Man who killed 1 cyclist, injured another is released after 14 months

Man who killed cyclist released after 14 months

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A man convicted of killing a cyclist and seriously injuring another in April of last year is now out of prison.

Howard Vidrine pleaded guilty to negligent homicide for killing Frank Guinn and injuring his brother-in-law Andrew Powell and was sentenced to serve five years in prison but was released after serving only about 14 months.

"I know there is a great push in our community to downsize the prison population in Louisiana, to build smaller jails, and I think this is an example of where it goes against the interest of criminal justice," Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.

The Department of Corrections says Vidrine earned 360 days of credit, known as good time, after he completed educational and rehabilitation programs in prison.

"Very mad and very frustrated and very disappointed," A.L. Guinn, the victim's father, said. "As you can well imagine, it really upset us just because after only 14 months, this guy was gonna get to go out and live his life."

FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti said, while it's understandable the family is upset, it's just the way the law works.

"This is not on the DA because he prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It's not on the judge because she gave a maximum sentence, which is sometimes rare in these cases, because sometimes people get probation in these cases," Raspanti said. "Negligent homicide cases are always the most difficult cases in the courthouse to do because you have someone who is dead, who isn't coming back. You have someone who did not mean to kill him and he wasn't drunk and no one is ever satisfied with it, but this is the law that we have. The DA did his job, the judge did her job, the Department of Corrections did their job. This is the way it is."

That still has Guinn's family wondering how the current procedures benefit victims seeking justice.

"If our system is to where a man can serve 14 months and then go on about living his life, then therefore our system is not correct," Guinn said.

Cannizzaro told FOX 8 he intends to address the current system before the state Legislature during the next session.

Vidrine is on supervised parole until April of 2019.

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