In March 1984, 11-year-old Jody Plauche was kidnapped from his home in Louisiana by his karate teacher Jeff Doucet.

Jeff took Jody to a motel in California, over 3,200km from his home, before inflicting a horrific campaign of sexual abuse and grooming on the child.

When Jody was found and Jeff was shipped back to Louisiana, a camera crew and several journalists were waiting for the paedophile at the airport.

Amongst the media flock, Jody’s father Gary was waiting with his back turned and disguising his identity with a lowered baseball cap and sunglasses.

As Jeff was paraded past him, the furious father turned around, drew a gun, pulled the trigger and fired a single shot into the side of Doucet’s head at point blank range live on the 6pm news bulletin.

Now, 37 years later, Jody has recalled the traumatising ordeal in his autobiography.

He discusses how many Americans hailed his father a “hero” for carrying out the revenge killing, but he didn’t agree.

The author said, “At first I was upset with what my father did because at age 11 – I just wanted Jeff to stop and not necessarily dead.”

Gary spent the weekend in jail over the killing, but ended up serving no prison time.

He was given a suspended sentence for manslaughter along with probation and community service,

The judge ruled that there was no risk of him ever committing another crime, and said sending him to prison would not help anyone, so he was set free.

Jody recalls watching the video of his father shooting down his abuser, and said it felt surreal.

“I had already looked at the paper, something I was told not to do. It was almost as if it wasn’t real,” Jody told The Sun.

He even recorded the footage on a VHS tape and would watch it “over and over”, becoming obsessed with it as he attempted to process what happened.

Jody said he continues to struggle with the traumatising events, and why he doesn’t agree with his dad’s hero status.

“I think for a lot of people who have not been satisfied by the American justice system my dad stands as a symbol of justice,” he said.

“My dad did what everybody says what they would do yet only few have done it. Plus, he didn’t go to jail.”

“That said, I cannot and will not condone his behaviour. But I understand why he did what he did.”

Image credits: Supplied

This article first appeared on Over60.