, Port Arthur, Texas

March 15, 2013

Nero sentenced to life in prison

Mary Meaux
Port Arthur News

— John Wesley Nero, capital murder suspect in the death of Beaumont Police Officer Bryan Hebert, received a life sentence without the chance of parole on Thursday.

Nero, 32, appeared  in Judge John Stevens courtroom where he indicated he wanted to plea no contest to the charge and signed a judicial confession in return for the offer of life in prison without parole, Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Ed Shettle said.

“The most important thing for the District Attorney’s office is if the family of Officer Bryan Hebert is content with it (sentence) and I believe them to be under such circumstances,” Shettle said. The fact is they lost a son and a brother. I think they’re at peace with it, that was the main concern of the prosecution.”

Officer Hebert, who grew up in Groves

 died after a vehicle fleeing police struck his patrol unit in the 4000 block of Dowlen Road on July 8, 2011. Hebert was at the back of his patrol unit and about to deploy a stop stick to stop the fleeing vehicle when the vehicle struck the police car head-on. The collision knocked the patrol car into Hebert who was still standing behind it.

Earlier that afternoon, police responded to a call of a man assaulting his mother and grandmother in the 5900 block of Chisolm Trail in Beaumont.

Officers were pursuing the suspect, who was driving a 2008 maroon Dodge Nitro, when the incident occurred.

The 100 Club of Southeast Texas provided immediate response to the Hebert family and continues contact and emotional support to his parents and sister, according to a press release.

“The club members realize that money can't make up for the loss of a loved one, but representatives of the 100 Club of Southeast Texas visit with family members within 48 hours of a tragedy,” according to the press release. “The purpose is to provide not only support and understanding, but a substantial contribution to the financial needs of families of our fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters in the Jefferson, Hardin and Orange County areas.”

And while the sentencing may bring closure to the people affected it does not lessen the fact that the lives of two families have been forever torn apart.

“John Wesley Nero shattered two families lives’, his family and of course the Hebert’s,” Sheffield said. “The whole thing is tragic.”

Beaumont defense attorneys C. Haden “Sonny” Cribbs and James Makin, both certified to handle death penalty cases such as capital murder, represented Nero.

“The whole thing is a tragic situation,” Cribbs said via phone. “Both to the family of the police officer Mr. Hebert and to John Wesley Nero’s family too. We don’t have a winner.”


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