A man who confessed to killing an 11-year-old girl who had approached his home to sell candy in 1990 is set to be released from prison in Louisiana. Phillip DeSelle, now 65, agreed to admit to the crime in a plea agreement that charged him only with kidnapping and manslaughter; the body of his victim, Averie Grace Evans of Natchitoches, was never found.
DeSelle was sentenced to 40 years in prison for manslaughter (and 10, running concurrently, for kidnapping) and became eligible for parole after a third of that time. According to the Shreveport Times, DeSelle was asked at his 2007 parole hearing why he had killed Evans and responded that "he was having a bad day and 'just snapped.' " His parole application was rejected at that time, but he's now being released on Jan. 22, Corrections Department Communications Director Pam Laborde confirmed:
His early release after 24 years served is a "result of diminution of sentence (applicable good time statutes)," Laborde said in an email to The Times.
Qualifying offenders have the ability to reduce their sentences by earning so-called good time credits in exchange for good behavior and participation in self-improvement programs. The Legislature changed the law in 1997, requiring violent offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentence. DeSelle was sentenced under the old law.
A 2000 AP article reported that DeSelle had served as director of an inmate veterans' organization that was involved in a literacy campaign. "That's the way it is here in prison. We kind of look after each other and help each other," he said. "With education, hopefully they will stay out there and won't come back in."