Month: May 2016

Gretna man who claimed false confession convicted of forcibly raping teenage girl

A Gretna man who testified during his trial that the “high-grade marijuana” he smoked moments before meeting with a detective was among the reasons he falsely confessed to raping a teenage girl was convicted on Friday (May 27) of sexually abusing the victim.

Omar Duplessis, 31, faces five years to 40 years in prison for his conviction of forcible rape. He was found guilty of raping the teen beginning when she was 13 and ending the on day before Thanksgiving in 2014, when she was 16. The victim, now 17, testified that Duplessis used force when he raped her numerous times.

Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court rendered the verdict, because Duplessis waived a trial by jury. “The court finds the State of Louisiana has carried its burden,” Judge Sullivan said in announcing the verdict immediately following closing arguments. “The court finds Omar Duplessis guilty as charged of forcible rape.”

Duplessis, who had awaited trial while free on a $100,000 bond, was remanded to the parish jail until his sentencing hearing on June 16.

The girl’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 to failure to report the commission of certain felonies, meaning the rape. She received two years of active probation, because she did not disclose to authorities that Duplessis sexually abused her daughter. She and her mother – the victim’s grandmother – testified for the defense.

The victim twice told her mother about the abuse, but the mother did nothing, according to testimony. The victim then disclosed the abuse to her uncle on Dec. 2, 2014, the uncle testified. Police were notified, and Duplessis was arrested the same day.

Duplessis initially denied the charge, telling Gretna Police Department Detective Jerry Broome that the girl falsely accused him of rape out of resentment. However, in subsequent interviews that were videotaped, Duplessis confessed to Broome that he had had sex with the girl.

In his second statement, he told the detective that he was “drunk and stoned,” and watching television in his bed when the girl got into bed with him, disrobed and “kind of” had sex. He said he told the girl to stop and leave. He said it was the only time it happened, and he denied the girl’s accusations that they’d had sex before.

He opened his third recorded statement saying, “I’m hurting, and my life is over,” he told the detective. “This hasn’t been the first time,” he confessed. “At least four times, maybe five, maybe, like once every – I don’t know.”

Duplessis testified on Friday that he was at his job as a longshoreman on New Orleans’ riverfront when he learned of the accusations against him. He said he did not immediately go to police but used marijuana beforehand to help him relax.

“I smoked a blunt of some high-grade marijuana,” he testified under cross-examination. He blamed the marijuana, long work hours during the days preceding the police interview and Broome for what he asserted was a false confession.

The victim disclosed the rapes at the Jefferson Children’s Advocacy Center and to Dr. Jamie Jackson, an expert in child sexual abuse pediatrics at the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation (CARE) Center at Children’s Hospital. “She actually talked about trying to fight, about being pinned down,” Jackson testified.

The victim testified she was 13 when the first rape happened, after school and when she was home alone with Duplessis. The rape happened frequently, she said. “Sometimes it happened at night. Sometimes it happened during the day,” she testified.

Assistant District Attorneys Rhonda Goode-Douglas and Marko Marjanovic prosecuted the case.

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Jury rejects Avondale man’s claim of being framed, convicts him of drug and gun charges

Westley Simmons told jurors that Jefferson Parish deputies framed him as payback for a 2007 crime in New Orleans, where he shot a rifle at a police officer. “They put crack on me, heroin on me and a gun they got out the back,” he testified of his Nov. 15, 2014 arrest in an apartment in Harvey’s Tallow Tree neighborhood.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about 3 1/2 hours on Wednesday night (May 25), finding Simmons guilty as charged of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of tramadol without a prescription and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Simmons, 26, of Avondale, who declined a pretrial offer this week to plead guilty in exchange for a 10-year sentence as a double offender, will be sentenced on June 17 by 24th Judicial District Court Judge Ray Steib.

He faces 10 years to 20 years for the firearm charge, two to 30 years for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, four to 10 years for each of the cocaine and heroin possession counts and up to five years for the tramadol.

He was barred by law from possessing guns because of his 2007 conviction in New Orleans Criminal District Court of aggravated assault on a peace officer with a firearm. He additionally had convictions of resisting arrest in 2007 and attempted convicted felon in possession of a firearm in 2009.

Wednesday’s conviction stems from his arrest in an apartment in the 1100 Orange Blossom Lane. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies had gotten an alert through a license plate recognition camera of a stolen Ford Explorer in the area and investigated.

The vehicle was parked in front of the apartment, where a man exited and told deputies that the man who drove the vehicle was inside. The deputies went to the front door, which was not completely closed, and knocked. They smelled marijuana smoke and entered, according to testimony.

They saw Simmons standing in the kitchen. Simmons saw the uniformed deputies and tried to run out of the back door, Deputy Chad Gagnon testified. “Once he saw that, he had the deer-in-the-headlights look,” Gagnon testified.

A locked security bar prevented Simmons from getting out of the back door. Deputy Blake Hollifield testified that Simmons resisted, and the deputy noted a hard object in the suspect’s pants waistband. It was a loaded semiautomatic pistol with a round in the chamber, meaning it was ready to be fired, Hollifield said.

The deputies found in Simmons’ pockets two grams of heroin and 5.5 grams of crack cocaine, wrapped in individual pieces, along with a half-gram of power cocaine and five tramadol pills. The deputies also found a digital scale and a cigar roller in his pockets, along with the key to the stolen vehicle.

A second man, Randy Owens, 32, of Algiers, also was arrested in the apartment. He pleaded guilty on April 27 to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Steib suspended a five-year prison sentence and ordered Owens to serve five years of probation.

Assistant District Attorneys Angad Ghai and Blair Constant prosecuted the case.

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Child sexual predator convicted of failing to register as sex offender

An admitted child sexual predator who molested a prepubescent girl in the 1980s and later wrote journal entries in prison detailing how to kidnap, rape and murder children has been convicted a second time of failing to register as a sex offender.

Tommy Mouton, 62, a former Bridge City resident, faces five years to 20 years in prison. The Jefferson Parish jury that was seated on Tuesday deliberated approximately 15 minutes in the evening before finding Mouton guilty as charged. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to hand down the punishment on June 20.

Mouton failed to alert the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office or any other law enforcement agency of his residency after he was released from prison last year for his first conviction of failing to register as a sex offender.

Mouton finished that five-year sentence on Feb. 12, 2015, and informed the state Department of Corrections that he planned reside in the 200 block of 8th Street in Bridge City. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to register again.

Fifteen days after he was released from prison, police found Mouton in New Orleans, with unused condoms and a bottle of lubricant in his pockets, authorities have said. As a result of his absconding, prosecutors succeeded last year in persuading a 24th Judicial District Court commissioner to order that Mouton be held in jail without bond until his trial.

Mouton pleaded guilty in state court in Jefferson Parish in 1990 to sexual battery, aggravated oral sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile. He admitted he molested a girl over a 21-month period beginning in 1986, when she was six years old.

While serving his 10-year sentence for that crime, corrections officers found in his cell his journal with entries detailing child abuse and drawings of young girls being sexually tortured. Those images led to his conviction in Claiborne Parish to possession of child pornography.

He was released from prison in 2008, but he later failed to register as a sex offender. A Jefferson Parish jury convicted him of that crime in 2010, and Judge Rowan, who presided over that case, too, sentenced him to five years in prison.

Before his release, he was evaluated by a state Sex Offender Assessment Panel, or SOAP, which seeks to determine whether certain inmates pose danger to society.

Mouton shortcut the process by admitting he is a child sexual predator. As such, he was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He was required by law to register as a sex offender within three business days after his release from prison.

He failed to do so, and 15 days after he walked out of prison, members of a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force found him on a sidewalk near the 1800 block of Gravier Street in New Orleans, according to testimony.

Mouton, a U.S. Army veteran, was in downtown New Orleans because of an appointment with nearby the U.S. Veterans Administration hospital, according to testimony. He asserted that when released from Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, La., he rode a bus to New Orleans, where he was homeless and had little money.

Assistant District Attorneys Matt Clauss and Andrew DeCoste prosecuted the case.

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Kenner man, 66, pleads guilty to battering and shooting shotgun at wife

A 66-year-old Kenner man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday (May 23), after he pleaded guilty to committing a battery on his wife during a domestic dispute and then firing a shotgun at her as she ran from their home.

On the day he was scheduled to stand trial, Charles Gussett pleaded guilty as charged to illegal use of a firearm, use of a firearm during a crime of violence and domestic abuse battery, a misdemeanor. He received 10 years for each of the felonies and six months for the misdemeanor, all run concurrently.

Once he’s released from prison, he’ll be barred from being near his wife, 24th Judicial District Judge June Darensburg said in issuing the permanent stay-away order. “It’s permanent, for the rest of your life, her life,” Darensburg told Gussett.

The crimes happened on Oct. 25, 2013, in the couple’s home in the 2100 block of Iowa Avenue, according to the Kenner Police Department. His wife of two years, a community college student who also held down a job, was doing her homework on her laptop computer after she got off work when Gussett asked her about what they’d have for dinner.

An argument followed when she told Gussett she had no dinner plans. He closed her laptop computer, preventing her from continuing her work, and then grabbed her by her neck – committing the domestic abuse battery.

As she ran out of the home, Gussett grabbed a 12-gauge single-barrel shotgun and attempted to fire it at her. The gun did not discharge. That act is the basis for the use of a firearm during a crime of violence charge, with underlying offense being an aggravated assault.

After the gun didn’t fire, she ran. He then discharged the shotgun, committing the illegal use of a firearm. His wife was not injured, but the pellets struck a nearby vehicle and the door of a neighboring house.

He fled but was arrested two days later, after returning to the residence, police said. He has been jailed since then.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Molly Massey prosecuted the case.

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New Orleans man pleads guilty in auto theft racketeering case

Two weeks after he was named in a racketeering indictment charging 13 people in a sweeping car theft ring, an eastern New Orleans man pleaded guilty on Friday (May 20) to his role in an enterprise that the indictment alleges to be responsible for almost one-third of the stolen vehicles in Jefferson Parish in recent years.

Jimmie “Black” James, 28, pleaded guilty as charged to racketeering, conspiracy to commit theft, seven counts of theft and one count of altering a motor vehicle identification number. Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea, deferred the sentencing, which is set for the week of Sept. 19.

James and 12 other men are named in a 34-count indictment that a Jefferson Parish grand jury handed up on May 5. According to the indictment, the men were responsible for an estimated 32 percent of Jefferson Parish’s auto thefts in 2014 and 2015, amounting to losses exceeding $2.5 million.

According to the indictment, James’ role in the criminal enterprise involved defeating vehicles’ door locks and ignitions and delivering the stolen vehicles to other members of the enterprise. His expertise was in stealing and tagging diesel trucks, according to the indictment.

James pleaded guilty to stealing a 2005 GMC Yukon XL on April 13, 2015; a 2006 Ford F250 on April 16, 2015; a 2003 GMC Yukon on April 23, 2015; a 2006 Chevrolet 1500 on May 4, 2015; a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado on June 10, 2015; a Chevrolet Silverado on June 11, 2015; and a Chevrolet Silverado on May 2, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing a Chevrolet 2500 whose vehicle identification number had been altered in order to conceal the truck’s identity.

Others named in the indictment are Parrish Norris, 41; Jason A. Mercadel, 38; Oliver D. Green, 46; Patrick N. Robinson III, 28; Patrick N. Robinson Jr., 49; Cardell E. Torrence, 39; Ronnel A. Kyles, 29; Kevin A. Martin, 29; Brandon P. Evans, 30; Keith A. Nero, 29; Shon R. Claiborne, 27; and Ronald J. Johnson, 29.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Unit and the Louisiana State Police handled the investigation.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese, Lindsay Truhe and Thomas Sanderson are prosecuting the cases.

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Metairie man faces 25 to 99 years in prison for sexual battery of 7-year-old girl

A former Metairie resident faces 25 years to 99 years in prison, for his conviction Tuesday night (May 17) of fondling a child.

Alejandro Bravo, 45, was convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, in connection with at least three instances of touching that happened over a period of time ending in March 2013, when the girl was 7 years old. Bravo was acquainted with the child through her step-grandmother.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about three hours before delivering its verdict at 8 p.m. Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Bravo on May 26.

According to trial testimony, the girl was visiting the step-grandmother at her Severn Avenue home on March 9, 2013, when the last incident occurred. The child, now 10, testified Tuesday that he touched her inappropriately after she sat on Bravo’s lap to watch a video on a computer.

The step-grandmother testified she heard the child tell Bravo to stop touching her and then questioned the child apart from Bravo. The child disclosed that the man had touched her genitals, the woman testified.

The step-grandmother called her own mother before she told the child’s parents, who in turn notified the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Still, the step-grandmother testified that she did not believe the child.

The child testified she recalled three instances of Bravo touching and hurting her. She learned that Bravo’s behavior was wrong only “when the police came to my house,” she testified.

Sgt. Terri Danna, a Sheriff’s Office juvenile crimes detective who has investigated hundreds of child sex abuse cases, testified she got involved in the investigation on March 11, 2013, two days after the child disclosed Bravo’s touching.

Danna testified the child disclosed the abuse to her, too. The detective obtained an arrest warrant more than two weeks later, after the victim disclosed the abuse to a forensic interviewer at the Jefferson Children’ Advocacy Center.

The child also disclosed the crimes to a child abuse physician at the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation (CARE) Center at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, according to trial testimony.

By that point, Bravo had vanished, Danna testified. “I had to suspend the investigation pending his apprehension,” she testified.

Bravo remained at large until May 2015, when he was located in Minnesota and extradited to Jefferson Parish, Danna testified. Danna said that during her interview with the suspect, the only statement he volunteered was that his coworkers in Minnesota used cocaine.

Bravo testified Tuesday, telling jurors the child “obviously” was lying.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Michael Smith prosecuted the case.

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Marrero man pleads guilty to stabbing sons, attacking wife and other crimes

A Marrero man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday (May 16), after admitting he stabbed two of his young sons and attacked his wife because he was angry over the impending break-up of their marriage.

Kenny L. Dupre, 32, pleaded guilty as charged to two counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the June 26, 2015, crimes at his home in the 1500 block of Stella Place.

He admitted he cut his 7-year-old son in the neck as the boy slept, causing a superficial injury, and then stabbed his 13-year-old son nine times as he attempted to protect his little brother.

Dupre also admitted he attacked his wife and then broke into another home as he attempted to elude Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Judge Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, in accepting the plea deal, sentenced Dupre to 25 years in prison for each of the attempted murder counts, five years for domestic abuse aggravated assault and six years for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling.

Dupre additionally pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and domestic abuse battery, for which he was sentenced to six months on each offense.

Judge Adams ran the sentences concurrently, for a total of 25 years. Dupre was scheduled to stand trial on the charges this week.

According to witnesses, Dupre and his wife were involved in an argument, during which she said their marriage would end. He acted out, drinking bleach before leaving the home. He returned hours later about 3 a.m., asserting that if he couldn’t have his wife, no one could.

His wife attempted to leave the home in her car, but he had slashed the tires. He then threw a rock through the windshield, leading her to run down the street.

Dupre then went back into the home, where his mother-in-law was with the couple’s three sons. Dupre went to a second-floor bedroom where the boys were and cut the 7-year-old boy. The older son jumped onto his brother to shield him from their father, leading to his receiving nine stab wounds, one of which lacerated his liver.

Sheriff’s deputies, meanwhile, responding to the wife’s 911 call, arrived at the home and saw Dupre looking through a second-floor window, according to the arrest report. Deputies heard screams from within the house, leading them to force their way inside through the locked front door.

Their grandmother told the deputies that Dupre was stabbing the children, and the officers found one of the boys standing at the top of the stairs, bleeding, according to the arrest report. The third son was not harmed.

Dupre jumped out of a second-floor window and ran to a home in the 1600 block of Lisa Drive, where he set his bloody shirt on fire in a utility room before entering the house, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The residents of that home alerted deputies. Inside, Dupre retreated to a bathroom with a knife and cut his arms, causing superficial wounds. Deputies used a canine to apprehend Dupre.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.

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‘I’m just glad I’m working,’ Miss Lou tells DA Paul Connick of 70-year work history

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Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. thanked Rosemary “Miss Lou” Urso for her 70 years of service on Thursday. (JPDA photo) 


As she has done for almost every grand jury proceeding in recent memory, Rosemary “Miss Lou” Urso spent the morning on Thursday (May 12) assisting Jefferson Parish prosecutors as they presented cases to the panel at the District Attorney’s Office building in Gretna.

But on this morning, she was called away from her desk on the first floor to meet with Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick, Jr., who awaited her in his fifth floor office.

Miss Lou, as she’s widely called, has worked with the Jefferson Parish judicial system for 70 years, likely longer than anyone in the local government. Thirty of those years were spent at the district attorney’s office.

Connick, the parish’s top prosecutors for two decades, wanted to express his appreciation.

“Thanks for being with us,” Connick told her. “Thanks for what you do.”

“We’re fortunate to have you,” First Assistant District Attorney Steve Wimberly added. “We really are.”

For Miss Lou, the words were among the accolades she’s received during the past week in recognizing the seven decades she’s given at the parish courthouse in Gretna.

“It’s just been my whole life,” she told Connick and Wimberly of her work.

At age 86, Miss Lou says she has no plans to retire. “Not as long as the Lord lets me work,” she said after meeting with the top prosecutors. “I’ll work.”

She was a 16-year-old senior at Gretna High School when in 1946 she was offered a job as a secretary under then-District Attorney John Fleury. At the time, the 24th Judicial District, based at what today is the Gretna City Hall, encompassed Jefferson, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes.

Fleury retired in 1948, and Miss Lou recalled how her new boss, District Attorney Frank Langridge, and then-Judge L. Robert Rivarde, had to drive out to “the country” to hold court in the rural parishes. The state redrew the judicial district lines in 1954, when the 24th Judicial District was confined to Jefferson Parish’s boundaries.

Miss Lou remained Langridge’s secretary from 1948 to 1972, when he left office, and remained at the District Attorney’s Office under John Mamoulides before retiring in 1976 after three decades.

Her retirement was short lived. In October 1976, she started working for Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court William “Bill” Justice. She never left. Although she works for Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer today, Miss Lou continues assisting prosecutors with grand jury work on most Thursdays.

That’s what she was doing on May 5, when employees at the District Attorney’s Office presented her with a cake and flowers. The following night, she attended a District Attorney’s Office reunion in Gretna, unaware beforehand that the social event was also held in her honor.

She was presented with a framed proclamation from the Jefferson Parish Council, naming it Rosemary Urso Day. “It’s beautiful,” she said.

Gegenheimer also presented her with a certificate of appreciation, as Mamoulides, retired appellate Judge Marion Edwards – a former first assistant district attorney – and 24th Judicial District Commissioner Paul Schneider looked on.

Back at her desk outside the grand jury meeting room after meeting with Connick and Wimberly, Miss Lou collated the morning’s returns and expressed wonderment over the attention she’s been receiving.

“I think that there are other people that deserve it much more than I do,” she said. “All I did was work. I’m just glad I’m working.”


Rosemary “Miss Lou” Urso began working at the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office as a secretary in 1946 and continued working for the office until a short-lived retirement in 1972. That year she began working for the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court, although she has continued assisting the district attorney’s office. Her career has spanned four district attorneys, starting with John Fleury and continuing with Frank Langridge, John Mamoulides and Paul D. Connick Jr. To mark her 70th year of employment, coworkers presented her with a cake, she met with District Attorney Connick and was presented a certificate of appreciation by Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer.

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Gretna man pleads guilty, gets 20 years for killing Carnival float driver while driving drunk

A Gretna man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday (May 10) after pleading guilty to killing a Carnival float tractor driver in Marrero while driving drunk.

Michael Burrle, 56, pleaded guilty as charged to vehicular homicide and reckless operation of a motor vehicle in connection with the Feb. 7, 2015, collision at Lapalco Boulevard and Paxton Street.

Burrle admitted he caused the death of Don Dauzat, 53, of Westwego, who was driving the tractor he used to pull a float in a Metairie parade the night before.

At the time of the collision, Burrle’s blood-alcohol content was .12 percent, which is 50 percent above the legal limit to drive.

He was speeding westward on Lapalco just before 3 a.m., in a 2001 Ford Explorer, when he ran the red light at Paxton, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Dauzat, meanwhile, was in a convoy of tractors and had just turned onto Lapalco from Paxton when the 2012 John Deere he was driving was struck by Burrle’s sports-utility vehicle. The impact sent the tractor rolling about 70 feet, and Dauzat was ejected.

Dauzat died from his injuries at a hospital later that day. Burrle was arrested at the scene.

Dauzat was among the tractor drivers who pulled floats in the Krewe of Excalibur parade the night before and had just dropped off the floats at a den in Marrero. The drivers, including Dauzat, were driving the tractors in a convoy to a staging area for another parade scheduled for the following night when Burrle caused the fatal collision.

In impact testimony given during the plea hearing Tuesday, Dauzat’s daughter Courtney Dauzat called her father “my protector, comforter, friend and my hero.” She recounted how her father taught her to ride a bike, to “properly cast a fishing pole,” to check the air in her tires and many other things.

“My father taught me a lot about how to have faith in God and how to love others,” she testified. “That night I lost the man who was supposed to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, a day that every daughter looks forward to. I lost the man I felt safest with.

“My father cared for people in such an extraordinary way,” she said. “He always had a glow about him, always smiling, laughing and enjoying his life. I had always looked up to my father and hoped that one day my husband might be half the man my father was.”

Dauzat’s goddaughter, Lindsey Seibert, was among the family and friends who wrote letters to the court. A prosecutor read hers aloud. “Don did what he could to be a protector, a supporter, a husband, a friend, a son, a brother, a dedicated safety coordinator at Monsanto,” Seibert wrote. “He did a damn good job at all of those things and many more.

“We need more people in the world like Don, and unfortunately, we lost one too early that night. His kindness and happiness will live on in our hearts forever, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough,” Seibert wrote.

In accepting the negotiated pleas, Judge Ray Steib of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Burrle to 20 years in prison for the vehicular homicide and 90 days for the reckless operation offense. Steib additionally ordered Burrle to pay a $2,000 fine.

Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai prosecuted the case.

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Harvey man who stabbed rival in turf fight over mom’s yard gets 12 years in prison

A Harvey man who was convicted last month of stabbing another man after being warned to keep off his mother’s lawn was sentenced Monday (May 9) to 12 years in prison as a three-time felon.

Jessie Havies, 34, was convicted of aggravated battery on April 27, for the Aug. 14, 2014 stabbing in the 2600 block of Max Drive in Harvey. According to testimony presented to the six-member jury, the victim and his brother told Havies to stop walking across their mother’s lawn, leading to an argument that escalated to violence.

Using a knife with a four-inch blade, Havies stabbed one of the men, lacerating his liver and leading to more than a week of hospitalization, according to testimony. Havies said he was defending himself, an assertion the jury rejected.

After denying a defense request for a new trial on Monday, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Havies to 10 years in prison, the maximum for aggravated battery. He declined to reconsider his decision, saying he “believes the sentence is appropriate considering the testimony in this matter.”

Prosecutors then filed a multiple bill, charging Havies as a three-time felon under the state’s habitual offender law. The prior convictions cited in the bill were of possession of cocaine and attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Havies pleaded guilty to the bill, admitting he was, in fact, the same person who had those prior convictions. In turn, Sullivan increased the 10-year sentence to 12 years.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Thomas Sanderson prosecuted the case.

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