On December 10, 2021, Zoey was 18 years old, living on her own and surviving the only way that she knew. She was a prostitute. Unfortunately, she was also heavily addicted to Methamphetamine and Roxicodone. On that date Sean Khoury, who was 33 years old, solicited her services.

He met her at a motel in Sulphur, LA. They snorted Roxicodone together, that she provided, and unfortunately Mr. Khoury overdosed. Zoey Marie Bumgarden was arrested by the Sulphur Police Department for Second Degree Murder and several other charges. She has been incarcerated since that date because her mother could not afford her bond.

On the week of February 26, 2024, we spent four grueling days selecting twelve of Zoey’s peers and two alternates. We were fully prepared and had a very strong defense. The facts in this case were favorable for us. The jurors clearly did not like the Felony Murder statute utilized by the State. Unfortunately, in Louisiana if you provide someone with drugs that are the “direct cause” of their death you can be charged with murder. Even if they consume the drugs voluntarily and you have no intent to kill them.

On that Friday morning, shortly before Opening Statements were to commence, the Assistant District Attorney contacted us with an offer that was too good to refuse. Zoey pled guilty to one count of Manslaughter and one count of Distribution of Roxicodone. The three remaining felony charges were dismissed. She was sentenced by Judge David A. Ritchie to five and a half years at hard labor and she received credit for the time that she has served. We expect Zoey to be released from custody in June.

Zoey did not kill anyone. We fundamentally believe that the evidence at trial would have established that. However, the possibility of a life sentence, no matter how remote, had to be eliminated.

Zoey is very remorseful for Sean Khoury’s death and any involvement she may have had in it. We are truly ecstatic for her and her mother Stacy. The nightmare, that lasted over three years, is over and Zoey can look forward to a much brighter future.