Month: December 2016

Waggaman man guilty in Marrero shooting that wounded toddler

A Waggaman man was convicted Thursday night (Dec. 15) for his involvement in a retaliatory ambush-style shooting of a Marrero woman and her 2-year-old son, who was struck in his chest by a bullet as he walked with his mother to their apartment.

Kedrick “KK” Anderson, 24, faces up to 50 years in prison for each of the two counts of attempted second-degree murder. A Jefferson Parish jury returned with its guilty-as-charged verdicts at 10:30 p.m., Thursday.

The 25-year-old woman and her toddler were walking between buildings at an apartment complex in the 2800 block of Mount Kennedy Drive, about 11 p.m. on July 13, 2013, when three gunmen opened fire in an ambush. Bullets struck buildings and a shed, as the woman dropped to the ground.

One bullet struck the child in the chest and exited his back, as his mother crawled through the grass to the toddler. She picked up her son and ran around a building to escape to her nearby apartment, according to testimony.

As the woman ran away from the gunfire, she heard more gunshots. She emerged from between two buildings and noticed Anderson, holding a rifle and standing near large garbage bins behind the apartment complex. Anderson fired the rifle but not the bullet that injured the child.

The woman escaped to her apartment, where 911 was called. EMS was dispatched. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Lewis arrived at the apartment, picked up the wounded child and rushed him to paramedics outside, likely saving his life, according to testimony.

The shooting was one in a chain of violent crimes in 2013 involving a dispute between two groups of people who targeted one-another in seeking street justice. The woman and her child were fired upon because of their connection to the child’s father, Antoine Payne, whom his rivals suspected cooperated with police in a 2010 armed robbery case.

Based upon the spent bullet casings recovered at the scene, investigators determined that four firearms were used in the shooting. Two were 9mm pistols, one was a .45-caliber pistol and the fourth was an AK-47 assault rifle, based on the 7.62 by 39mm caliber casings. Those casings were the only ones that could be fired from a rifle, Sheriff’s Office firearms examiner Jené Rauch testified.

The AK-47 casings were recovered from near the garbage bins, where Anderson stood with a rifle during the shooting.

One of the 9mm pistols also was used in two homicides, in Marrero and Metairie, and a shoot-out that continued across the Crescent City Connection to the elevated Westbank Expressway in Gretna on July 16, 2013, detective Sgt. Gary Barteet testified.

The investigation of the shooting of the mother and son continued without results for three months, until Deputy Joseph Ragas spoke with the victim’s family. Ragas knew the victim’s family, an association that provided him with the opportunity to meet with the woman in October 2013. The woman eventually identified the men who shot at her and her son.

“She was afraid,” Ragas testified. “She was afraid to come forward.”

The dispute which led to her son getting shot stemmed from a 2010 armed robbery case, in which Payne pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and received a three-year prison sentence. His co-defendant pleaded guilty to armed robbery and received a 20-year prison sentence. Payne’s plea to a lesser charge led acquaintances to suspect that he cooperated with law enforcement in order to get less prison time.

As such, Payne became a target for violent acts. The victim of the Mount Kennedy shooting testified she was unaware of the ongoing problems her children’s father was having with his rivals. In testimony on Wednesday, she blamed Payne for her son getting shot.

A month after the Mount Kennedy shooting, on Aug. 12, 2013, Payne fired three gunshots from a distance at a car driven by the 22-year-old mother of Anderson’s children as she drove in the 900 block of Beechgrove Boulevard in Bridge City. The woman’s 1-year-old son was in the car with her.

No one was injured, but the woman identified Payne as the gunman. She also said she believed she was targeted in retaliation for the Mount Kennedy shooting, in which Payne’s son was wounded.

For that crime, Payne pleaded guilty last year to aggravated assault and received a 2-year prison sentence followed by three years of probation, the first year of which is to be spent in home incarceration.

Anderson, in testifying on Thursday, denied involvement in the shooting and testified that the woman wrongly identified him. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Anderson on Jan. 17.

Assistant District Attorneys Angad Ghai and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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Marrero man convicted of raping young girl, faces life in prison

A Marrero man will spend the rest of his life in prison for his conviction of raping an autistic young girl.

Timmy W. Doucet, 40, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday afternoon (Dec. 1) of one count of aggravated rape. He was charged with raping a girl here beginning when she was 8 years old.

Doucet is acquainted with the victim, whose identity is not being released. The victim, who is now age 13, disclosed the abuse to her mother in August 2015, years after the abuse ended.

The victim said that Doucet raped her at least once at a Marrero residence beginning in 2011, starting with an incident in which he forced her into a backyard shed to sexually abuse her.

The victim said that the rape hurt and caused her to cry out, so he held his hand over his mouth. Afterward, he threatened to beat her up if she told anyone. The victim also reported that Doucet raped her multiple times at a Mississippi location.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation, leading to Doucet’s indictment and conviction. Doucet also awaits his trial in Pearl River County, Miss., on charges of sexually abusing the girl.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about four hours before returning with its verdict just after 4 p.m., on Thursday afternoon. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court, who presided over the three-day trial, is scheduled to sentence Doucet on Monday (Dec. 5).

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

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Marrero man who ran over ex-girlfriend’s mother with SUV sentenced to life in prison

A Marrero man was sentenced Thursday (Dec. 1) to life in prison as a habitual offender, for a criminal history capped by his recent conviction of running over his ex-girlfriend’s 61-year-old mother with his large sports-utility vehicle on a Harvey sidewalk last year.

Earl Harris, 43, was convicted by a Jefferson Parish jury on Aug. 26 of aggravated second-degree battery. That case stems from the Sept. 15, 2015 incident in the 1100 block of Clydesbank Drive, in the Scotsdale neighborhood.

The victim, who is the grandmother of several of Harris’ children, testified during the trial that she had walked to a cousin’s home on Clydesbank Drive to borrow diapers for one of her grandchildren. She was returning to her nearby home from that errand about 11 p.m., accompanied by a friend, when she noticed the headlights and heard the engine of the SUV being driven up from behind her on the sidewalk, she testified.

Harris used the SUV to strike her before he circled around across lawns for a second strike. He ran over her on the second pass, crushing her left leg. He circled around a third time and stopped, and the victim then noticed that Harris was the driver.

“He looked over at me on the ground and smiled,” she testified during the trial.

Harris circled again a fourth time, aiming at the victim’s friend, who was not injured. The victim’s friend and a nearby resident, meanwhile, called 911.

For the conviction of aggravated second-degree battery, Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Harris on Thursday to the maximum 15 years in prison at hard labor. “I think you were lucky they didn’t charge you with attempted second-degree murder,” Judge Regan told Harris.

The court then proceeded into a multiple bill hearing, with the state seeking an enhanced sentence under the state’s habitual offender law. Four of Harris’ prior felony convictions were used:

  • In 1999, Harris was convicted of distribution of cocaine, for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
  • In 1997, Harris was convicted of distribution of a false controlled dangerous substance, or fake cocaine, and was sentenced to three years in prison.
  • In 1995, Harris was convicted of second-degree battery and was sentenced to three years in prison.
  • In 1991, Harris was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to five years in prison.

After hearing testimony from a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office latent fingerprint examiner, Kortni Sinon, Judge Regan ruled that prosecutors met their burden in proving that Harris is the same person who was convicted of the previous crimes.

Judge Regan then vacated the 15-year sentence he gave for the aggravated second-degree battery and resentenced Harris to mandatory life sentence in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Harris had been scheduled to be sentenced for the aggravated second-degree battery conviction in September, but the hearing was postponed to October after he told the judge in arguing a pro se motion for a new trial that his constitutional rights were violated. He alleged he was not allowed to cross-examine the victim during the trial, a request he made before his trial but one he did not revive as the victim began testifying. Harris was represented by a public defender who aggressively conducted the cross-examination.

Judge Regan denied Harris’ new-trial request and re-set the sentencing and multiple-bill hearings for Thursday. In multiple bill hearings, fingerprint experts match newly obtained prints to those obtained in the prior criminal cases. The intent is to prove that the defendant is the same person who was convicted of the previous offenses listed in the multiple bill.

On Thursday, Harris, who is 6’7” tall, refused to be fingerprinted voluntarily in court for this process, asserting that doing so would violate his constitutional right against self-incrimination. So Judge Regan ordered corrections officers to escort Harris back to the parish jail to be printed. Deputies escorted him back to court peacefully shortly after for the sentencing hearing.

In August, Harris disrupted his trial in front of the jury by creating a disturbance moments after the victim began testifying against him. That led Judge Regan to grant the defense request for a mistrial. Prosecutors prevailed in having that mistrial order overturned at the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. The trial resumed with the victim’s testimony, and Harris was convicted the following day.

Assistant District Attorneys Brittany Beckner and Andrew DeCoste prosecuted the aggravated second-degree battery case.

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