Tag: armed robbery

Metairie man sentenced to 30 years in pawn shop robbery

A Jefferson Parish judge on Friday (Nov. 20) sentenced a former Metairie resident to 30 years in prison for his role in the armed robbery of an Airline Drive pawn shop last year.

Edgard Rivas, 27, was convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury last month of two counts of first-degree robbery in connection with the crime that occurred on the evening of Jan. 7, 2017. Two of Rivas’ roommates, Mario Geovani and Carlos Ramos, previously pleaded guilty as charged to armed robbery counts.

Geovani and Ramos were armed with an AR-15 rifle and a semiautomatic pistol, while Rivas carried a hammer which he used to break glass display cases to steal jewelry, according to testimony. Two of the robbers wore Jason character masks from the “Friday the 13th” movies.

Rivas stood trial on charges of armed robbery, but the jury deliberated about two hours before returning with the lesser verdicts of first-degree robbery. Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Rivas to 30 years for each of the two counts and ran them concurrently, reasoning that he disagreed with the jury.

“It’s not often the court disagrees with a jury,” Judge Regan said. “However, in this particular case, the court feels the state proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Sitting in the courtroom, the victims declined to give impact testimony. Rivas gave a statement, apologizing to the victims but maintaining his innocence.

Ramos, 21, and Geovani, 22, previously pleaded guilty to armed robbery counts. Ramos received a 20-year sentence and Geovani was sentenced to 26 years.

Assistant District Attorneys Blair Constant and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted Rivas.

Separately, Edward West, 31, of Harvey, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his armed robbery convictions and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

West was convicted of robbing two women of their purses, moments apart in neighboring business parking lots in the 1500 block of Manhattan Boulevard on Nov. 18, 2016.

His first victim was a 31-year-old woman who was putting her newly purchased items in her car when she was assailed. West then ran across that parking lot to rob a 78-year-old woman of her purse. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him shortly after in a nearby apartment.

Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the sentences on Nov. 8. A multiple bill hearing for West is set for Jan. 10.

Assistant District Attorneys Seth Shute and Emily Booth prosecuted West.

 

Harvey, Metairie men convicted of unrelated armed robberies

Jefferson Parish juries on Thursday evening (Oct. 25) returned guilty verdicts in two unrelated robberies, one involving a Harvey man who accosted two women in business parking lots and the other involving a Metairie man who helped in a pawn shop heist.

Armed purse snatchings

In the West Bank crime, Edward West, 31, of Harvey, was convicted of two counts of armed robbery, for robbing women in back-to-back crimes outside neighboring businesses in the 1500 block of Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey. West also was found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

On the evening of Nov. 19, 2016, West, armed with a .38-caliber revolver, assailed a 31-year-old woman as she left a discount store. The woman was returning to her vehicle after shopping when West approached, brandished the pistol and robbed her, according to trial testimony.

West then ran through the parking lot to an adjacent business and robbed a 78-year-old woman of her purse as she and her daughter finished shopping at a nearby business, according to testimony.

As West robbed the second woman, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Henry Dejean was in the area as part of a pro-active holiday police presence along the Manhattan Boulevard business corridor as the first victim was calling 911, according to testimony. As such, he was on the scene within seconds of the second robbery taking place.

Witnesses to the second robbery directed Deputy Dejean’s attention to West, who at this point was running across Manhattan Boulevard to behind an automotive repair business at Ute Street. Deputy Dejean pursued and helped locate and arrest West inside an apartment in the 1600 block of Ute Street.

The jury deliberated more than three hours in convicting West as charged of two counts of armed robbery and for being a felon with a firearm. Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court set West’s sentencing for Nov. 8.

Assistant District Attorneys Seth Shute and Emily Booth prosecuted West.

Pawn shop heist

Meanwhile, in Judge Conn Regan’s court, Edgard Rivas, 27, of Metairie, was convicted of first-degree robbery for his role in the Jan. 7, 2017, robbery of a pawn shop in the 7900 block of Airline Drive.

Rivas and two of his roommates, Mario Gevani and Carlos Ramos, entered the business on that evening, all concealing their faces, according to testimony. Two of the robbers wore Jason character masks from the “Friday the 13th” movie series, according to testimony.

Geovani and Ramos were armed with an AR-15 rifle and a semiautomatic pistol, while Rivas was armed with a hammer that he used to break the glass display cases to take jewelry, according to testimony. The trio escaped with cash, jewelry and a man’s wallet, according to testimony.

The following month, on Feb. 7, 2017, members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Project STAR team were conducting a narcotics investigation of Rivas and went to his Trenton Street apartment, according to testimony.

Project STAR deputies seized narcotics and noticed a Jason mask in the trio’s apartment. Robbery Detective Anthony Buttone, who was investigating a string of robberies in which robber wore a Jason mask, obtained a search warrant for the trio’s apartment. He discovered clothing matching that worn in the pawn shop robbery, leading him to question the trio and to obtain confessions, according to testimony.

Ramos, 21, and Geovani, 22, previously pleaded guilty to armed robbery counts, with Judge Regan sentencing Ramos to 20 years in prison and Geovani to 26 years in prison.

The jury deliberated over two hours in finding Rivas, who wielded a hammer during the pawn shop robbery, guilty of the responsive verdict of first-degree robbery. Judge Regan is scheduled to sentence Rivas on Nov. 26.

Assistant District Attorneys Blair Constant and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted Rivas.

Marrero man pleads guilty to social media hook-up armed robbery

With jury selection underway, a Marrero man cut short his trial Tuesday (March 6) and pleaded guilty as charged to robbing a man he met through a social media dating application.

Randell Mason, 27, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for robbing a 21-year-old New Orleans man of his car just before 2 a.m., on March 17, 2016. He also pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, for which he received a 15-year sentence.

Using the name “Aaron,” Mason met the victim days prior to the crime through the Badoo dating app, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. They exchanged cell phone numbers and communicated through text messages, eventually agreeing to meet in the 5000 block of Mount Rushmore Drive, according to the Sheriff’s Office incident report.

There, Mason got into the victim’s 2013 Chrysler 200C. They traveled to the 5000 block of Grenoble Court, in Marrero, where the victim believed Mason’s aunt lived. As they walked through an alley, Mason brandished a semiautomatic pistol and ordered the victim to give up the car keys. The victim complied, and Mason drove away.

Within hours, detectives identified Mason as the suspect through his photograph on the Badoo app. The U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Mason on April 9, 2016, in an apartment in the 5000 block of Mount Rushmore Drive.

When confronted with the Badoo account, Mason asserted someone created the fraudulent site by stealing his photograph from social media. He eventually said he planned to meet the victim for a sexual encounter but found the victim to be unattractive and began yelling at him.

The victim, Mason asserted, felt intimidated and simply gave him the keys to his car. He said drove home in the victim’s car and then he gave it to “a crack head” on Mount Rushmore. He also said the cell phone with which he communicated with the victim belonged to the same “crack head.” He also denied having a firearm during the encounter.

Jury selection began Tuesday morning. With prospective jurors selected and the victim waiting to testify against him, Mason offered to plead guilty to the two charges. He also pleaded guilty to being a double offender because of a prior carjacking conviction.

Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court accepted the plea and ran Mason’s sentences concurrently, for a total of 15 years..

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

West Bank men receive heavy prison sentences for 2015 crime spree that included murder

Six days after they were convicted of a 2015 crime spree that left one man dead and another bound to a wheelchair for life, two West Bank men were sentenced Thursday (Sept. 14).

Corey Flag, 25, of Marrero, was sentenced to life plus 167 years in prison. Emmett Garrison IV, 18, of Gretna, was sentenced to 197 years in prison and awaits his punishment for murder.

Because he was under age 18 at the time, Garrison cannot face a mandatory life sentence for murder, as Louisiana’s statute requires for adults. Garrison could be deemed parole eligible after 25 years but also could get life in prison without parole.

Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court set a Nov. 6 hearing to consider Garrison’s punishment for the second-degree murder.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Friday night unanimously convicted Flag and Garrison as charged of offenses asserted in a 10-count indictment. The crimes included the second-degree murder of Bruce Lutcher Sr., 34, who was shot multiple times while being robbed outside his apartment in the 1600 block of Ute Drive on Nov. 23, 2015.

They also were convicted of robbing and attempting to rob three men outside their apartments in Terrytown and Harvey, within an hour’s span on Dec. 11, 2015. One of the victims, a 25-year-old man, was shot by Garrison and left paralyzed from the waist down.

Flag also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegal use of a firearm. Garrison was convicted of attempted second-degree murder, for shooting the man who was left paralyzed. Together they were convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and illegal discharge of a firearm. The latter charge involved a Dec. 9, 2015 drive-by shooting in Marrero.

Judge Molaison, in explaining his reasons for sentencing, noted Flag and Garrison robbed four victims, all involving a firearm. Judge Molaison said he found no mitigating grounds to excuse their criminal conduct.

UPDATE: Following several court appearances during which testimony was given, Garrison, now 20, was sentenced on Dec. 3, 2018, to a mandatory life sentence in prison for his second-degree murder conviction.

Judge William “Chuck” Credo III, sitting ad hoc in the court’s Division E seat, ordered Garrison’s life sentence to be served consecutive to the 197 years given by Judge Molaison.

In court filings, prosecutors in October 2017 announced their intent to seek life without parole for Garrison and requested sentencing hearings. Because he was under age 18 at the time he participated in the murder of Mr. Lutcher, Garrison could not automatically face a mandatory life sentence in prison. By law, life without parole is reserved for “the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption,” according to court documents. 

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

blue bar 2

 

West Bank men convicted of murder, armed robberies in 2015 crime spree

Two West Bank men were convicted as charged Friday night (Sept. 8) for committing a violent, month-long crime spree in late 2015 that left one man dead and another partially paralyzed.

Emmett Garrison IV, 18, of Marrero, and Corey Flag, 25, of Gretna, were convicted of all charges listed in the 10-count bill of indictment. The charges:

  • Count 1, second-degree murder. Garrison and Flag killed Bruce Lutcher Sr., 34, while robbing him outside his apartment in the 1600 block of Ute Drive in Harvey on Nov. 23, 2015.
  • Count 2, conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Garrison and Flag conspired to commit a string of armed robberies that occurred during the crime spree.
  • Count 3, attempted armed robbery. Garrison and Flag attempted to rob a 26-year-old Hispanic man outside his apartment in the 2900 block of South Monterey Court, in Terrytown. This crime happened approximately 5:30 p.m., on Dec. 11, 2015, and was the first of three robbery attempts occurring within a one-hour span. They left this robbery empty handed.
  • Count 4, illegal discharge of a firearm. Flag fired a 9mm semiautomatic pistol at the victim of the attempted robbery in Count 3. The victim was not injured.
  • Count 5, attempted armed robbery. Flag and Garrison attempted to rob a 25-year-old Hispanic man outside his apartment in the 1900 block of Faith Place, in Terrytown. This crime happened approximately 6:05 p.m.
  • Count 6, attempted second-degree murder. Garrison then shot the victim in Count 5. The bullet severed victim’s spinal cord, leaving him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Garrison and Flag obtained nothing of value from this victim.
  • Count 7, armed robbery. Garrison and Flag then robbed a 54-year-old Hispanic man outside his apartment in the 1500 block of Abbey Road in Harvey. That crime happened approximately 6:30 p.m.
  • Count 8, illegal discharge of a firearm. Garrison shot at the victim in Count 7, after the victim attempted to follow the robbers. The victim was not injured but lost more than $400 in cash and his cell phone in the robbery.
  • Count 9, convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Flag was prohibited from possessing guns because of a 2011 conviction of possession of cocaine, for which he was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Count 10, illegal discharge of a firearm. Garrison and Flag were shooters in a Dec. 9, 2015, drive-by shooting in Marrero’s Acre Road public housing development.

In addition to gathering statements from witnesses, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in part tied Garrison and Flag to the crimes through the numerous spent bullet casings that deputies gathered at seven separate crime scenes. Investigators linked two 9mm semiautomatic pistols to the crimes with help from the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, or NIBIN, a database maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The jury of six women and six men deliberated two hours in reaching their unanimous verdicts on all counts. Flag and Garrison lashed out in court as the verdicts were announced, cursing and protesting as deputies escorted them out of the courtroom.

Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Flag and Garrison on Thursday (Sept. 14).

Second-degree murder carries a sentence of mandatory life in prison, a punishment Flag faces. However, Garrison will be sentenced for the murder at a later date.

Because he was 17 years old at the time he committed the crimes, Judge Molaison must hold a sentencing hearing before deciding whether Garrison could be parole eligible after 25 years of a life sentence. A hearing date was not set.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

blue bar 2

New Orleans man gets 40-year sentence in Gretna pharmacy robbery

A New Orleans man was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Tuesday (March 14), after he pleaded guilty to robbing a Gretna pharmacy.

Royal Stevens, 40, pleaded guilty as charged to four counts of armed robbery with a firearm, one count for each of the four victims who were in the business at the time he committed the crime.

He was one of two masked gunmen who entered the pharmacy in the 500 block of Lafayette Street about 5:25 p.m., on May 15, 2015. Stevens removed a semiautomatic pistol from his pants waistband, and the other gunman did the same, yelling, “This is a hold-up! Give me all the money and the drugs!”

Stevens and his cohort ordered employees to fill boxes they carried with hydrocodone, oxycodone and other prescription medications. Stevens ordered the employees into a restroom and told them to wait there until they were gone. The gunmen then fled the business.

The Gretna Police Department learned that Stevens had been in the pharmacy the day before, casing it in preparing the robbery. Security images helped detectives identify Stevens as one of the robbers.

Detectives also concluded that Stevens used his silver Ford Mustang to case the pharmacy and to rob it the following day. Detectives also located bags of stolen narcotics at his apartment.

In accepting the guilty plea, Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Stevens to 40 years for each of the four victims and ran the sentences concurrently. Stevens will not receive benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

A second suspect was booked but not charged because of insufficient evidence.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Vanderhooft and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.

blue bar 2