Tag: homicide

Terrance Leonard indicted with first-degree murder counts in Terrytown attack

Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. announced today that a grand jury has returned an indictment against Terrance L. Leonard for four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

“After consulting with my staff and receiving input from the victims’ families, I have decided that my office will seek the death penalty,” Mr. Connick said.

Leonard, 33, is charged with the March 6 deaths of Kristina Riley, 32, her 14-year-old daughter, her 10-year-old son and her 9-year-old niece. He also is charged with attacking another of Ms. Riley’s daughters, a 12-year-old girl who survived.

Leonard additionally is charged with obstruction of justice.

In keeping with office policy, there will be no further comment on this open case.

Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish is leading the prosecution.

Michael Dick sentenced to 80 years after admitting he killed stepfather

Accepting the state’s requirements in a negotiated plea agreement, a Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (April 24) sentenced Michael Anthony Dick to 80 years in prison under the state’s habitual offender law, after Dick pleaded guilty to killing his stepfather in Terrytown.

Dick, 33, admitted he shot Raymond Laurent, 60, while in the victim’s home in the 700 block of Whitney Avenue on Sept. 9, 2016.

Dick pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of the plea agreement and received the maximum 40-year sentence for that offense as members of Mr. Laurent’s family looked on from the courtroom gallery. A prosecutor read to the court two statements written by Mr. Laurent’s sisters.

In 2016, Mr. Laurent’s wife – Dick’s mother – reported to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office that she found her husband on the living room sofa with a gunshot wound to his head. Detective Jean Lincoln determined that Dick was responsible for the homicide.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force later located Dick in Picayune, Miss., where he was residing in a mobile home. Authorities found in the mobile home the .38-caliber revolver Dick used to shoot Mr. Laurent. Dick confessed to committing the homicide.

Dick also pleaded guilty Wednesday to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, in connection with the revolver he used to kill Mr. Laurent. He received the maximum 20-year sentence for that offense. Dick was prohibited from possessing firearms because of convictions of extortion and false representation of a controlled dangerous substance, both occurring in 2009, court records show.

In accepting the guilty pleas, Judge Danyelle Taylor of the 24th Judicial District Court ran the sentences concurrently. She then resentenced Dick to 80 years in prison per his plea agreement, in finding that his manslaughter conviction was his fourth felony under the state’s habitual offender law.

UPDATE: For her role in Mr. Laurent’s death, Dick’s girlfriend, Amber Wilson, 34, of Gretna, pleaded guilty on Monday, June 10, to conspiracy to commit second-degree murder. Judge Donnie Rowan sentenced her to eight years in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.

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.”

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.

Teddy Chester sentenced to life in ’95 cabbie murder

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Dec. 12) sentenced Teddy Chester to life in prison for shooting a cab driver in the back of his head during an armed robbery attempt.

Chester, 41, was convicted as charged during his retrial last month of second-degree murder in the Dec. 27, 1995 death of John Adams, 34, a driver for a Kenner-based taxi cab company who died after being dispatched to Calhoun Street.

“It took 20 seconds to take his life,” Bonnie James, fiancée of Mr. Adams’ brother, said in impact testimony Wednesday. “Our family was changed forever.”

In 1997, Chester was convicted of first-degree murder and spent 22 years on Louisiana’s death row until a federal judge this year ruled that his original attorney committed several errors during the first trial, depriving him of his constitutional right to effective representation. The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office opted to retry Chester for second-degree murder.

After denying defense motions for a new trial, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Chester to the mandatory life sentence in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. “To the family of Mr. Adams, I am very sorry for your loss,” Judge Kovach said in handing down the sentence.

Chester’s co-defendant, Elbert Ratcliff, is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the murder.

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.

Vincenzo Randazzo pleads guilty to fatal hammer attack on elderly Kenner couple

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Dec. 3) sentenced Vincenzo “Jake” Randazzo to life in prison with parole eligibility, after he pleaded guilty as charged to attacking an elderly Kenner couple with a hammer, killing the man and injuring his wife.

Randazzo, 17, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in connection with the July 19, 2017, attack on Phillip Lynch Sr., 89, and his 70-year-old wife Anita in their Kenner home. Mr. Lynch died from his injuries caused by blunt force trauma on Aug. 4, 2017.

Randazzo, who had just turned 16 years old at the time, knew the Lynches. The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Randazzo as an adult and filed notice with the court announcing its intention to seek a life sentence without parole eligibility.

However, pursuant to a plea agreement with Randazzo’s public defenders, the District Attorney’s Office withdrew the notice, meaning he will be eligible to apply for parole in 25 years because he is a juvenile.

Judge Scott Schlegel of the 24th Judicial District Court, in accepting the plea, sentenced Randazzo to life with parole eligibility for the first-degree murder and 25 years for the attempted second-degree murder. He ran the sentences concurrently.

Judge Schlegel sentenced Randazzo after hearing impact testimony from Anita Lynch and three of Mr. Lynch’s five children.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Matthew Whitworth prosecuted the case.

 

Corey Woods convicted of Metairie triple-murder, illegal gun possession

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Nov. 8) convicted Corey Woods of killing three people as they sat in a car on a Metairie street last year, finding that he executed one victim and then shot two others to eliminate the witnesses. One of the victims was a 16-year-old girl, whom Woods shot in the back of her head as she attempted to flee for her life, according to the evidence presented during the three-day trial.

Woods, 33, of Metairie, who is known by the nickname “Cocomo,” was convicted as charged of three counts of second-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

About 9:45 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2017, Woods sat in the rear driver’s side seat of a car when he opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. His target was Malcolm Wallace, 25, of Metairie. He also shot Wallace’s girlfriend Daneka Lott, 24, of Kenner; and Wallace’s teenage sister Monica Bates, of Metairie, according to trial evidence.

Sitting in the front passenger seat of the 2006 Honda Accord, Wallace was struck twice. One of the bullets severed his spinal cord, causing an injury that would have left him paralyzed had he survived, forensic pathologist Dana Trosclair testified. Lott, the driver, was shot in the right side of her head. She and Wallace died later at a hospital. Bates was struck in the back of her head and died in the back seat, behind where her brother sat, according to testimony.

“You can conclude by the evidence they were killed by ambush,” Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese, prosecuting with Lynn Schiffman, told jurors.

Woods had spent the evening earlier with Wallace and his family watching a football game, after which the four people drove to a sporting goods store on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, where Lott and Bates went inside to purchase slippers, according to testimony.

They returned to the neighborhood from the store and a fast-food restaurant when Lott pulled to the side of road in the 1400 block of South Laurel Street, just off Mistletoe Street. That’s where Woods began shooting. After the shooting, the car, still in the drive gear, moved forward and struck a utility pole, according to testimony.

Woods ran north on South Laurel, crossing a drainage canal along Airline Drive while apparently wearing the slippers that Lott and Bates purchased at the sporting goods store shortly before. He fled in the direction of his neighborhood just north of Airline Drive at David Drive, according to testimony.

A combination of witness interviews and business surveillance video led Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Joe Waguespack to identify Woods as the killer.

Woods denied all four charges. His public defenders argued that Wallace previously attempted the armed robbery of an elderly woman, and that woman’s great-grandson committed the murders in retaliation.

Wallace was prohibited from possessing guns because of his felony narcotics convictions. He faces life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Woods on Dec. 3.

(UPDATE: Woods’ sentencing hearing was continued to Jan. 7, 2019.)

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

Teddy Chester convicted anew of murdering Kenner cabbie John Adams in 1995

A Jefferson Parish jury on Monday night (Nov. 5) found Teddy Chester guilty of killing a cab driver in East Jefferson 23 years ago, bringing to two the number of times he has been convicted of the same crime.

Chester, 40, is guilty as charged of second-degree murder for the Dec. 27, 1995 killing of John Adams, 34, who was a driver for a Kenner-based taxi cab company. He was killed during a botched armed robbery that Chester and co-defendant Elbert Ratcliff planned, prosecutors argued in the trial that began last week.

“This is not a planned murder,” Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rushton told jurors in closing argument Monday. “This is a planned armed robbery during which the homicide occurred.”

“This was a senseless killing, a senseless murder of John Adams,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Schiffman told jurors Monday. “He was working his job, just like everybody else does every day.”

Mr. Adams was shot once in the back of his head while in the driver’s seat of his taxi, after he responded to a 4 a.m. dispatch to the 700 block of Calhoun Street, according to trial testimony. The area of East Jefferson near River Ridge is known among local law enforcement for its narcotics distribution activities and is called “The Dump.”

About two hours after the dispatch, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded to a report about an abandoned vehicle found Mr. Adams’ body in the driver’s seat. The cab’s engine was still running, and the vehicle itself had left the roadway. The cab’s contents were strewn about inside and outside the vehicle, according to testimony. Deputies still found cash on Mr. Adams’ body, which was indicative of a botched armed robbery.

Detectives linked Ratcliff, then 25, to the murder after finding his thumb prints on two of Mr. Adams’ business cards, one inside the car and one outside, according to testimony. Questioned by Detective Ralph Sacks, Ratcliff named Chester as his cohort and the shooter, according to testimony.

During his trial in 1997, Ratcliff was convicted as charged of second-degree murder for his role in the crime. He is serving a life sentence in state prison.

After arresting Chester, detectives found in his apartment a cap and jeans with blood on them. The DNA profile obtained from the cap was consistent with a mixture of Mr. Adams and Mr. Chester, according to testimony. DNA analysts were unable to obtain a genetic profile from the blood on jeans.

During his interrogation 23 years ago, Chester admitted to Detective Sacks that he was in the cab, but only because he was trying to sell fake narcotics. He blamed Ratcliff for killing Mr. Adams, although he admitted to his then-girlfriend that he pointed the pistol to the back of the cabbie’s head when it accidentally fired, according to testimony.

In 1997, Chester was convicted as charged of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death for the crime. However, in June 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan of the Eastern District of Louisiana, in presiding over Chester’s federal habeas corpus proceedings, ordered a new trial. She ruled that Chester’s original trial attorney committed several errors that deprived him of his constitutional right to effective representation.

Instead of appealing Judge Morgan’s ruling, the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office opted to retry Chester, albeit on a charge of second-degree murder. The offense carries a punishment of life in prison without probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Chester, who did not testify, continued to maintain his innocence and accused Ratcliff of being the killer. The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about 1 ½ hours before returning with its unanimous verdict.

Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court set Chester’s sentencing for 9:30 a.m., on Nov. 15.

(UPDATE: Judge Kovach on Nov. 15 granted Chester’s attorneys’ request to continue the sentencing. The new sentencing date is Dec. 12).

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the latest case.

Marrero man sentenced to two life sentences plus 50 years in Harvey murders, attempted murder

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Sept. 12), sentenced Jacobie Green to back-to-back life sentences plus another 50 years in prison for his conviction of participating in a Father’s Day 2015 shooting in Harvey that left two men dead and a third man wounded.

Green, 26, of Marrero, was convicted as charged Aug. 3, of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder. The jury found he was a gunman in the June 21, 2015 shooting at an Apache Drive apartment in which Johnnel Ovide, 23, and Trammell Marshall, 21, were killed and a then-23-year-old man surviving numerous gunshot wounds, including one Green fired into his face.

Before he died, Marshall identified “Cobie” as a gunman, as did the surviving victim, whom Green shot in the face, according to trial testimony.

Ovide’s mother and Marshall’s mother each provided written statements into the court in lieu of impact testimony, which were read aloud by a prosecutor.

Marshall’s mother noted how Green and her son had been friends. “You stole a life from someone who trusted you,” she wrote. “He opened the door not knowing your face would be the last face he would see.”

Ovide’s mother wrote, “I don’t go a day without thinking about my son. The pain is unimaginable.”

After denying a defense motion for a new trial and hearing a prosecutor read the impact testimony statements, Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Green to two life sentences, one for each of the murders, and the maximum 50 years for the attempted murder.

Judge Grefer then ordered that the sentences be served consecutively, noting that “two lives were taken and a third life was almost taken.”

Green is the second man to be sentenced to prison in connection with the incident. In February, Archie Hulbert III, 34, of Algiers, received a seven-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to a Jefferson Parish grand jury in an attempt to help Green avoid prosecution. Two codefendants await their trials in connection with the shooting.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Laura Schneidau prosecuted the case.

 

Harvey man sentenced to life plus 40 years for Woodmere murder, attempted murder

A Jefferson Parish judge on Friday (Aug. 31) sentenced Ivory Franklin II to a mandatory life sentence plus 40 years in prison, for his conviction of shooting an 18-year-old acquaintance in the back of his head as they walked along a Harvey drainage canal bank.

Franklin, 21, of Harvey, was convicted of second-degree murder in June of killing Reginald Black. He also was convicted as charged of attempted second-degree murder for trying to kill Black’s 15-year-old nephew, for which Franklin received the 40-year sentence.

After denying defense post-verdict motions and hearing impact testimony from Black’s mother, Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court ran the 40-year sentence consecutively to the life sentence.

Judge Rowan noted that after killing Black, Franklin fired indiscriminately at the fleeing 15-year-old without regard for the residents who lived nearby. “If you could, you would have taken out both parties in this case,” Judge Rowan said.

About 3 a.m., on May 5, 2016, the trio was walking along the canal bank behind homes on Windmere Court, just south of Post Street in the Woodmere subdivision, when Franklin shot Black with a revolver. Black, whom Franklin lured from his home that morning, never saw it coming, according to trial testimony.

Franklin then shot at the 15-year-old witness, who crossed through the canal water and to the first house he saw with lights on, according to trial evidence. The resident of that house called 911.

Franklin denied being the shooter and blamed the 15-year-old, whom he accused of horseplay with the pistol when it fired, striking Black. A Jefferson Parish jury rejected the defense assertion and convicted Franklin on June 9.

In a letter written to the court, Black’s mother noted that Franklin “was cold and calculated in his deed,” and that he “is the lowest of predator and should not participate in society again.”

Assistant District Attorneys Andrew DeCoste and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.