Man resentenced for shooting officer in face

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

VIDALIA — Former Concordia Parish Deputy Jim Boyd knows the man who shot him in the face 10 years ago is walking free.

He just doesn’t want to accept it.

At 5 a.m. July 3, 1998, the then 18-year-old Elby Merck and 19-year-old Jeremy Passman, both of Monterey, allegedly shot Boyd in the face when he opened the door of his home. He received .22-caliber rounds to the jaw, neck and hand in the assault.

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Officials at the time described the attack as an act of retaliation. Boyd had reportedly arrested Merck in March 1998.

Merck admitted his guilt in court to charges of attempted first-degree murder of a police officer in 1999.

He was sentenced to 35 years in prison by Judge Leo Boothe.

On Dec. 22, 2008, however, Boothe re-sentenced Merck to 10 years in the department of corrections with credit for time served.

Because Merck had already served 10 years, he was set free at the end of 2008.

The original sentence would have required Merck to serve 85 percent of the sentence — approximately 30 years — before he would be considered for parole.

“I don’t appreciate them letting him out at all,” Boyd said.

“(Merck) served 10-and-a-half years and he’s not even on probation. I think that is a slap in every policeman’s face.”

Merck was denied a similar motion for a new sentence in 2003.

Boothe declined to comment on the ruling, other than to say he had reviewed Merck’s prison record prior to making the decision.

“(Merck) had an exemplary record,” Boothe said.

The court minutes state that the new sentence was imposed “under the constitutional mandate forbidding cruel, excessive or unusual punishment.”

Boyd had not signed up for the victim notification program, and so he first found out Merck was out of prison from word on the street.

“Someone told (my son) he saw (Merck) was out, and that is how I found out,” he said.

The assault left Boyd, who is currently employed by the LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office, with several physical ailments.

His left hand was shot straight through and has never regained its strength.

“My hand stays cold all the time and my thumb hurts all the time,” Boyd said.

He also lost all of his bottom teeth, and to this day his tongue remains tender from where it had to be sewed back together and have skin grafts following the shooting.

Since learning of Merck’s release, Boyd said he keeps a watchful eye when he is out in public.

It is hard to feel safe at home following an attack like the one he suffered, Boyd said.

“When you work, you expect to deal with things, but when you go home, that is your safe haven, that is where you are supposed to go to get away from things,” he said.

“That’s something no one should have to live with.”

Passman was sentenced to 20 years prison on charges of conspiracy to commit murder in February 2000, but he is currently free on parole.

Boyd said he spoke with the judge in favor of having Passman freed.

“I told the judge he was not the one who instigated it or the one who pulled the trigger,” Boyd said.

A 13-year-old reportedly accompanied Merck and Passman to Boyd’s residence, but was not prosecuted in the incident.