Tag: new orleans police department

New Orleans man on 4-state crime spree convicted of Kenner armed robbery

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Dec. 13) found a New Orleans man guilty of robbing a Kenner business, part of a crime spree in which he committed similar heists in four states during a three-month period in early 2014.

Steven J. Rodney, 34, was convicted as charged of the armed robbery of the Walmart at 300 West Esplanade Ave., on March 7, 2014.

About 8:30 p.m., Rodney approached a 25-year-old employee working at a check-out register, lifted his shirt to reveal a pistol and then pointed it at her before returning it to his pants waistband, according to the Kenner Police Department. He ordered the employee to escort him to near an exit, where he fled with about $1,500, according to trial evidence.

Rodney arrived in the area on a commercial flight from Las Vegas on March 5, 2014, according to trial evidence. The day after, on March 6, he is accused of robbing the American Apparel store in the 3300 block of Magazine Street in New Orleans. And then, on March 8, 2014, the day after the Kenner robbery, he returned by air to Las Vegas, according to trial evidence.

Kenner and New Orleans police detectives determined that the same suspect committed both crimes. With the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police identified Rodney as the robber.

In all, between January 2014 and March 2014, Rodney robbed businesses in Colorado, California, Nevada and Kenner and New Orleans, traveling by commercial airlines between the locations to commit the crimes.

Rodney admitted to the Jefferson Parish jury that he committed the crimes to feed his addiction to Oxycodone. He denied using a dangerous weapon, asserting he used a toy gun that shoots rubber projectiles. As such, he asserted he was not guilty of armed robbery.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about an hour before returning its verdict. Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Rodney on Jan. 8.

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

Adam Littleton sentenced to life for Jasilas Wright’s I-10 death

Adam Littleton was sentenced Thursday (Nov. 9) to a mandatory life sentence in prison, for his criminal culpability in causing the death of a woman who was fatally struck by vehicles on Interstate 10 in Metairie after she leapt from his moving car in trying to escape him.

Littleton, 26, a Mississippi native, was convicted as charged this summer of second-degree murder in the June 10, 2015, death of Jasilas Wright, 19.

According to evidence presented at trial, Wright met Littleton through her job as a dancer at Bourbon Street night clubs. In May 2015, she traveled with Littleton to Texas, where she engaged in prostitution. Littleton benefited financially from her prostitution.

On the morning she died, Wright and Littleton argued in the French Quarter before he forced her into his car with him, according to a witness.

However, unwilling to travel to Texas again, Wright jumped from Littleton’s car in the westbound lanes of I-10 near the Veterans Memorial Boulevard overpass. She was fatally struck by vehicles.

According to additional evidence presented at trial, Littleton witnessed Wright being struck by vehicles and yet continued driving to Texas. He never notified police.

He did speak with Wright’s family on the telephone, telling them only that she jumped from his car. He hung up and never spoke with them again.

Knowing that warrants for his arrest were pending in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans, Littleton surrendered to authorities in Shreveport.

Littleton was prosecuted under the felony-murder doctrine. Prosecutors alleged that he was engaged in the crime of second-degree kidnapping when Wright died, and as such, he was legally responsible for her death.

Following the conviction, Littleton’s defense counsel sought a new trial, citing numerous complaints. The defense argued, among other things, that prosecutors withheld information about a key witness’s criminal history.

After hearing argument, reading numerous briefs and listening to a recording of the key witness’s trial testimony, Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court ruled he found “no merit” to the defense assertions.

Judge Faulkner then sentenced Littleton to the mandatory life sentence.

The Louisiana State Police, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and New Orleans Police Department investigated the homicide.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Megan Gorman prosecuted the case.

Adam Littleton guilty of murder in I-10 death of Jasilas Wright

Adam Littleton, a Mississippi native, was found criminally responsible on Friday (July 28) for the death of a woman who attempted to escape his vehicle after being kidnapped by jumping from his car on Interstate 10 in Metairie.

Littleton, 25, was convicted as charged of second-degree murder in the June 10, 2015, death of Jasilas Wright, 19. According to testimony at trial, Wright met Littleton in connection with her job as a dancer at Bourbon Street nightclubs.

Littleton was prosecuted under the felony-murder doctrine. Shortly before Wright died, she and Littleton got into an altercation in the French Quarter. Littleton roughed up her to get her into his car, and they drove toward Metairie on I-10. As Wright died during the commission of a second-degree kidnapping, Littleton was found to be legally responsible for her death.

The month before her death, Wright went with Littleton and another woman to Texas for prostitution, a decision she regretted after he initially abandoned her there without money, she told family and friends in New Orleans in emotional phone calls, jurors heard this week in testimony.

Wright sought to distance herself from Littleton and the lifestyle, said Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish, who prosecuted Littleton with Megan Gorman. “Jasilas was on the highway of human trafficking,” Rish told jurors. “She was looking for her exit.”

Shortly before her death, Littleton and Wright argued on Bourbon Street before he forced her into his car to drive her to Texas. Unwilling to go, Wright leapt from Littleton’s car in the I-10 westbound lanes where the interstate crosses over Veterans Memorial Boulevard. Several vehicles struck her and ran over her body numerous times. Many motorists called 911. But Littleton, who witnessed Wright being struck by cars, continued to Texas.

“What does Adam do? Nothing, because he knows he’s to blame,” Rish told jurors. “He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t call police.”

Wright suffered “massive trauma,” her death caused by “multiple blunt-force trauma,” forensic pathologist Dr. Marianne Eserman testified of her autopsy results.

After collecting personal items from the I-10 lanes and shoulders, the Louisiana State Police identified Wright as the victim, according to testimony. The items included Wright’s cell phone, a key piece of evidence, according to State Police.

Littleton spoke with Wright’s family on the phone, telling them that Wright jumped out of his car. He hung up, and they could never contact him again.

With warrants for his arrest issued in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, Littleton surrendered to police in Shreveport. In addition to the State Police, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the New Orleans Police Department were involved in the investigation.

Littleton faces spending the rest of his life in prison, at hard labor and with no chance of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Littleton on Aug. 22.

 

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