A man accused of killing five people, including his parents, in Louisiana before fleeing to Virginia wanted to tell his family that he was sorry, his court-appointed attorney reportedly said Friday.
"He basically wanted to say 'I love you, I'm sorry,'" said Steve Barnette, Dakota Theriot's attorney, according to the Associated Press. The message was meant for his grandmother and two aunts, he said.
"He knows he's probably never going to see the outside of a jail again," Barnette said.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
A sheriff in Louisiana has said Theriot confessed to killing his parents, a 20-year-old woman, her father and her brother in Ascension and Livingston parishes Saturday morning. The Livingston Parish sheriff said Theriot used a handgun stolen from his father.
Theriot was arrested Sunday morning outside his grandmother's home in Richmond County, Virginia, according to law enforcement.
The grandmother was concerned Theriot, who was the subject of a manhunt, might be headed her way and called the sheriff's office, said Richmond County Sheriff Stephan Smith. Deputies were at her home when Theriot arrived, authorities said.
Theriot allegedly killed Summer Ernest, 20; her father, Billy Ernest, 43; and her brother Tanner Ernest, 17; in Livingston Parish before traveling to Gonzales in Ascension Parish, where he allegedly shot his parents, Keith and Elizabeth Theriot. Before Keith Theriot died, he told deputies "that it was his son that committed this act," the local sheriff said.
Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said this week that Theriot confessed to the killings and that the three victims in the Ernest home were each shot once in the head. A motive was unclear, said Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre.
Ard said Theriot had been living with the Ernest family for a couple of weeks before the killings, and that investigators believed he had been kicked out of his parents' home. Authorities had said they believed Summer Ernest was Theriot's girlfriend, but her family has denied they were dating.
"She had just recently had met him. It wasn't this love thing," said Crystal DeYoung, Summer's aunt. "Something was desperately wrong with this boy," she said.
Barnette said Theriot told him that he had recently tried to join the U.S. Army but had a falling out with the service during the recruitment process, according to the Associated Press.
"He knows he could face the death penalty," Barnette said. "I think he's resigned and understands his fate."