99-year term upheld for man convicted of molesting infant

Published 9:59 am Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the 99-year sentence of a Vernon Parish man convicted in 2020 of molesting an infant.

Kyle Dewayne Forester was arrested in 2019 and charged with one count of molestation of a juvenile under the age of 13. Court records indicate the victim was less than 3 months old at the time of the offense.

On Jan. 7, 2020, Forester pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced on Sept. 29, 2020, by Judge Tony A. Bennett, who said during sentencing he found the details of Forester’s case “sickening.”

“You, sir, are a demented, evil person,” Bennett said before handing down the maximum possible sentence.

Forester filed an appeal with Louisiana’s 3rd Circuit Court on the grounds that his original attorney was not available during the sentencing held via zoom, and that another attorney had stood in for his attorney during the sentencing procedures.

Based upon that appeal, the appellate court affirmed Forester’s conviction, but ordered a new sentencing to be held.

In Feb 2022, Forester appeared with his attorney before Bennett who again sentenced Forester to the maximum sentence of 99 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

Forester filed yet another appeal claiming the sentence was excessive, but this month the 3rd Circuit Court opined the sentence was just.

Vernon Parish District Attorney Terry Lambright expressed his appreciation for both the appellate court and Judge Bennett.

“I believe this is a just sentence. This defendant committed a very serious offense and the judicial system worked. Individuals who harm children should face severe penalties. I am very pleased that Judge Bennett viewed this case as seriously as I did in handing down this maximum sentence,” Lambright said.