UPDATE 3/17/2021 10:12AM- Phillip Dewoody , 54, was sentenced Tuesday at the St. Landy Parish Courthouse to 3 consecutive life sentences. Dewoody plead guilty to crimes of First Degree Murder of Joyce Thomas, and Aggravated Kidnapping/ Rape of a separate victim. All three life sentences will run consecutively. " Finally justice was delivered for these two victims and their families," District AttorneyChad Pitre said.
UPDATE November 18, 2020: A True Bill (indictment) was filed against Phillip DeWoody, 53, Kerr Street, Opelousas LA, for the
first degree murder of Joyce Thomas, on or about February 26, 2020.
A True Bill (indictment) was filed against Phillip DeWoody, 53, Kerr Street, Opelousas LA, for first degree rape and aggravated kidnapping , on or about February22, 2020.
A first degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, or the death penalty.
A first degree rape conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, and/or the death penalty when the victim is under the age of thirteen (13). An aggravated kidnapping
conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
An indictment (True Bill) is a formal charge by a Grand Jury for the crimes indicated. A Grand Jury consists of twelve residents, with two alternates, who are empanelled by the 27th
Judicial District Court. By Louisiana law, the DA's office is prohibited from commenting on the evidence presented to the Grand Jury. Specifically Code of Criminal Procedure Article 434, requires that “...members of the grand jury, and all other persons having confidential access to information concerning grand jury proceedings, shall keep secret the testimony of witnesses and all other
matters occurring at, or directly connected with, a meeting of the grand jury...” For this reason there is never a discussion about the evidence upon which the Grand Jury based it findings.
Accused killer Phillip Dewoody is now in St. Landry Parish Jail where he will face charges of first degree rape and murder in connection with the killing of Joyce Thomas. Thomas went missing from her Ville Platte home on February 26th. On March 2nd her body was discovered in a field just off of I-49 between Sunset and Opelousas. Dewoody was arrested in connection with Thomas' disapperance and later charged in her death. Dewoody was transferred to St. Landry from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center where he will be held with no bond.