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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Widow Says Deputy Beat Husband to Death

BATON ROUGE (CN) - A widow says a sheriff's deputy beat her husband to death during a traffic stop. Michelle Stogner says Livingston Parish sheriff's Deputy Chris Sturdivant fractured the hyoid bone in her husband's throat, apparently in the mistaken belief that he was holding illegal drugs. Stogner says her husband was holding his prescription medicine.

The incident began at 4:20 a.m. on July 5, 2009, when Sturdivant pulled over Donel Stogner for a moving violation. The widow says her husband tried to swallow his prescription medicine while Sturdivant was questioning him, and Sturdivant put him in a chokehold to stop him from swallowing.

She says Sturdivant fractured her husband's hyoid bone, blocking his windpipe. She says Sturdivant also kicked and punched her husband, who fell to the ground unconscious.

Three more deputies arrived and assaulted her unresponsive husband, she says. Only after the officers handcuffed him did they realize he was not breathing. And even then, they failed to quickly administer CPR, she says.

She claims that within hours of her husband's death, Livingston Parish sheriff's Officer Jason Ard "released a statement to local news media outlets meant to justify the torture of Mr. Stogner at the hands of defendant Sturdivant while falsely portraying Mr. Stogner as a drug-dealing thug."

Since her husband was killed, the widow says, "Livingston Parish Sheriff's deputies have been harassing plaintiff by trespassing on her property almost every night of the week."

"Plaintiff and her neighbors have lodged numerous complaints with Livingston Parish Sheriff's Officer Jason Ard and Stan Carpenter about the trespasses. At the time of filing of this Complaint, on information and belief, Livingston Parish Sheriff's officers continue to trespass upon plaintiff's property each night."

She seeks damages for torture, battery, excessive force, negligence, emotional distress, and civil rights violations.

Michelle Stogner is represented by Peter "Q" John with O'Neal Legal of Baton Rouge.

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