Year: 2019

Rushton, Schiffman receive ‘excellence’ award for double-murder prosecution

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Lynn Schiffman were among the recipients of the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s Excellence in Law Enforcement Awards.

 

The Metropolitan Crime Commission on Tuesday (Feb. 5) recognized assistant district attorneys Douglas Rushton and Lynn Schiffman for the prosecution of an Avondale man who was convicted last year of a double murder in Kenner.

Rushton and Schiffman were presented 2019 Excellence in Law Enforcement awards during the commission’s annual meeting and awards luncheon, held at the Sheraton in downtown New Orleans.

A Jefferson Parish jury in January 2018 convicted Shaun Barnett of two counts of first-degree murder for the April 4, 2016 deaths of Dawn Scott, 28, and Raynell Kimbrough, 31. The couple was in bed in their Kenner home early on the morning of April 4, 2016, when Barnett shot them. A child in the house heard the gunfire and escorted his younger brother outside; police found an uninjured infant on the bed next to Scott.

Barnett has been sentenced to life in prison.

Louisiana State Police investigator Leland “Corky” Dwight, Kenner Police Department Detective Harold P. Pendergast, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dennis Thornton and the JPSO Crime Laboratory staff also received the award for their work in solving the double-murder.

The commission presents the awards in recognition of those who “performed extraordinary service” to criminal justice. The awardees have “a record of continuity and consistency of service and shall reflect the admirable quality of integrity, both personal and professional.”

The week’s round-up: Juries convict in rape, illegal gun cases

Jefferson Parish juries returned two guilty verdicts in unrelated trials this week, including that of a Kenner man who was convicting of raping an intoxicated woman in his car while she was unconscious.

Third-degree rape conviction

Cornelius Williams, 29, was convicted as charged of third-degree rape following a two-day trial that ended Tuesday (Jan. 8). Williams raped a 21-year-old woman on Feb. 19, 2017, while parked in an alley outside his home in the 300 block of Taylor Street.

The victim reported to the Kenner Police Department that she, Williams and another woman were visiting bars in the French Quarter when she passed out because she was intoxicated, according to trial evidence. She said she woke to find herself in the back seat of his car with him having intercourse with her.

She told him to stop, and she passed out again, only to realize Williams was performing oral sex on her, she testified. Williams eventually dropped her off at her home, where she passed out again. Hours later, she woke and went to the Kenner Police Department.

Before the rape occurred, Williams dropped the other woman off at her home. Williams admitted he attempted to have intercourse after performing oral sex, but he did not complete the act.

Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set the sentencing hearing for Feb. 19.

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Jennifer Voss prosecuted the case.

Convicted felon with firearm case

On Wednesday (Jan. 10), a separate jury found Russell K. Wilson guilty as charged of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Wilson, 36, of Algiers, was legally prohibited from carrying firearms because of a 2010 conviction of possession with intent to distribute cocaine in Jefferson Parish.

Yet on June 28, 2017, two Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives, while on a proactive patrol in a high-crime area, smelled marijuana and observed several people loitering outside a closed business near 6th Avenue and Ames Boulevard in Marrero’s Walkertown neighborhood, according to trial testimony.

The detectives noticed Wilson handling his pants in a manner suggesting he had a firearm tucked in the waistband, according to trial evidence. One of the detectives approached Wilson and noted he placed the pistol on top of a tire in a wheel well of a nearby parked vehicle. It was a fully loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol with a bullet in the chamber, according to trial evidence.

In testimony, Wilson denied possessing the gun, suggesting that the detectives randomly sought to question him and planted the weapon. He acknowledged his criminal history, which includes narcotics offenses and a previous guilty plea to attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Wilson on Jan. 25.

Assistant District Attorneys Lynn Schiffman and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

Corey Woods sentenced to life plus 50 years for Metairie triple-murder, heroin distribution

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Jan. 7) sentenced Corey Woods to three life sentences, for his convictions of killing three people as they sat in a car two years ago. His victims included a 16-year-old girl, whom he shot in the back of her head as she tried to escape the gunfire.

Woods, 33, of Metairie, was convicted as charged in November of three counts of second-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, in connection with the Jan. 17, 2017 triple-homicide in the 1400 block of South Laurel Street.

A Jefferson Parish jury found that Woods killed Malcolm Wallace, 25, of Metairie, and then shot Wallace’s girlfriend Daneka Lott, 24, of Kenner; and Wallace’s teenage sister Monica Bates, of Metairie, because they were witnesses, according to trial evidence.

According to evidence presented at trial, Woods, sitting in the rear seat of a 2006 Honda Accord, shot his intended target Wallace, who was in the front passenger seat. He also shot Lott, the driver, and Bates as she attempted to exit the rear passenger-side door. A combination of witness interviews and business surveillance video led the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to identify Woods as the killer.

After denying a defense post-verdict motion for an acquittal and hearing impact testimony from two of the victims’ family members, 24th Judicial District Judge Donnie Rowan sentenced Woods to three life sentences and 20 years for the firearm offense. He ran the sentences concurrently.

Judge Rowan separately resentenced Woods to a total of 50 years in prison for his February 2018 convictions of three counts of distribution of heroin. Those crimes occurred in January 2017, the same month during which Woods committed the three murders.

Judge Rowan ran the 50-year sentence consecutively to the life sentences given in the triple-homicide case.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the murder case.