Month: July 2016

Harvey Hustlers gang associate pleads guilty to narcotics charges

A Harvey man with ties to the Harvey Hustlers street gang has pleaded guilty to narcotics trafficking offenses in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence.

Glendale A. Houston, 30, pleaded guilty as charged on Monday (July 25) to two counts of distribution of cocaine, possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine, court records show.

Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea, sentenced Houston to 12 years in prison on each count and ran them concurrently.

Houston was arrested in connection with the local and federal investigation of the Harvey Hustlers, whose members and affiliates were responsible for the movement of illegal narcotics into the West Jefferson area.

The gang, whose roots date to the 1980s, originated in Harvey’s Scotsdale neighborhood and used violence and even homicide to protect its illegal activities. Several of Houston’s associates, including relatives, were prosecuted in U.S. District Court in New Orleans for their involvement in Harvey Hustler activities.

In Jefferson Parish, a grand jury handed up a two-count indictment on Feb. 25, charging Houston with distributing cocaine on two dates in March 2013, court records show. That prosecution concluded on Monday with his guilty pleas.

Houston separately pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and possession of heroin on Monday. Judge Regan sentenced Houston to 10 years in prison on each count, and ran them concurrently with each other and the 12-year sentence he received for the cocaine conviction.

That case stems from his Feb. 10 arrest in Harvey, where officers conducting a narcotics investigation attempted to stop the vehicle Houston was driving, according to the arrest report. Houston led the officers on a brief pursuit through a residential neighborhood.

When he stopped, he threw a large amount of currency to a woman and told her, “Take the money so the police can’t take it,” according to the report.

The officers got the $6,729, in denominations consistent with street-level narcotics sales, along with 2.9 grams of methamphetamine and .6 gram of heroin. He also had a small amount of marijuana, leading to a misdemeanor charge to which he pleaded guilty on Monday and received a 10-day jail sentence.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Orleans Gang Task Force and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the Harvey Hustlers. Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese handled the Houston case.

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New Orleans man pleads guilty to Gretna rape and burglary for 20-year sentence

A New Orleans man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday (July 25), after he pleaded guilty as charged to raping a woman in her Gretna home before stealing some of her belongings.

Tyrone Brown, 26, pleaded guilty as charged to forcible rape and aggravated burglary in connection with the July 4, 2015 crime. He also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after he is released from prison.

About 9 a.m. on the day of the crime, Brown followed the 32-year-old woman home from the French Quarter bar where she had gone the night before. The woman, who was intoxicated, went into her home and neglected to lock the door behind her.

When she emerged from her restroom moments later, Brown was inside of the house. That’s when he forcibly raped her. She blacked out during the crime, she told the Gretna Police Department.

While the victim was unconscious, Brown stole her laptop computer, ATM card and cash. He went to a business on North Broad Street in New Orleans, where he solicited another man to try to use the victim’s ATM card to make a purchase.

Police used surveillance video footage from that business and the French Quarter to develop Brown as a suspect. He was arrested and provided a partial confession.

Calling Brown “a serial rapist” because of another rape conviction, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court accepted the plea and sentenced him to 20 years for the forcible rape and 15 years for the aggravated burglary. She ran the sentences concurrently. Brown will serve the prison time without the benefit of probation, parole or suspended sentence.

Brown then pleaded guilty to being double offender under the state’s habitual offender law and sentenced him to 15 years, which is run concurrently. His previous conviction was for theft of a motor vehicle in 2009 in New Orleans, for which he received five years of probation.

A panel of potential jurors was assembled outside Judge Kovach’s courtroom on Monday morning, for the start of jury selection, when Brown agreed to plead guilty.

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.

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Kenner man pleads guilty in brutal aggravated burglary

A Kenner man admitted in court on Thursday (July 21) that he was one of three suspects who forced their way into a Metairie home last year and brutally beat a 61-year-old woman who lived at the residence.

Allen Narcisse, who turns 38 next week, pleaded guilty as charged to aggravated burglary, aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest by force or violence.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court, who accepted the plea Thursday, is set to sentence Narcisse on Aug. 8 to 20 years in prison. The sentencing was postponed to allow the victim and her family to be in court and provide impact testimony.

Narcisse and two other suspects disguised themselves as workers on Oct. 14 and went to a home in the 3500 block of Bissonet Drive, knocking on the front door and informing the resident they were there to perform work. One of the suspects carried a chain saw as part of the ruse.

When the woman said she didn’t ask for the work, the suspects forced their way inside. Narcisse, a 200-pound construction worker, bore the most culpability, as he severely beat the woman in her face.

A witness to the unfolding crime called 911. Deputy Stephen Bowman of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the dispatch, arriving to find the suspects still in the home.

Narcisse resisted Bowman, leading the deputy to use his Taser as the suspect attempted to escape, according to the arrest report. Narcisse was able to break away and got into a Chevrolet Tahoe, dragging Deputy Bowman for a short distance and then striking the deputy’s patrol vehicle in attempting to escape, according to the arrest report. Bowman suffered minor injuries.

Narcisse drove south on Bissonet in the Tahoe, with another deputy in pursuit in his patrol vehicle with emergency lights activated. The pursuit ended at a car wash business in the 5400 block of Veterans Memorial Boulevard, where Narcisse surrendered.

Judge Enright will sentence Narcisse to 20 years for the aggravated burglary, 10 years for the aggravated assault with a motor vehicle on Deputy Bowman and three years for resisting arrest. The sentences will be run concurrently. Narcisse also agreed to plead guilty on Aug. 8 as a double offender, but the overall sentence will remain 20 years, according to the negotiated plea agreement.

Narcisse is the second suspect to plead guilty in connection with the incident. On March 17, Terry McCall, 29, of Westwego, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a 15-year sentence.

McCall remained in the home, where he comforted the victim’s roommate in another room while Narcisse beat the victim. Deputies found him hiding under a bed. At his plea hearing, he said he didn’t beat anyone. “If I could take it back, I would,” he told the victim in the audience, where she sat with family members. The woman, a cancer survivor, replied, “God bless you, baby.”

The third suspect, Ronald J. Bowman, 38, of Marrero, remains charged with aggravated burglary. The Sheriff’s Office asserted that Bowman ran from the home through the back yard and was apprehended at Riverside and Olympic drives, more than seven blocks away, according to the arrest report.

Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai is prosecuting the cases.

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Avondale man pleads guilty to possessing, distributing child pornography

A 20-year-old Avondale man was sentenced Tuesday (July 19) to 10 years in prison, after he admitted he possessed and distributed child pornography.

Taylor Bourgeois also will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years, beginning on the day he is released from prison, 24th Judicial District Court Judge Lee Faulkner ordered.

Bourgeois’ illegal activities came to light in February, when he was observed discussing in an online chatroom that he raped a 4-year-old girl. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children passed a tip about Bourgeois’ assertions to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit, which, working with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, opened an investigation that led to Bourgeois’ home, according to the arrest report.

After obtaining a search warrant on March 7, state and Sheriff’s Office agents and members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force found a computer and two cellular devices in Bourgeois’ bedroom – along with six potted marijuana plants being grown in a cardboard box in his closet and bagged marijuana weighing 5.2 grams.

Bourgeois, who worked at an ice cream parlor in Westwego, confessed to downloading and possessing child pornography, which was stored on a cellular device, and to sharing several hundred images and videos through a file sharing website, according to the report.

Investigators uncovered images that included infants and girls under age 13 being raped by adult men, according to the report.

He pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday to three counts of possessing child pornography involving children under age 13, three counts of distributing child pornography involving children under age 13 and one count of possessing child pornography involving children between the ages of 13 and 17.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for each of the seven counts. Judge Faulkner ran them concurrently.

Bourgeois told agents that he purchased marijuana seeds about two months prior to his arrest and began growing them in the cardboard box he equipped with a light and fan, according to the arrest report. He also purchased marijuana that was recovered from his bedroom.

He also pleaded guilty Tuesday to two misdemeanor counts of marijuana possession. He received two 15-day sentences for those offenses, run concurrently with the 10-year sentences.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Smith prosecuted the case.

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‘I’m happy I testified against you,’ victim tells her attacker who gets 50-year sentence

A Metairie man who was convicted last month of shooting an Avondale woman during a home invasion two years ago was sentenced on Monday (July 18) to 50 years in prison.

Danny “Noonie” Saulny, 25, a former Avondale resident, shot the then-23-year-old woman at least 10 times, including once in the face, while he and a cohort forced their way into the home in the 100 block of Madeira Drive on Jan. 13, 2014.

The woman testified during the trial last month that she immediately recognized Saulny, whom she had known for years. The gunmen dragged her throughout the home, intent on robbery, before they opened fire, according to trial testimony. While she was shot at least 10 times, she had 15 bullet wounds, including one to her cheek that caused severe damage to her tongue.

In impact testimony on Monday, the victim told the court she was left in a coma following the attack, waking to find her jaw wired shut and facing enduring physical and emotional hardships. She still has a projectile and bullet fragments in her body.

Addressing him by his nickname Noonie, she said she did nothing to him to prompt the shooting.

“God kept me here for a reason, and I am happy I testified against you to get you off the street and keep you from harming anyone else,” she testified.

Saulny declined to make a statement. He was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on June 23 of attempted second-degree murder, home invasion and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court, sentenced Saulny to the maximum 50 years for the attempted murder, 20 years for the firearm offense and 25 years for the home invasion. He ran the sentences concurrently.

“The court finds the victim in this matter was very fortunate to have survived this vicious attack by two people who entered her home and carried out this crime,” Judge Regan said in announcing the sentence.

Saulny was barred by law of possessing guns because of a conviction of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, a crime involving an aggravated second-degree battery in 2010. He also has conviction of felony theft and resisting arrest from 2010.

Prosecutors announced during the sentencing hearing they intend to file a multiple bill charging Saulny as a habitual offender under Louisiana law.

The second gunman was never booked. In a pretrial hearing in Saulny’s case, the victim said she recognized the second gunman in the courtroom by a tattoo on his hand. Detectives questioned him, but prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence on which to base criminal charges, according to testimony.

Assistant District Attorneys Blair Constant and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.

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Marrero man sentenced to 60 years in prison for armed robberies

A 54-year-old Marrero man whose DNA linked him to two seemingly unrelated crime scenes on opposite sides of the Mississippi River five years ago was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Monday (July 18), for his conviction of five counts of armed robbery.

Jonathan Isaac’s undoing was the two Newport cigarettes he smoked outside Subway stores in Marrero and Old Jefferson before he and a cohort rushed inside to rob the employees. He left behind his genetic material on the butts, providing Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives a break in solving the cases. He also was convicted of robbing a GameStop in Marrero.

Although three businesses were robbed, he was charged with five counts of armed robbery, one for each of the five employees who were the victims. During the robberies, each of the Subways had two employees working, and the GameStop had one employee at the time.

Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court, sentenced Isaac to 55 years for each of the five counts and ran them concurrently. Judge Mentz granted prosecutors’ request to add five years to each count as an enhancement because firearms were used in the robberies.

The five-year enhancements were run consecutively to each of the 55-year sentences, for a total of 60 years.

Isaac’s cohort, Damion Savage, 42, of Harvey, also was sentenced to 60 years in prison in February. They robbed a Subway on Barataria Boulevard on March 6, 2011, a Subway on Jefferson Highway on March 23, 2011, and the GameStop on March 24, 2011.

Detectives, investigating what initially appeared to be unrelated robberies, found the Newport butts outside the two Subways and had them tested for DNA, according to testimony. Isaac’s genetic material was on both of them.

After identifying Isaac as a suspect, the detectives combed through his cellular phone records. They found numerous calls to Savage around the time of the robberies, who upon being questioned confessed. Cellular transmission towers also provided data showing the suspects were in the general area of the crimes when they occurred, according to testimony.

The detectives also recovered one of Isaac’s fingerprints from a video box behind the counter at the GameStop. In the business’s surveillance video, Isaac is seen touching that box, according to evidence presented during the trial.

Citing his client’s age, Isaac’s attorney objected to the sentence, saying that any punishment over 25 years means a life of imprisonment.

Assistant District Attorneys Angel Varnado and Douglas Rushton prosecuted Isaac.

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West Bank man pleads guilty to fatally stabbing his friend

As a jury was waiting to hear opening statements in his trial, a West Bank man admitted on Wednesday morning (July 13), to fatally stabbing his longtime friend during an argument in a Harvey apartment five years ago.

Melvin Billiot, 52, pleaded guilty as charged to manslaughter and obstruction of justice in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence. He admitted he killed Richard Barrios, who died from a single stab wound to his upper chest on July 19, 2011.

The men, both intoxicated, argued in the apartment they shared in the 4200 block of La Couture Drive, before Billiot stabbed his friend. Manslaughter generally is defined as a homicide carried out in the heat of passion or done where there’s no specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

“I stabbed Richard, but I didn’t mean to kill him,” Billiot wrote on guilty plea forms.

Billiot then removed the kitchen knife, cleaned it and returned it to a drawer, and attempted to clean the blood from his floor. Those actions lead to his being charged with obstruction of justice for tampering with evidence to attempt to distort the criminal investigation.

Detectives gathered several knives from the apartment, and Barrios’ DNA was located on one of them, leading authorities to say it was used in the homicide. Deputies also used the leuco-crystal violet substance at the crime scene and found the presumptive presence of blood throughout the apartment.

“Richard was supposed to be Melvin’s friend,” Barrios’ sister Santa Marie Cardenal told the court in impact testimony. “Richard and Melvin grew up together. You don’t do that to a friend.”

Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court, in accepting the negotiated plea, sentenced Billiot to 20 years in prison for each offense. Judge Sullivan ran the sentences concurrently.

Billiot and his sister, Pamela Billiot Leblanc, initially were booked by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office with obstruction of justice. They both asserted Barrios fell and said nothing about the stabbing until emergency medical technicians found the stab wound.

Billiot was later booked with the homicide. He confessed to stabbing Barrios when questioned the Sheriff’s Office.

Leblanc was never formally charged in connection with the crime and later died following an illness.

A jury was seated late Tuesday night and was in a room adjacent to the courtroom waiting to hear opening statements when Billiot pleaded guilty.

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

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Harvey man gets 20 years for fentanyl and gun possession charges

A Harvey man was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday (July 12), after he pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing fentanyl, the synthetic opiate painkiller federal authorities say is linked to a spike in overdose deaths in the United States in recent years.

After a jury was seated for his trial, Courtney Ables, 36, pleaded guilty as charged to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Ables to 20 years for each offense without the benefit of probation or suspended sentence, and ran them concurrently.

Judge Grefer then sentenced Ables to 20 years as a triple offender, also run concurrently. Ables’ criminal history includes convictions of aggravated flight from an officer, writing worthless checks and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than street-level heroin and has been linked to thousands of overdoses and deaths nationwide during the past two years – Prince’s death on April 21 was ruled an accidental overdose from fentanyl. The DEA last month issued an alert to law enforcement officers, warning them to handle the narcotic carefully during investigations.

Ables’ charges stemmed from his March 8, 2015 arrest by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, whose deputies went to a home in the 4000 block of Indigo Court to investigate a complaint about a gun being fired. A resident reported that someone fired a bullet through his exterior wall and into a bedroom, according to the arrest report.

Deputies investigating the bullet trajectory traced it to the neighboring home – where Ables lived with his parents, according to the report. The parents denied knowledge of a firearm being discharged but allowed the deputies to search the house.

The deputies noted the bullet was fired from within Ables’ bedroom. They found Ables hiding in his parents’ bathroom, according to the report.

In the back yard, meanwhile, a deputy noted an overturned children’s swimming pool and found underneath it a gray lock box, the key to which was on Ables’ keychain, according to the report. Inside it were two pistols and 16 grams of fentanyl packed in individual baggies for resale.

Ables pleaded guilty to both offenses on Aug. 25, 2015. However a panel of judges at the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal vacated the plea and sentencing on Feb. 25, finding an error in how the plea was handled in the trial court.

On remand, Ables initially opted to stand trial, which began Tuesday morning with jury selection. He changed his mind and pleaded guilty to the charges a second time late in the afternoon just after a jury was seated.

Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Sanderson and Josh Vanderhooft prosecuted the case.

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New Orleans teen pleads guilty to manslaughter in Harvey homicide

A New Orleans teenager pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Tuesday (July 12), as the gunman in a Harvey shooting that left a 24-year-old man dead.

Everis Hilton, 18, will be sentenced to 40 years in prison, the maximum for manslaughter, during a July 18 hearing, Judge Lee Faulkner of the 24th Judicial District Court said Tuesday in accepting the guilty plea.

Hilton was 16 years old on June 27, 2014, when he and another teen planned to rob Demone Robinson of Xanax pills. Robinson was shot multiple times and died in the 1000 block of Inca Drive.

Hilton was charged with second-degree murder and, because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense, he potentially faced life in prison with or without parole eligibility had he been convicted of that crime. But as part of a negotiated agreement, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

A co-defendant, Raynell Whittaker, 19, of Harvey, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case on June 10. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 to 30 years in prison. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess Xanax, for which he will receive a 2 1/2-year sentence that will be run concurrently with the punishment for manslaughter.

According to court documents, Markeisha T. Lewis, who had been romantically involved with Whittaker’s mother, conceived the plan to rob Robinson of the Xanax pills. She and Whittaker were to meet with Robinson for the transaction, during which they would say, “We about to get crunk” to signal to Hilton to rob the victim.

Upon hearing the signal, Hilton, who was armed, approached and shot Robinson. Hilton then removed Robinson’s pistol and gave it to Lewis, according to court documents.

After returning to Whittaker’s apartment, he asked Hilton why he shot Robinson. Hilton responded, “I had to. He was going to kill me,” according to court documents.

Lewis, 25, of Harvey, awaits trial on charges of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to possess Xanax in connection with Robinson’s death.

At the time a Jefferson Parish grand jury handed up charges in Robinson’s homicide, Whittaker and Everis already were in state prison in connection with their guilty pleas to armed robbery in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

That crime happened sixteen days before Robinson was killed. Whittaker and Everis admitted they robbed a man of his cell phone in the 600 block of Third Street, in New Orleans’ Irish Channel. They are currently serving 10-year prison sentences for that crime.

Judge Faulkner is running the sentences for the Harvey crime concurrently with the sentences they are serving for the New Orleans armed robbery.

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

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Worthless checks information now available at DA’s website

In his ongoing quest to provide the citizens of Jefferson Parish with updated information, District Attorney Paul D. Connick, Jr. has included a Worthless Checks page on his office’s website,

Our Worthless Checks Section staff, part of the Economic Crimes Unit, attempts to recoup losses incurred when people write checks on accounts having insufficient funds or that are closed. Our staff can attempt to secure restitution or assist in processing criminal complaints.

In addition to the new web page, we offer tips on safeguarding against accepting worthless checks on the page on our “Frequently Asked Questions,” or FAQ page, which is accessible through the menu bar at the top of our website.

The Worthless Checks page is found under the criminal departments menu and through the section page links at the bottom of the website.

The page also includes PDFs for a sample demand letter victims can use when seeking payment for bad checks, and a worthless checks affidavit.

The new page is the latest edition to the newly rebuilt site. Last month, The District Attorney’s Office launched its new mobile page, allowing users access to all online content, including news releases that were not previously available to people equipped with Androids or iPhones.

The Worthless Checks page can be found here.

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