Tag: Westwego Police Department

Man sentenced to life in prison for raping, impregnating 12-year-old girl

Days after he was convicted by a jury, Jose Ivan Moreno Cervantes was sentenced Monday (May 7) to a mandatory life sentence in prison for raping and impregnating a 12-year-old girl in West Jefferson.

Cervantes, 36, was convicted as charged last week of the first-degree rape of a child whose pregnancy went undiagnosed into its eighth month, when a school official raised question.

The child then told authorities that Cervantes raped her three times, according to evidence presented during the trial.

Noting the victim’s bravery for testify against Cervantes, Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court said during the sentencing hearing that adults are charged with caring and supporting children.

“It’s our obligation to protect them, and you did just the opposite,” Judge Molaison told Cervantes. “You preyed upon a child for your own sexual gratification.”

The victim gave birth in September 2015. DNA testing confirmed that Cervantes is the father. After he was booked, his family had the child sign an affidavit swearing that she impregnated herself with one of Cervantes’ used condoms. The victim willingly signed it only so that her son would have a father in his life.

Cervantes must serve life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

Man convicted of raping, impregnating 12-year-old girl

A Jefferson Parish jury on Tuesday (May 1) found a man guilty of raping and impregnating a 12-year-old girl in West Jefferson, rejecting the defendant’s assertion that the victim used his discarded condom to cause the pregnancy.

Jose Ivan Moreno Cervantes, 36, who at the time of his arrest resided in Denham Springs, was convicted as charged of first-degree rape of a juvenile under age 13, a crime that carries a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Cervantes raped the girl three times, twice in Westwego and once in his car in Marrero, according to evidence presented during the two-day trial. School officials suspected in late August 2015 that the child was pregnant, a suspicion the mother initially rejected.

However, that same day, a pediatrician confirmed that the victim was 8 ½ months pregnant. She then told authorities that she had been raped by Cervantes, who by this point had vanished from Jefferson Parish. The victim was 12 years old when she gave birth in September 2015.

Police obtained a warrant for Cervantes’ arrest, and a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force apprehended him in July 2016, when the newborn was nine months old, according to evidence presented during the trial.

DNA testing established that Cervantes is the father. Prior to trial, the victim and her mother signed an affidavit at the behest of Cervantes’ family, asserting that the child obtained one of his used condoms and impregnated herself. She later refuted the assertions spelled out in the affidavit, saying she signed it in hopes her child would have a father.

The jury deliberated less than a half-hour in convicting Cervantes. Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Cervantes on Monday (May 7).

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

 

 

Terrytown teen sentenced to life with parole in Westwego murder

A Terrytown teen was sentenced Wednesday (April 4) to life in prison with the benefit of parole eligibility for killing a 15-year-old boy in Westwego.

Chamid Davis, 19, committed the second-degree murder of Kevin Thomas Jr., on Oct. 19, 2015, a Jefferson Parish jury decided last month.

Davis, who was 16 years old at the time, lured Thomas out of his family’s apartment in the Tanglewood complex in the 1000 block of Sycamore Drive, under the guise of a marijuana transaction, according to evidence presented at trial.

Evidence showed Thomas was shot three times in his back as he ran back up to his apartment, where he died in his mother’s arms. According to prosecutors’ theory of the case, Thomas was targeted over a stolen gun.

With Thomas’ father standing by her side in court Wednesday, Thomas’ mother provided impact testimony, thanking the Westwego Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. “You destroyed a whole family, not only ours, but yours,” she told Davis.

Because he was under age 18 at the time of the offense, Davis is eligible to seek parole after serving 25 years of his life sentence. After denying defense motions for a new trial and post-verdict judgment of acquittal, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court announced the sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.

Terrytown teen convicted in Westwego murder

A Terrytown teen was convicted Friday night (March 23) of luring a 15-year-old boy out of his family’s Westwego apartment and fatally shooting him as he fled for his life.

Chamid Davis, 19, committed the second-degree murder of Kevin Thomas Jr., the Jefferson Parish jury decided.

The motive: Retaliation for Thomas allegedly stealing a gun. “It is really dumb to kill someone over a stolen gun,” Assistant District Attorney Matt Clauss, who prosecuted with Lindsay Truhe, said in closing argument. He called it “foolery.”

Just after midnight on Oct. 19, 2015, Davis, then age 16, contacted Thomas and, under the guise of a marijuana transaction, had him leave his home in the Tanglewood apartment complex in the 1000 block of Sycamore Drive, according to evidence presented at trial.

Evidence shows Thomas was shot in the back three times as he fled up the stairs to his apartment to escape the gunfire. He died in mother’s arms in their living room, according to trial evidence.

Davis denied it, and his attorney argued that Westwego Police Department detectives arrested the wrong person. The jury deliberated just over an hour before finding Davis guilty.

Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Davis on April 4. Because he was under age 18 when he killed Thomas, Davis will be eligible for parole consideration after serving 25 years of his life sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.

 

Convicted child molester sentenced to 60 years in prison

A Mississippi man who was convicted last week of molesting two juvenile girls in Jefferson Parish was sentenced Thursday (Oct. 12) to 60 years in prison.

Billy Joe Howard, 33, of Kiln, was convicted by a jury on Oct. 6 of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13. The crimes occurred within a 45-day period in July and August 2015.

Howard met the victims, who were ages 11 and 7 when they were molested, through their mothers. He met the women through a dating website. Neither woman was aware of the other until after Howard was arrested. While free on bond in the Jefferson Parish cases, Howard was booked in Harrison County, Miss., accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl.

After rejecting a defense-motion for a new trial and hearing impact testimony from one of the victims and the mother of the other victim, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Howard to 40 years for the sexual battery and 20 years for the indecent behavior.

Judge Sullivan ordered the sentences to be run consecutively, given that there were two separate victims and crimes.

Howard will not be eligible for probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after completing his prison sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

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Mississippi man convicted of molesting Jefferson Parish girls

A Mississippi man was found guilty Thursday night (Oct. 5) of molesting two Jefferson Parish girls during a 45-day period in 2015.

Billy Joe Howard, 33, of Kiln, was convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13.

The victims were ages 11 and 7 when the abuse occurred. Howard encountered the children after meeting their mothers through a dating website, in one case only a week before he molested the child, according to evidence presented to the jury.

He committed the sexual battery of the 11-year-old girl in July 2015, and he committed indecent behavior the following month with the 7-year-old girl.

The victims’ mothers were notified, leading to criminal investigations by the Westwego Police Department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Howard gained his release from custody after posting bond. While awaiting trial, he was accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl in Hancock County, Miss., according to evidence presented during the trial.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated just over an hour before returning with its unanimous verdicts at 7:45 p.m. Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Howard on Thursday (Oct. 12).

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

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DA’s statement on refusal of rape charge against man who killed wife, Westwego officer

Statement from Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick, Jr.:

First and foremost, at this time of horrible tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Michael Louviere, the family of Simone Veal, and the entire law enforcement community.

Sylvester Holt, Jr. (DOB 8/3/1984) was booked in Jefferson Parish with first-degree rape last year (under JPSO Item No. E-02768-16). The victim who made the rape allegation told authorities that she met the unknown suspect on May 4, 2016, while she was on a street near a bar in New Orleans and willingly got into his vehicle with him believing they were going to his home in Metairie.  However, the victim said he stopped at a location in Metairie and raped her at gunpoint in his car.  After being identified as the suspect and subsequently arrested, Holt denied raping the victim and claimed the sexual encounter was consensual.

In December, JPSO detectives and DA’s Office investigators attempted to locate the victim in New Orleans, to no avail, and the victim did not respond to voice messages left on her cell phone. On the night of Dec. 20, 2016, the victim left a voicemail with, and later sent text messages to a DA’s Office investigator, saying she did not wish to pursue charges.  She was subsequently located and brought to the DA’s Office.  During the course of the interview, she said for the first time she had met Holt on a previous occasion.  She claimed she saw him again on the night of the incident and reiterated the rape allegation, but again insisted that she did not wish to pursue the charges.

A follow-up meeting was scheduled, but she continued to be uncooperative. With assistance from the JPSO, the victim was located and transported to the DA’s Office for the follow-up interview on Dec. 29, 2016.  At that time she remained uncooperative and insisted that charges be dropped.  She requested and signed an affidavit saying she wished to withdraw the charges.

On Jan. 5, 2017, she left a voicemail with a DA’s Office investigator, inquiring about the status of the investigation and reiterated her desire not to pursue charges against Holt. She once again requested that the charges be dropped.

Therefore, after reviewing the evidence, and in light of the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate with the prosecution, the DA’s Office determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed without her participation. As such, the charge was refused two weeks ago, on Jan. 6, 2017.

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