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Deputy who criticized law enforcement in Nanette Krentel death illegally arrested, judge rules; appeal expected

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WVUE) - A federal judge ruled that deputies illegally arrested a man who criticized the sheriff’s office investigation into a high-profile homicide.

The attorney for former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Rogers calls the ruling a major victory.

rogers wins legal round
rogers wins legal round(rob masson)

Rogers sued the sheriff’s office for alleged criminal defamation after he was arrested for criticizing the sheriff and his handling of the Nannette Krentel murder case.

Krentel was killed by a gunshot to the head in July 2017. Her body was found in the charred remains of her home. Her husband, Stephen, was the fire chief at the time. The case has not been solved.

The aftermath of a fire that destroyed the home of then-St. Tammany Parish fire official...
The aftermath of a fire that destroyed the home of then-St. Tammany Parish fire official Stephen Krentel and his wife, Nanette, north of Lacombe on July 14, 2017. The body of Nanette Krentel, who died of a gunshot wound, was found in the rubble.(NOLA.com-The Times-Picayune)
GF Default - Coroner rules Nanette Krentel's death a homicide; sheriff may dispute findings
GF Default - Coroner rules Nanette Krentel's death a homicide; sheriff may dispute findings

PREVIOUS STORY: Sheriff releases new details on Nanette Krentel homicide probe

Judge Jane Milazzo ruled that Rogers was illegally arrested for his comments, setting the stage for trial this December.

“If defendants don’t appeal this decision, it will go to trial in December and the defendant will be able to find out how much damages he is entitled to his compensation for the violation of his civil rights,” said Rogers’ attorney William Most.

St. Tammany Sheriff’s Attorney Chadwick Collings said in a statement, “We believe the court mis-appreciated the law. The decision that was made to investigate and ultimately arrest Mr. Rogers was never about Sheriff Randy Smith, it was about defending the integrity of a homicide investigation.”

The investigation continues with no arrests so far. The sheriff’s office has indicated it will appeal.

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