Gaetz friend says lighter sentence deserved for cooperation
LOUISIANA — A friend of a Louisiana woman who pleaded guilty in March to murdering an off-duty Baton Rouge police officer said Wednesday he expects a lesser sentence than what she was given last week.
The state Public Defender’s Office filed a motion seeking to have the sentences of 38-year-old Jody Sparks and her co-defendant, 37-year-old Robert Proulx Jr., reduced to seven years each in the maximum-security Angola Prison.
Sparks was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years and Proulx was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison in addition to probation.
Sparks and Proulx were accused of first-degree murder in the Nov. 26, 2008, shooting of Officer Mark L. Smith. Smith was off-duty when he was killed, but was responding to a disturbance call at a convenience store at the intersection of North Main and North Rampart streets.
Proulx was charged with the same crime. Earlier this week, a judge granted Sparks’s request for the 10-year sentence to be served concurrently with her three-year sentence.
“I don’t know Jody anymore, I really don’t,” said Richard Voorhees, 67, Sparks’s former boyfriend and the person who made the plea on her behalf. “I got to tell you, everything I told her I am telling is a lie.”
Sparks had told police that Proulx killed Smith in a drug deal gone bad. She said she shot Smith three times to buy his life, and that Proulx is the real killer. But police never had enough to charge him, and prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
Voorhees said he did not want his friend to be charged with murder.
“I want her not to do it — but I don’t want to put my family through it, either,” Voorhees said.
Voorhees said he talked to Sparks about her guilty plea last week. He said he has been with Sparks since they were 14 years old, and that Sparks is a good person.
“I love her. I forgive her,” Voorhees said. “I know what she did was wrong. I know what she did was wrong. I know