William Belniak, the man who, in 2011, shot a Louisiana State Trooper in the head after being pulled over on suspicion of DWI on Port Allen’s LA-1 northbound near Avenue G, was sentenced Monday to serve 28 years in prison.
On May 4, 2011, Belniak, 23, of Burlington, Conn., was pulled over in Port Allen by state trooper Kevin Biddy around 2:30 a.m. when Belniak began resisting arrest.
“Belniak fought (Biddy) on the side of the road,” said Colonel Richie Johnson of the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. “The trooper discharged his taser, Belniak was able to get away and get to the interior of his car and get a pistol.”
Johnson said Biddy was able to call for backup before Belniak fired a bullet, which grazed Biddy’s head but didn’t penetrate his skull. Two WBRSO deputies arrived on scene to find Belniak standing over Biddy with drawn weapon. The deputies responded by firing at Belniak, shooting him in the torso.
“(Belniak) was apprehended, sent to the hospital, patched him up and he was booked for attempted murder of a police officer. Which carries 20-50 years,” said Johnson.
Belniak was charged with attempted first-degree murder of a police officer, to which he originally pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on September 7, 2011.
Monday, Belniak changed his plea to guilty and 18th District Court Judge Robin Free sentenced him to 28 years in prison with no possibility of parole or probation.
“We asked for the maximum sentence. And we were prepared to pick a jury today, and he pled, which is something we can’t stop him from doing,” said Johnson.
Johnson said that he believes Belniak changed his plea to guilty because he thought that if he were found guilty in trial, the sentence would be harsher.
“We vehemently objected to that on the record,” Johnson said adding that he respects Judge Free’s decision, though he doesn’t agree fully. “It’s still 28 years – and he’s got to do it.”
Belniak was prepared to argue that he was drunk and incoherent at the time of the incident and therefore couldn’t be held accountable for his actions on the day of May 4, 2011.
Johnson said that prosecutor Tony Clayton argued that Belniak was, in fact, coherent – and even wrote a rap song about the incident at a later date.
“About six months after he was incarcerated, we were doing a shake down of the jail and we came across a rap song that (Belniak) wrote and he talked about he should’ve killed (trooper Biddy),” Johnson said.
Belniak was taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison Monday afternoon.