Year: 2019

Brandon Martin sentenced to life for killing Daz Alexis, 19, in Marrero

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Nov. 7) sentenced Brandon Cordell Martin to a mandatory life sentence in prison for his conviction of killing a teenager.

A jury on Oct. 19 found Martin, 23, guilty as charged of the second-degree murder of Daz Alexis, 19, and of obstruction of justice.

Martin, who lived in Marrero and New Orleans, shot Alexis in the head as they sat in Alexis’ car in Marrero on Nov. 18, 2017. Martin then left Alexis’ body in a field near Johnny Jacobs Playground in the 6100 block of 4th Avenue in Marrero. He also abandoned Alexis’ car in Marrero and eliminated evidence of his crime, leading to the obstruction of justice conviction.

After hearing impact testimony Thursday, Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Martin to life without parole, probation or suspension of sentence for the murder and 20 years for the obstruction of justice.

Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Clauss and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Jonathan Manuel convicted of murdering 10-month-old, wounding 16-year-old

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Nov. 7) found Jonathan “Dugga” Manuel guilty of firing a pistol into a Marrero home three years ago, killing a 10-month-old boy and injuring a 16-year-old.

Manuel, 30, of Marrero, was found guilty as charged of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The jury found that about 4:30 p.m., on Dec. 3, 2016, Manuel went to a home in the 2100 block of Caddy Drive and began shooting inside from the doorway.

Ten-month-old Xy’ahir “Nemo” Davis was shot twice and pronounced dead at West Jefferson Medical Center an hour later. The 16-year-old boy survived numerous gunshot wounds.

The jury, which was seated Monday, deliberated about two hours before returning with its verdicts. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Manuel on Dec. 6.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

 

Wayne Norman sentenced to 99 years as a habitual offender

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Nov. 6) sentenced Wayne Norman to 99 years in prison as a habitual offender, a week after he was convicted of robbing a 74-year-old man at gunpoint as the victim carried his Thanksgiving groceries into him Marrero home.

Norman 29, of Marrero, was convicted by a jury last week of armed robbery, aggravated flight and misdemeanor possession of stolen things in connection with the crimes he committed on Nov. 15, 2018.

According to evidence presented at trial, Norman spotted the 74-year-old victim at his bank’s drive drive-thru window and followed him to a grocery store. There, the victim purchased items for his family’s Thanksgiving meal. Norman then followed the victim to his home and robbed him in his driveway as the victim carried his groceries inside.

Shortly after, Norman, driving a stolen vehicle, led Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies on a pursuit that ended in Harvey, where Norman crashed the vehicle into a utility pole and fled on foot. He discarded his clothing in a shed in a resident’s back yard, snuck inside and hid in a children’s bedroom closet. Deputies caught him there with property that belonged to the victim, who is now age 75.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

First Assistant Steve Wimberly retiring after 23 years; Margaret Hay appointed to the post

Margaret Hay has become first assistant district attorney, replacing Steve Wimberly (left) as second-in-command of the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. (right) named Hay to the post after Wimberly retired. Wimberly had been first assistant since Connick was first elected and took office in January 1997. (JPDA photo)

 

Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. announced that effective Friday, Nov. 1, First Assistant District Attorney Steve Wimberly will retire after almost 23 years in the position.

Mr. Connick has appointed Chief of Trials Margaret Hay as the office’s new First Assistant District Attorney.

Mr. Wimberly has served as First Assistant since Mr. Connick became District Attorney in January 1997. Following a period of transition, Mr. Wimberly will continue to serve the citizens of Jefferson Parish in a part-time role at the office.

‘Harvey Hustlers’ narcotics supplier convicted of Marrero murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Oct. 31) found Alcus Smith guilty of gunning down a man on a Marrero street in a retaliatory killing six years ago.

Smith, 32, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Donte Hall, 22, who was shot multiple times in the 2600 block of Pelican Bay Boulevard on the night of Nov. 15, 2013.

According to evidence presented at trial, Smith, a narcotics trafficker who was a supplier of the notorious Harvey Hustlers street gang, killed Hall believing that Hall cheated him in a drug transaction.

Smith already is serving a 65-year prison sentence in connection with his 2015 conviction of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of cocaine. He was among 21 people indicted by a Jefferson Parish grand jury in 2015 in a sweeping narcotics racketeering case involving the Harvey Hustlers.

The jury, which was seated Monday, deliberated less than one hour in reaching its verdict. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 14.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.

 

Wayne Norman convicted of robbing Thanksgiving shopper, fleeing deputies in stolen vehicle

A Jefferson Parish jury Tuesday night (Oct. 29) found Wayne Norman guilty of robbing a 74-year-old Marrero man at gunpoint in his driveway as the victim carried his family’s Thanksgiving groceries into his home last year.

Norman, 29, of Marrero, was convicted as charged of armed robbery and aggravated flight in connection with his crimes that occurred on Nov. 15, 2018. The jury also found Norman guilty of a lesser, misdemeanor charge of possession of stolen property.

Norman first spotted the victim at his bank, from where he followed him to the grocery. Inside the grocery, Norman went so far as to place a large spiral-cut ham into the victim’s shopping cart and then followed him out of the grocery and to the victim’s home. There, as the victim was bringing groceries into his home, Norman approached, pointed a pistol at the victim’s face and demanded money. The victim complied, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was alerted.

Norman fled on foot and was located inside a Lynnbrook Drive home, where he hid in a child’s bedroom closet. A resident in the home heard something suspicious, and authorities were notified. Deputies found Norman and arrested him.

Some of his clothing items he wore during the robbery were located in a backyard shed at that address. The money and hearing aid batteries that Norman took from the victim were found in Norman’s pocket when he was apprehended.

That same day, Norman was observed driving a 2002 Ford Escape that had been stolen in New Orleans. He fled deputies who tried to stop him and crashed the vehicle into a utility pole in Harvey’s Woodmere subdivision before fleeing on foot. These crimes led to his conviction of aggravated flight and possession of stolen property.

The jury deliberated approximately 45 minutes in convicting Norman of the armed robbery and aggravated flight. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Norman on Monday (Nov. 4).

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

Brandon Martin convicted of murdering teen in Marrero, obstruction of justice

A Jefferson Parish jury early Saturday unanimously found Brandon Cordell Martin guilty of shooting a teen in the head and then attempting to cover his tracks by eliminating evidence tying him to the crime.

Martin, who turned 23 during his trial, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Daz Alexis, 19, of New Orleans.

Martin, who lived in New Orleans and Marrero, and Alexis were in Alexis’ car when Martin shot him behind his left ear on Nov. 19, 2017. He then dumped Alexis’ body in a field near Johnny Jacobs Playground in the 6100 block of 4th Avenue in Marrero.

Martin also was convicted as charged of obstruction of justice, for abandoning Alexis’ car in the 2800 block of Mount Kennedy Drive, tossing the gun and the car keys into a nearby drainage canal and burning the clothing he wore at the time of the shooting.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before returning with its verdicts about 1 a.m., Saturday. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Martin Nov. 7.

Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Clauss and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Harvey parents sentenced to prison in child cruelty case

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Oct. 9) sentenced Lionel Smith of Harvey to 13 years in prison after a jury convicted him of cruelty to juveniles upon he and his girlfriend’s children as well as her children from another relationship.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court also sentenced the children’s mother, Cieara Wilson, also of Harvey, to eight years in prison, suspending all but one year of the prison term.

Smith, 32, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on Sept. 5 of four counts of cruelty to juveniles. Wilson, 33, who was tried with Smith, was convicted as charged of two counts of cruelty to juveniles. The crimes, which occurred over a period of years, were reported to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in November 2016, when the children were ages 3, 4, 12 and 14.

Wilson was the mother of all four children, and she had two of the children with Smith, who meted out severe punishment to all four children while Wilson did little to nothing to intervene, Judge Grefer noted. He ordered the parents to view crime scene photos of the children’s injuries during the sentencing hearing.

“They were severe,” Judge Grefer said of the injuries. “They were intentional. They were repeated.”

Smith inflicted the brunt of the beatings. Wilson also beat her kids but not as severely. Still, Judge Grefer noted, Wilson did nothing to stop Smith. “I don’t see how you can allow that to happen to your kids,” he said.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Twyena Thomas sentenced to life for murdering her toddler

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Sept. 30) sentenced Twyena Thomas to life in prison for her conviction of killing her 28-month-old son, Chase Thomas.

On the two-year anniversary of Chase’s death, Thomas, 29, appeared in court to receive the mandatory punishment for second-degree murder. A Jefferson Parish jury on Aug. 22 convicted her as charged for causing her son’s death in their Kenner apartment through blunt-force trauma injuries to his head. Chase also weighed a mere 15 pounds at death.

 “Chase’s scars, scabs, bruises, his broken skull and his 15-pound body tell us that you were the hateful monster.”

“Chase died alone in his room, scared not of the imaginary monster in his closet, but you. You were the monster. Chase’s scars, scabs, bruises, his broken skull and his 15-pound body tell us that you were the hateful monster,” 24th Judicial District Judge Danyelle Taylor said in sentencing Thomas to life at hard labor without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

After denying post-verdict motions for a new trial, Judge Taylor heard letters written by six people and two witnesses before handing down the sentence. The defendant addressed the Court prior to sentencing and stated that Chase “didn’t deserve that.”

Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Whitworth and Jenny Voss prosecuted the case.

Man convicted of sexually abusing girl sentenced to 60 years

A Jefferson Parish judge sentenced Rafael Chinchilla to 60 years in prison Thursday (Sept. 12), for his conviction of sexually abusing a child.

Chinchilla, 33, a native of Honduras, was convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury on Aug. 30 of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile.

The abuse began when the victim was 11 years old and continued until she was 13. The crimes occurred in Metairie and Kenner, during which Chinchilla sent her text messages both professing his love for her and threatening her. Police were notified in February 2017, after the victim’s father searched her mobile device and found evidence of the abuse, including audio of the victim telling Chinchilla to stop.

After hearing impact testimony from the victim and her father, Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Chinchilla to 60 years for the sexual battery, 20 years for the indecent behavior of a juvenile under age 13 and seven years for the indecent behavior with a juvenile. The sentences were run concurrently.

Judge Adams also ordered that, should Chinchilla be released from prison, he be electronically monitored and register as a sex offender for life.

Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Clauss and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.