Tag: kenner police department

Kenner man sentenced to life plus 40 years in murder and dismemberment case

 

Convicted of killing his rival in a Kenner love triangle before dismembering the slain man’s body and discarding the parts in a River Parishes swamp, Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa was sentenced Thursday (April 26) to spend the rest of his life in prison plus 40 years.

Perez, 45, a Cuban national whose work history included that of a butcher, was convicted as charged last month of the second-degree murder of Alexis Portales-Lara on Nov. 11, 2016. Portales was murdered in the Baylor Place apartment he shared with his lover, a woman who also is a Cuban national and who previously was romantically involved with Perez.

According to trial testimony, Perez hoped to rekindle the relationship, and Portales was in the way.

On the day after he killed Portales, Perez disarticulated the body, stuffed the remains in garbage bags and drove to St. John the Baptist Parish, where he dumped the bags into the swamp near the Reserve Canal off Interstate 10.

For his efforts to conceal his crime, Perez also was convicted as charged of obstruction of justice and was sentenced Thursday to the maximum 40 years in prison.

Portales, a Honduran national, moved to East Jefferson to be close to his young daughter, according to trial evidence.

Portales’ ex-wife provided a statement to the court in lieu of live impact testimony on Thursday, expressing the emotional and financial hardships she and their 5-year-old daughter suffer because of his death.

“With tears in her eyes, she tells me, ‘Mommy, I miss my daddy,’” the mother wrote.

Portales and Perez worked together for a scaffold company in Norco. Portales moved in with Perez’s ex-girlfriend in Kenner. She later allowed Perez to temporarily move in with them after his relationship with another woman ended, according to evidence presented to the jury.

Portales was last seen alive on the evening of Nov. 11, 2016. The Kenner Police Department initially investigated the matter as a missing person’s complaint and found blood in the Baylor Place apartment. That blood was later determined to be Portales’, according to evidence presented during the trial.

Then, on Dec. 29, 2016, a fisherman found a right arm in the Reserve Canal. The following month, pipeline workers who were dredging the canal found the legs and torso. The remains were determined to be Portales, whose head and left arm have not been located.

At trial, the jury heard testimony about Perez sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend in the apartment after Portales went to work. Perez, who denies assaulting the woman, asserted he was defending himself from Portales’ attack. During the scuffle, Perez asserted in trial testimony, Portales stabbed himself in the neck and caused his own death.

Perez testified that the body was too heavy for him to move, so he cut it into pieces. His attorney told jurors that he panicked.

At the end of a six-day trial, a Jefferson Parish jury on March 26 convicted Perez as charged of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

After denying defense motions for a new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal on Thursday, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the sentences, which she ran consecutively.

Judge Kovach noted, “I can think of no worse obstruction of justice than that which occurred in this case.”

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.

 

 

Kenner man convicted of killing, dismembering rival in love triangle

Viusqui J. Perez-Espinosa was convicted Monday night (March 26) of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s new lover in Kenner before dismembering the body and dumping the parts in a St. John the Baptist Parish swamp.

Perez, 45, a Cuban national who had worked as a butcher, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Ives Alexis Portales-Lara, 27. A Honduran immigrant who moved to East Jefferson to be near his young daughter, Portales was murdered Nov. 11, 2016, in the Baylor Place apartment he shared with Perez and the woman who was the third leg in their love triangle.

Perez also was convicted of obstruction of justice, for his efforts to conceal his crime. The day after he killed Portales, Perez disarticulated the body, packed the remains in garbage bags, stuffed them in his car’s trunk and drove to St. John the Baptist Parish, where he threw them off the Interstate 10 bridge over the swamps near the Reserve Canal, according to evidence presented during the trial.

“It was the most brutal possible way to die and be disposed of,” Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish told jurors in opening statements.

“I’ve never seen a case when a victim is cut into pieces and thrown away like trash,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Olivier told jurors in closing argument.

According to evidence presented at trial, Perez and Portales were friends and co-workers at a scaffolding company who romanced the same woman. Perez was sexually involved with the woman for about 18 months before the relationship ended in September 2016. Portales moved in with her in her Baylor Place apartment, and a secret romantic relationship began.

Perez, who worked as a fisherman and boat captain in Cuba and as a butcher in Honduras before he migrated to the United States, pined for her affections and wanted Portales out of the picture, according to trial evidence.

With Portales’ blessing, his ex-girlfriend who also is a native of Cuba, allowed Perez to move in with them on Nov. 8, 2016, three days before the murder. Perez, aware of rumors of Portales’ relationship, offered his rival money to move into his own apartment.

On the morning of Nov. 11, 2016, after Portales left for work, Perez allegedly sexually assaulted his former girlfriend in her bed. Portales was last seen alive that evening.

The Kenner Police Department was notified, marking the start of a missing persons investigation. Officers responding to the complaint visited the Baylor Place apartment and noticed blood on the floor.

Using luminol, Kenner police later found blood on a wall, the ceiling and on furniture. Blood also was found in the trunk of Perez’s car. In the meantime, police booked Perez based on his ex-girlfriend’s assertion that he sexually assaulted her.

Later in November 2016, amid the missing persons investigation, the blood from the apartment was determined to belong to Portales, Dr. Marcela Zozaya, a forensic DNA analyst with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, testified. Dr. Zozaya likened the process to a paternity test, by matching the genetic material she extracted from the blood to that of Portales’ daughter.

On Dec. 29, 2016, a fisherman found a right arm in the Reserve Canal. On Jan. 12, 2017, pipeline workers dredging the canal found the legs and torso, according to the testimony. Portales’ head and left arm have not been found. The St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office joined the investigation.

Through DNA analysis, Dr. Zozaya determined that the body parts belonged to Portales, she testified. Perez was then booked and subsequently charged with Portales’ murder.

Perez’s attorney asserted that Portales attacked Perez thinking that Perez sexually assaulted his girlfriend, an accusation that Perez denied. Testifying on Monday, Perez told jurors that Portales attacked him with a knife, and during the ensuing struggle, Portales cut his own throat and died as a result. The body was too heavy for him to carry to the trunk of his car, he testified. He refused to describe cutting up the body.

After a six-day trial during which more than 1,200 exhibits were presented by the state, the Jefferson Parish jury deliberated 2 ½ hours before delivering its verdicts. Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Perez to a mandatory life sentence in prison on April 26.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.

Avondale man sentenced to life in prison for Kenner couple murders

An Avondale man who was convicted last month of murdering a couple in their Kenner home was sentenced Thursday (Feb. 8) to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Shaun Barnett, 30, received the mandatory sentence for his conviction of two counts of first-degree murder. Barnett killed Dawn Scott, 28, and Raynell Kimbrough, 31, as they lay in their bed of their Idaho Street apartment early on the morning of April 4, 2016.

Barnett, who was friends with the couple, shot Scott in the head, as an infant lay beside her. He then shot Kimbrough in the head and then in his body, according to evidence presented during the trial. On the way out of the second-floor bedroom, he shot Scott once more, in the torso.

A child who was asleep in the home heard the gunshots, saw Barnett run down the stairs and later found the murdered couple. The child escorted his younger brother out of the back door and alerted a neighbor, who investigated and called 911.

Members of the Scott and Kimbrough families wrote letters to the court in lieu of providing live impact testimony, including Kimbrough’s 7-year-old daughter, who said her father’s death has left her “mad and sad.”

“You hurt my heart before anybody else had a chance to,” the child wrote in the letter, which a prosecutor read aloud during the sentencing hearing.

Kenner Police Department officers connected Barnett to the crimes using cell phone data, the license plate recognition system, DNA and other evidence.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Jan. 26 convicted Barnett as charged of two counts of first-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Barnett was barred from possessing guns because of numerous convictions of property and narcotics crimes.

After denying defense attorneys’ motion for a new trial Thursday and hearing Barnett proclaim his innocence, Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced the man to two life sentences – one for each victim – and to 10 years for the firearms offense. He ran the sentences concurrently.

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

 

Avondale man convicted of murdering Kenner couple in their bed

An Avondale man was convicted Friday night (Jan. 26), of killing a couple as they slept in their bed in Kenner, even as an infant lay between the victims.

Shaun Barnett, 30, faces life in prison for his conviction of two counts of first-degree murder for the April 4, 2016, deaths of Dawn Scott, 28, and Raynell Kimbrough, 31.

The couple was asleep at their apartment in the 2100 block of Idaho Street, when about 6:30 a.m., Barnett entered through the back door. He shot Scott once in the head. Kimbrough woke, and Barnett shot him in the face at close range and in the body. He then shot Scott in her body before leaving the apartment.

A child in the house heard the gunshots and saw Barnett leaving. The child discovered the bodies, walked his brother out to alert a neighbor. That neighbor investigated and called 911.

Police found Scott in bed with the infant to her right. The infant was not injured. Kimbrough was on the floor.

The Kenner Police Department determined Barnett and Kimbrough were friends and had been at a daiquiri shop in Avondale together the night before. Using cell phone data and a license plate recognition system, detectives were able to create a timeline to retrace Barnett’s travels in his gold Ford Taurus, across the Huey P. Long Bridge to Kimbrough’s apartment.

Following an argument with Scott, Barnett departed, only to return to kill the couple. Detectives later found the military-style jacket Barnett was wearing in a hamper at his home, with Kimbrough’s blood on it, DNA testing proved. The detectives also found some of Scott’s belongings in Barnett’s car and at a New Orleans residence, according to testimony.

Barnett denied committing the murders. His attorneys argued that evidence was lacking and the case was not sufficiently investigated.

Barnett also was convicted of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was barred from possessing guns because of six previous convictions for narcotics and property crimes in Jefferson Parish.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated just over one hour before delivering its verdict. Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court will sentence Barnett on Feb. 8.

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

Convicted child predator convicted anew of sexually abusing 3 children

A convicted sex offender was once again convicted Thursday night (Nov. 16) of sexually abusing three children in Kenner.

Carlos Alberto Montero Sr., 54, faces life in prison for his conviction of two counts of aggravated rape, sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile under the age of 13 and failing to register as a sex offender.

He abused two girls and one boy over a five-year period, beginning in 2006. The youngest of the three victims was about 6 years old when she was abused. Another victim was age 7 when Montero began abusing him, and the third victim was 12 years old when it began.

The Kenner Police Department opened an investigation in January 2016, after the step-father of one of the victims found a note she wrote to her deceased father as a form of therapy. In it, she referenced to being sexually abused.

Montero also was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, for failing to notify police when he moved to Kenner from Gretna. He was required to register as a sex offender because of a 2002 conviction of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Following a 4-year prison sentence that ended in 2006, he was to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning its unanimous verdicts about 7 p.m. Judge June Berry Darensberg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Montero on Jan. 10.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

Marrero man sentenced to life in prison for murdering his boss

A Marrero man who murdered his boss at their Kenner workplace was sentenced on Monday (July 24) to a mandatory life sentence in prison.

John Spears, 52, was convicted last month of the second-degree murder of Anthony Tardo on Dec. 4, 2015.

Tardo, 49, was described as a “generous, most caring person” with a “contagious laugh,” his family said in an impact testimony letter that was read aloud in court during the sentencing hearing. Through his “cowardly” act, Spears robbed Tardo’s wife, their three children and his extended family of a life with him, his family said.

Tardo, of Mandeville, was the supervisor at Houston Marine Training Services in the 2500 block of Williams Boulevard, where Spears was employed as an instructor. He was seated at his desk in his office when Spears appeared in the doorway.

Other employees said they heard Tardo say loudly, “What the f—,” before hearing one gunshot. Tardo was struck in the chest and died within a minute, according to trial testimony.

Spears then calmly told co-workers to call 911. He walked outside to the parking lot, where he unloaded his .40-caliber pistol and remained until Kenner Police Department officers arrived. He later pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, asserting that mental illness and a related blackout prevented him from distinguishing right from wrong.

A Jefferson Parish jury on June 15 deliberated less than 1 ½ hours in rejecting Spears’ insanity defense, finding him guilty as charged.

Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the mandatory life sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rhonda Goode-Douglas prosecuted the case.

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Marrero man guilty of murdering boss at Kenner workplace

A Jefferson Parish jury deliberated just over one hour Thursday night (June 15), rejecting a Marrero man’s insanity defense and convicting him as charged of murdering his supervisor at their workplace in Kenner.

John Spears, 52, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for fatally shooting Anthony Tardo, 49, of Mandeville, on Dec. 4, 2015.

About 3:30 p.m., employees at Houston Marine Training Services, in the 2500 block of Williams Boulevard, heard Tardo yell “What the f—?” and then heard a gunshot. Spears stood in the entrance to Tardo’s office and fired one .40-caliber bullet into his boss’s chest. Tardo died in about a minute.

Spears calmly told his coworkers to call 911. He then walked out front door into the parking lot, where he ejected the magazine from his pistol and placed it atop his car. He waited for the Kenner Police Department to arrive.

Spears pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorneys argued that he has a history of mental illness and that he suffered a delusional psychotic episode when he shot Tardo. Spears further asserted he blacked out

Spears and Tardo had been co-workers about 1 ½ years before the homicide. Tardo, a husband and father, was the site supervisor at the Kenner Houston Marine location, which assisted people in obtaining licenses to work offshore industries. Spears was an instructor in dynamic positioning, using a simulator to train students in keeping a vessel afloat stable.

After killing Tardo, Spears declined to give detectives a statement in explaining why he shot his supervisor. However, in phone calls he made to his wife from the parish jail, he accused Tardo of repeatedly “aggravating” him. He also asked his wife to find his medical records to support his contention of mental illness. Jurors heard recordings of those phone calls.

One co-worker told detectives that he and Spears crossed paths at the business earlier that day, and that Spears mentioned he was going to shoot co-workers. The co-worker thought Spears was joking. Otherwise, none of the employees noted anything overtly amiss between Spears and Tardo.

The jury of eight women and four men delivered its verdict about 9:15 p.m., Thursday. Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District is scheduled to sentence Spears on July 24.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rhonda Goode-Douglas prosecuted the case.

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Albert Cox sentenced to life plus 15 years in prison for Kenner killing

A week after he was convicted of fatally shooting a Kenner man in front of his mother’s home, Albert “Wayne” Cox was sentenced Wednesday to a mandatory life sentence in prison plus another 15 years of incarceration.

Cox, 38, a former Kenner resident, received the additional 15-year sentence for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, for using a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol to kill Cornel Woods.

Woods, 42, died from a gunshot wound to his chest he received on Oct. 7, 2015, as he stood outside his mother’s home in the 900 block of 27th Street. Earlier that day, Cox confronted Woods over a woman, calling him “a bitch” and threatening to pistol whip him.

That evening, a friend of Woods’ saw Cox walking up 27th Street toward Woods’ home, according to trial testimony. Moments later, the friend heard three gunshots and saw the muzzle flashes.

Cox fired three bullets. One struck a truck, another flattened a car tire. The third fatally wounded Woods.

Cox fled to an eastern New Orleans motel, from where he admitted to two cousins in separate telephone conversations that he killed Woods, leading the Kenner Police Department to obtain a warrant for his arrest. Cox admitted the same to another cousin.

Two days after the homicide, the U.S. Marshal’s Service Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Cox outside the bus station in Baton Rouge.

Cox was barred from possessing firearms because of his criminal history. According to the bill of indictment, Cox’s relevant convictions were for distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of cocaine, all of which occurred in Jefferson Parish. Cox was on parole for those offenses at the time he killed Woods, having been released from state prison in May 2015. He was to remain under state supervision through January 2018, according to the Kenner Police Department.

A Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about an hour on April 12 in finding Cox guilty as charged of both counts. Life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence is the mandatory punishment for second-degree murder in Louisiana.

Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court, who presided over the case, denied post-conviction motions for acquittal and a new trial. Judge Molaison ran the sentences consecutively.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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Kenner man convicted of murder, firearm offense

A Kenner man faces a mandatory life sentence in prison for his conviction on Wednesday (April 12) of killing another man on a residential street.

Albert “Wayne” Cox, 38, was convicted as charged of second-degree murder for the Oct. 7, 2015, killing of Cornel Woods. Cox also was convicted as charged of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, for the .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol he used to shoot Woods.

Woods, 42, was shot once in the chest while he stood outside his mother’s home in the 900 block of 27th Street. Cox fired three bullets at Woods, hours after he threatened him in a dispute involving a woman.

Earlier on the day he was shot, Woods socialized with a friend in his pickup truck in their neighborhood when Cox approached them, striking up an argument and calling Woods “a bitch.” Cox then threatened to “pistol-whip” Woods later, the friend testified.

Later that evening, the friend was walking his dog on 27th Street when he noticed Cox walking up the street toward Woods’ home. The friend used his cell phone to call Woods to warn him. Moments later, the friend heard three gunshots and saw the muzzle flashes in front of Woods’ mother’s home.

Of the three bullets Cox fired, one struck a car tire, flattening it, and another one hit a truck. The third bullet struck Woods in the chest, killing him.

After the murder, Cox admitted to his cousin on the telephone that he shot woods. He confirmed the revelation to another cousin in a telephone conversation shortly afterwards. The cousins notified the Kenner Police Department, which obtained a warrant for Cox’s arrest.

Cox also spoke with a third cousin, admitting to her, too, that he shot someone and telling her he needed a place to stay. The U.S. Marshal’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force tracked Cox to Baton Rouge, where the officers arrested him outside the city’s bus station two days after he killed Woods.

Cox was barred from possessing firearms because of his criminal history. According to the bill of indictment, Cox’s relevant convictions were for distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of cocaine, all of which occurred in Jefferson Parish.

The jury deliberated an hour in reaching its unanimous verdicts. Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Cox on Wednesday (April 19).

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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Kenner man pleads guilty to brutalizing girlfriend, gets 17-year sentence

A Kenner man was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Friday (March 17), for forcing his way into an apartment and brutally beating his pregnant girlfriend, and on a separate occasion, for stabbing her in the back.

Durrell Joseph, 21, pleaded guilty as charged to home invasion and aggravated battery, both involving his 20-year-old girlfriend because she wanted to end their abusive relationship. He was scheduled to stand trial on the charges next week.

The home invasion happened on June 13, 2015, when Joseph went to an apartment in the 1000 block of 31st Street. After forcing his way inside by breaking the door off the hinges, he dragged the woman by her hair out of the closet she was hiding in and beat her, causing numerous facial injuries and leading her to lose consciousness.

She told the Kenner Police Department that Joseph beat her because she wanted to end their relationship. As the officers interviewed her, she further disclosed that on Dec. 18, 2014, she told Joseph she wanted to leave the relationship because he was unfaithful.

During the ensuing argument, as she walked away from him, Joseph stabbed her in the back. Joseph apologized, and he then fabricated a story for police, asserting that she was attacked by a group of women.

The victim told police that she went along with Joseph’s story, because she feared he would harm her if she told the truth.

In court Friday, the victim provided impact testimony, struggling through tears as she tried to tell the court how the crimes affected her. “I forgive him,” she testified, adding that she did not want to see the father of her child spend the rest of his life in prison. “I’m a forgiving person.”

Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea, sentenced Joseph to 17 years for the home invasion and 10 years for the aggravated battery. The sentences were run concurrently.

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

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