After almost two years, the family of murdered Beaumont police officer Bryan Hebert has found justice after John Wesley Nero pleaded no contest Thursday, March 14, to the 2011 capital murder that took Hebert’s life.
By taking the plea deal, Nero has avoided the death penalty and will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
According to police, on July 8, 2011, Nero became embroiled in a family disturbance when a family member found child pornography on his computer. Enraged, Nero assaulted family members before leading police on a high-speed chase through Beaumont. The chase ended in Beaumont’s West End on Dowlen Road near Daisy Street when police say Nero intentionally ran his 2008 Dodge Nitro into Hebert’s police cruiser as the officer was attempting to lay tire spikes.
Thursday, Nero entered the courtroom shackled and wearing a red prison garb. He sat mostly quiet in Judge John Stevens’ court, head down and still.
Nero’s only statement to the court was “I’m sorry.”
Moments after his apology, Hebert’s sister, mother and father gave emotional statements, forcing Nero to come face to face with the grieving family.
“This is a picture of our family I’d like for you to look at,” said Hebert’s sister, Holly Hebert.
Holly choked back tears as she spoke of her brother’s kind heart and contagious laugh, saying she had weekend plans with her brother and was waiting for his shift to end.
“I was less than two miles away from the crime scene you created,” she said to Nero.
Holly said her brother was a Dallas Cowboys and UT football fan who didn’t deserve what Nero wrought. Nero shook his head as Holly repeated the word “coward” and “murderer” at least three times.
“You decided to run like a coward and murder him,” she said, to which Nero suddenly stomped his shackled feet loudly in disgust, head down and shaking with disapproval.
Bailiffs quickly surrounded Nero and the courtroom was brought back to order.
“Please compose yourself, Mr. Nero,” Judge John Stevens told the accused killer.
Bryan’s mother, Cindy Hebert gave emotional testimony as well.
“You robbed him of his life and me of my son,” she said to Nero.
With no written statement, Bryan’s father, Glenn Hebert, took to the stand and spoke from his heart.
“I would trade places with Brian if I could,” Glenn said. “I hate you.”
Hebert’s father paused, overcome with emotion before he was able to continue.
“I hope one day I can forgive you,” he said.
When Hebert’s family exited the courtroom, they were met with at least 50 Beaumont police officers. The family hugged each officer in an emotional display, Hebert’s mother weeping openly in the arms of officer Jeffery Eastepp.
Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary said BPD was rocked by Hebert’s death, but his officers are happy justice has been served.
“He’s a police officer. He’s like a brother. He’s like family,” he said of Hebert. “This part is over with, but that doesn’t bring Bryan back.”