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Louisiana Mom Guilty In Walmart Parking Lot Murder Of Husband During Custody Exchange

Kayla Giles, who fatally shot her estranged partner Thomas Coutee Jr. during a custody exchange of their 2-year-old child outside a Walmart in Alexandria, Louisiana, was found guilty of second degree murder. 


By Dorian Geiger
Louisiana Mom Guilty In Husband’s 2018 Walmart Killing

A Louisiana mother, who fatally shot her estranged husband during a custody exchange of their 2-year-old child in a Walmart parking lot has been found guilty. 

Kayla Giles, 35, was convicted on second-degree murder and obstruction of justice charges related to the murder of her husband, Thomas Coutee Jr.

“Today, justice was served to Kayla Giles by a jury of her peers in Rapides Parish,” Attorney General Jeff Landry told Oxygen.com in a statement. “I pray her conviction provides some healing and closure to the victim’s family.”

Giles, whose legal team had claimed she shot Coutee in an act of self-defense, was described by prosecutors during the trial as “cold” and “calculating,” Alexandria news outlet, the Town Talk, reported.

“You see the real Kayla,” Assistant Attorney General Brooke Harris said during the trial proceedings, according to KALB-TV. “Not the woman whose got her head down, with no emotion, scribbling on a piece of paper for the past nine days.”

Prosecutors, who painted Giles as a chronic domestic abuser, described her slain spouse as “a man sick and tired of abuse.”

Thomas Coutee Jr Facebook

On Sept. 8, Alexandria police officers were dispatched to the Walmart parking lot at 6225 Coliseum Boulevard after reports of a shooting.

Upon arrival, authorities found Coutee suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest, according to a police report obtained by Oxygen.com. He was later pronounced dead by first responders on-scene.

Giles, who was with three small children at the scene, told investigators she opened fire on Coutee because had “scared” her. 

A .380 caliber pistol was seized by detectives during the processing of the scene. 

Coutee’s parents later told law enforcement that the couple were legally married but were in the midst of divorce proceedings and a custody battle over their 2-year-old child. 

The family had been planning a birthday party for the young child at Chuck E Cheese on the day of the shooting. 

Police records revealed that Coutee had made several domestic violence reports against his estranged wife with local police, as well as the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office. A month prior to Coutee’s death, Giles was accused of punching her husband, giving him a black eye, during a similar custody exchange in a parking lot. Coutee also reported Giles to local police days before the shooting for allegedly stealing $5,200 from his banking account, charging documents state.

Giles was indicted on second-degree murder and obstruction of justice charges in Aug. 2019, according to a copy of the indictment, which Oxygen.com obtained. The obstruction of justice charges stemmed from Giles attempt to delete incriminating evidence from her computer. She was also charged with a warrant for domestic abuse battery and theft from earlier incidents involving Coutee. 

Giles sentencing has been scheduled for March 28, according to the Rapides Parish Clerk of Court.

She faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison on her murder charge, as well as imprisonment for not more than 40 years, including a fine no more than $100,000, or both, related to the obstruction of justice charge.

Giles defense attorney, George Higgins III, wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by Oxygen.com.