ST. CHARLES PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Jerel Smith, 32, who was found guilty of second-degree murder and armed robbery in the January 2017 death of a Metairie man, was sentenced Thursday by District Judge M. Lauren Lemmon.
The judge sentenced Smith to life in prison for the second-degree murder of Ryan Dubuc and 99 years for the armed robbery of Dubuc. The judge imposed an additional five-year sentence because the weapon used in the armed robbery was a firearm. Those sentences will be served at hard labor. The additional five-year sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to the 99-year sentence. The sentence imposed on the armed robbery is the maximum allowed by law.
In January 2017, Dubuc left his home around 5:30 a.m. and headed to his job at Cornerstone in Jefferson Parish, where he worked as a contractor. Dubuc stopped at Birdie's Food and Fuel in Luling, where Smith asked him for a ride. Dubuc agreed, and the two drove off.
After the vehicle left the business, deputies said Dubuc was robbed, carjacked and killed. His body was found on a side road near Hwy. 3160 in Hahnville. He had been shot multiple times.
The victim's two brothers provided emotional victim impact statements before sentencing, despite being interrupted more than once by outbursts from Smith.
Ryan Dubuc's mother provided the final victim impact statement, in which she tearfully spoke of the pain of losing her eldest child.
"A friend of the Dubuc family said it best in one of the more than 40 letters submitted to the court in advance of today's sentencing," said District Attorney Joel T. Chaisson II. "Jerel Smith 'obliterated the heart of the Dubuc family' when he senselessly and selfishly murdered Ryan Dubuc, who was trying to help him. Nothing can bring Ryan back, but it is my hope that his family will gain some peace in knowing that Jerel Smith will spend the rest of his life in prison."