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Imprisoned man sues to practice satanic rites

GRETNA, La. -- A man charged with first-degree murder contends his constitutional rights are being denied because authorities are preventing him from conducting satanic rituals in his jail cell, his attorney said.

Charles Gervais, 24, of New Orleans filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court, lawyer Wayne Walker said.

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Gervais, arrested June 14, is jailed in the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, awaiting trial in the May 7 death of Andre Daigle, 24, of River Ridge.

Daigle's body was found sewn inside a sofa dumped in a swamp near the community of Manchac, investigators said. Two other people also are charged with murder in the death.

Investigators said they were given statements by Gervais, Michael Phillips and Thelma Horne that they killed Daigle to see whether they had the nerve to enter a life of crime.

The suit claims Jefferson Parish officials are denying his right to religious freedom because he is unable to practice satanism in his cell. The suit does not specify what type of ritual Gervais wants to perform. Walker said he does not know what rituals are at issue.

Gervais was arraigned on the murder charge earlier Wednesday, but had to be removed from the courtroom when he repeatedly shouted obscenities at the clerk and deputies, court officials said.

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