WARSAW, Va. (AP) — A man charged with killing five people in Louisiana and fleeing to Virginia was being flown back home after waiving extradition on Friday.
Authorities said Dakota Theriot confessed and could face the death penalty on five murder charges. They said he shot and killed his girlfriend along with her brother and father, then shot his parents.
Theriot, 21, showed little emotion in first court appearance, offering polite yes and no responses to the judge. He appeared chained in a blue jail jumpsuit. A deputy kept a hand on the chain throughout the hearing.
Theriot was arrested Sunday outside his grandmother’s house in Warsaw after his grandmother, fearing he would come, alerted police and checked into a hotel.
Richmond County Sheriff Stephan Smith said after the hearing that a plane was already on its way to take Theriot back to Louisiana.
The hearing offer no new information on what might have motivated the killings.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard has said Theriot was cooperating with investigators who had traveled to Virginia. Ard said Theriot provided a lot of information about how the killings unfolded , but investigators still haven’t determined exactly why.
“We don’t really know what the motive is. We just know what he did,” Ard said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Authorities said Theriot had been taken in by his girlfriend’s family a few weeks earlier after he was kicked out of his own house. Summer Ernest, 20, had been dating Theriot for only a couple of weeks.
Ard said he told investigators that he used a gun he stole from his father to kill her. The other victims were identified as her father, Billy Ernest, 43; brother, Tanner Ernest, 17; and his parents, Keith Theriot and Elizabeth Theriot, both 50.
The sheriff said that just a short time before the shootings, Theriot had tagged along with Billy Ernest as he drove his wife to work early Saturday morning.
Summer Ernest and her father and brother were each shot once in the head, Ard said. Two children were in the Ernest home in Livingston Parish — a 7-year-old and a 1-year-old — Ard said. They went to a neighbor’s house and the neighbor called law enforcement.
Keith Theriot survived long enough to call 911. When deputies arrived he told them, just before he died, that his son had shot him, authorities said.
Theriot’s grandmother checked into a hotel Saturday night in Virginia, and asked authorities to check her house Sunday morning to ensure it was safe before she returned.
Deputies were there when Theriot drove up in Billy Ernest’s pickup truck, a firearm pointed out the window. A sheriff’s statement said deputies sought cover and challenged Theriot, who then dropped the gun and was arrested without incident.
People who lived with Keith and Elizabeth Theriot said their son had struggled with drugs and had violent outbursts. His relationship with Summer Ernest also raised red flags with her family and friends.
Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre has said he would not oppose the death penalty if prosecutors ask for it.
“We know what happened here,” Webre said. “He killed five people. So, this is a monster.”