cuban national” he believed to be Lafayette oilman Mike Moreno.

In the category of "you can't make this stuff up," Moody told police he believed Moreno had put a contract out on him.

According to police reports, when Deputy Sheriff Michael Evans spoke to Moody later on the day of the alleged incident, Moody told Evans he was in Miami for a “meeting with special agent Justin Akers.” When Evans asked Moody for a phone number to verify his story, Moody hung up on him and would not return Evans’ phone calls or messages.

The alleged victim in the case, Roderick Rogers, was a maintenance worker at the condominium complex. Rogers shared the following text messages he received from Moody on the day of the alleged incident:

The Independent left a voice message early Wednesday afternoon with Okaloosa County State Attorney William “Bill” Eddins’ office seeking comment on the outcome of that case.