The man who attacked WWL investigative reporter David Hammer and photojournalist TJ Pipitone in 2022 has been sentenced.
The New Orleans CBS affiliate said Bruce Verdin, the brother-in-law of Brian Matherne, a convicted sex offender, was accused of swinging a wrench at the crew and attempting to hit Pipitone with his truck while the two were reporting on Matherne’s early release from prison. Matherne had been mistakenly released early from a 30-year sentence after only serving 22 years.
Verdin confronted Hammer and Pipitone when they parked in front of his property.
On Monday, Verdin pleaded no contest to three felony aggravated battery counts and a count of aggravated damage to property.
“Which is not an admission of guilt. It just means I’m not going to fight the charges anymore in exchange for a probated sentence,” said Verdin’s attorney.
“We need to hold people accountable for these open attacks on journalists. We had a journalist murdered and another one shot recently in Orlando just for doing their job,” Hammer said after the hearing.
For the aggravated battery charges, Verdin was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence with two-years of probation. For the property damage charge, he was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence and two-years of probation
Matherne was arrested again and returned to prison.