Leon Gary Plauché was born on November 10th, 1945, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He served in the Air force for a short time and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. After leaving the army, he worked as a cameraman for a local news station and he also worked as an equipment salesman. It seemed that Gary was just an average dad living a normal life with his wife, June, and their four children. All of this would change on February 19th, 1984.
Not much is known about Jeff Doucet’s personal life, he was born in Port Arthur Texas, in 1959, and by his own admission, he was sexually abused as a child. Jeff would eventually go on to carry out this same kind of abuse, things escalated to a point where he could no longer remember the number of his victims.
Jeff eventually moved to Baton Rouge, where he became a karate instructor. Jeff was twenty four and living in the karate studio when he met Jody Plauche, in early 1983. Jeff was loved by all of his students, he took them on trips often, either to the movies, or the skating rink.
Around this time Gary and June had divorced and so Jody and his brother Mikey began to look up to Jeff and see him as an authoritative father figure, Jeff would go on to become good friends with Gary and was even invited to a family dinner, over time, Jeff would begin spending more and more time with Jody and the Plauches.
Jeff began inappropriately touching Jody as well as sleeping with him during karate trips in March, 1983, this eventually escalated to rape, according to Jody, after this occurred Jeff would sexually assault him almost every day, sometimes twice a day over the course of the following months.
February 19th, 1984, Jeff was about to go on trial for using bad checks when he stopped by the Plauche’s home and told Gary’s wife June that he was picking Jody up to run an errand and they’d be gone for about 15 minutes, June had no reason not to trust Jeff because no one was aware of the abuse that was occurring with Jody at the time. The following night Jeff and Jody were on a bus heading to California, along the way, Jeff had shaved his beard and dyed Jody’s hair from blonde to black in an attempt to pass him off as his own son and to better hide from law enforcement.
Once they arrived in Anaheim California, the two checked into a cheap motel a short distance away from Disneyland. The sexual abuse would continue until Februrary 29th, when Jody was allowed to call his parents, at which point the FBI were alerted and were able to trace the call and inform the California police.
June managed to keep the call going long enough for law enforcement to arrive and as she’s on the phone she hears a banging noise in the background, followed by the sound of the phone being dropped and a muffled: “This is the police, get against the wall now.” At which point the call is cut and Jeff is arrested without incident.
Jody returned home to his family in Baton Rouge on March 1st, 1984. Around this time, his father, Gary, began hearing reports that his son had been sexually assaulted by Jeff. Gary stated in an interview with a news crew that he felt a sense of helplessness when he heard these reports. Gary was glad to have his son back but he was still on edge and felt he had to take justice into his own hands.
He would spend the next few days at The Cotton Club, a local bar, asking if anyone knew when Jeff might be brought back for trial. A former Coworker from the news station where Gary had worked happened to be at the bar one night and told him that Jeff would be flown in at 9:08 am.
On March 16th, Jeff was being escorted through the airport in Baton Rouge by two deputies that happened to be long time friends with Gary, Mike Barnett, and Bud Connor. What they didn’t know was that Gary was waiting for them by the payphones, he went unrecognized due to the baseball cap and dark sunglasses he wore.
Court documents stated that Gary was on the phone with another friend by the name of Jim Adams, the call went as follows: “I see them coming. Oh no they took him a different way out. No, they’re coming and going to walk right past me.”
Since Gary had his back to the news crew he had to use the light from the cameras as a signal that Jeff was there. “When I see the light come on the camera, I’m going to shoot him. I’m pulling the gun out of my boot. You’re going to hear the shot.”
As Jeff passed directly in front of a Cameraman, Gary turned around and shot Jeff in the head. Due to the deputies being friends with Gary they didn’t fire on him, instead they ran over and restrained him, keeping him pinned against the wall as they took the gun from him, asking him “Gary, why? Why, Gary?” to which Gary responded “I had to do it. I had to do it. You know what he did to my son. If somebody did it to your kid, you’d do it too.”
He was then taken into custody and Jeff was taken to the hospital where he fell into a coma and died the following day. Gary’s wife June was later interviewed after the shooting to get her opinion on what Gary had done. Her response was “The least you could have done was let me drive you.”
Gary was charged with second-degree murder, but instead took a plea deal where he pleaded no contest to manslaughter. He was given a sentence of seven years’ suspended sentence which included five years of probation and 300 hours of community service, besides the initial jail time after his arrest, Gary never spent time in prison. It was determined that upon hearing the reports of sexual abuse, Gary was driven to a temporarily psychotic state in which he was unable to distinguish right from wrong and that a prison sentence would do more harm than good as there was no longer a risk of him committing another crime.
After the dust had settled, Gary was back to living a quiet life until he suffered a stroke in 2011, and another in 2014 at a nursing home where he passed away one month before his 69th birthday.
For a more in-depth look at the story, check out Jody’s book Why, Gary, Why.