It’s an old cliche: “no jury would convict him/her”. In the case of of Gary Plauché, it seems likely that no jury in his state of Louisiana would have.

Born Leon Gary Plauché in 1945, he led a fairly ordinary life: he served in the USAF, rising to Staff Sergeant. Later, he became an equipment salesman and a cameraman for a local news station.

But then, Gary Plauché’s life changed, in the worst possible way.

The series of events that would change Plauché’s life forever was set in motion on Feb. 19, 1984, when, his 12-year-old son Jody’s karate instructor picked him up to go for a ride. Jeff Doucet, a 25-year-old with a large beard, promised Jody’s mom, June Plauché, that they’d be back in 15 minutes.

June Plauché didn’t doubt Doucet: She had no reason to. He instructed three of their four children in karate, and was trusted in the community. Doucet enjoyed spending time with the boys, and they enjoyed spending time with him.

But, beneath his good-guy exterior, Jeff Doucet liked boys a little too much.

Little did she know that Doucet wasn’t taking Jody on a ride around the neighborhood. By nighttime, the two were on a bus heading to the West Coast. On the way, Doucet shaved his beard and dyed Jody’s blond hair to black. He hoped to pass Jody off as his own son while also hiding from law enforcement that would soon track them down.

Doucet and Jody checked into a cheap motel in Anaheim, California, just a short walk away from Disneyland. Inside the motel room, Doucet sexually assaulted his karate student. This went on until Jody asked to call his parents, which Doucet allowed. Police, alerted by Jody’s parents, traced the call and arrested Doucet while Jody was put on a flight back to Louisiana.

Like any father in such a horrific situation, Plauché wanted to “kill that S.O.B.”.

So he did.

Though his son had been found, Plauché remained on edge. He spent the next few days inside a local bar, The Cotton Club, asking people when they thought Doucet might be brought back to Baton Rouge for trial. A former colleague from WBRZ News, who happened to be out for a drink, told Plauché that the disgraced karate instructor would be flown in at 9:08.

Plauché drove to Baton Rouge Airport. He entered the arrivals hall wearing a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. His face hidden, he walked over to a payphone. As he made a quick call, a WBRZ news crew got their camera’s ready to record the caravan of cops that were escorting Doucet out of his plane. When they passed by, Plauché pulled a gun from his boot and shot Doucet in the head.

The bullet that Plauché shot through Doucet’s skull was caught on camera by the WBRZ crew. On YouTube, over 20 million people have watched how Doucet collapsed and how Barnett quickly tackled Plauché to the wall. “Why, Gary, why’d you do it?” the officer shouted at his friend as he disarmed him.

Jeez, Officer Obvious, why do you think?

“If somebody did it to your kid, you’d do it, too!” Plauché answered, in tears.

“I don’t want him to do it to other kids,” Plauché told his attorney.

While I suspect many of us would be cheering him on, the law is still the law. Plauché was charged with second-degree murder. His defense argued that he was not of sound mind at the time of the killing.

Sanders also argued Jody’s kidnapping had pushed his father into a “psychotic state,” in which he was no longer capable of distinguishing right from wrong.

The citizens of Baton Rouge didn’t agree. If you asked them, they said that Plauché was in his right mind when killing Doucet.

They also said that he was a hero.

“He’s a father who done it out of love for his child, and for his pride.” Like other neighbors, Murray Curry donated a bit of money to a defense fund set up to help Plauché pay back his $100,000 bail and keep his family afloat while fighting the trial.

The degree to which public opinion swayed in Plauché’s favor was overwhelming. So much so that when sentencing time came around, the judge decided against sending Plauché to jail. Doing so, he had said, would have been counterproductive. He felt certain that Plauché didn’t intend to harm anyone except the already dead Doucet.

Plauché walked away from his murder trial with five years probation and 300 hours of community service. Before he had completed both, Plauché was already back to living a relatively normal life under the radar. He died in 2014 from a stroke when he was in his late 60s.

All That’s Interesting

As for the real victim in these crimes, Jody Plauché overcame what happened to him. He wrote a book on his experiences, Why, Gary, Why?, “to help parents prevent their children from having to experience what he went through”. He enjoys cooking and occasionally posts Southern cooking videos to YouTube.

And his father is venerated as a hero.

The moment Gary Plauché dealt out rough justice to pedophile Jeff Doucet. The BFD.

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Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...