Man Sentenced in Death of Peace Corps Worker
An Ivory Coast jury has sentenced a man to life in prison for the February 1998 slaying of Kevin R. Leveille, a Ventura resident and Peace Corps volunteer.
A nine-member jury found Adaye Yao Alain, 22, guilty last week of premeditated murder but acquitted two additional co-defendants.
Leveille, 26, had only two months left of his two-year commitment to the Peace Corps, which took him to the Ivory Coast, a former French colony, where he lived in the village of Tanda while working on clean water and sanitation issues.
Peace Corps representatives said intruders attacked Leveille, a Ventura High School graduate, as they robbed his Tanda residence.
“This has been so difficult for all of us,” Peace Corps spokesman Brendan Daly said. “When a volunteer is killed, it’s like a member of our family has been killed. It was a terrible thing.”
Daly said Peace Corps officials followed the case closely to ensure Leveille’s assailant would be prosecuted.
“They have over 1,000 cases and relatively few court officers,” Brendan said. “So we wanted to impress upon them that of all cases, this one is of particular importance and should be given the attention it deserves.”
Peace Corps officials met with the minister of justice for the African region in an effort, Daly said, to “make him understand this was a very important case to the U.S. government and the Peace Corps as a whole.”
Leveille’s parents were relieved to hear of the verdict and life sentence, Daly said.
“It’s a small measure of comfort,” he said. “Nothing will bring him back. But they were relieved. They were really hoping this would happen.”
In addition to the life sentence, the jury ordered Alain to pay Leveille’s parents $30,000 in damages, authorities said.