Month: July 2017

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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Marrero man sentenced to life in prison for murdering his boss

A Marrero man who murdered his boss at their Kenner workplace was sentenced on Monday (July 24) to a mandatory life sentence in prison.

John Spears, 52, was convicted last month of the second-degree murder of Anthony Tardo on Dec. 4, 2015.

Tardo, 49, was described as a “generous, most caring person” with a “contagious laugh,” his family said in an impact testimony letter that was read aloud in court during the sentencing hearing. Through his “cowardly” act, Spears robbed Tardo’s wife, their three children and his extended family of a life with him, his family said.

Tardo, of Mandeville, was the supervisor at Houston Marine Training Services in the 2500 block of Williams Boulevard, where Spears was employed as an instructor. He was seated at his desk in his office when Spears appeared in the doorway.

Other employees said they heard Tardo say loudly, “What the f—,” before hearing one gunshot. Tardo was struck in the chest and died within a minute, according to trial testimony.

Spears then calmly told co-workers to call 911. He walked outside to the parking lot, where he unloaded his .40-caliber pistol and remained until Kenner Police Department officers arrived. He later pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity, asserting that mental illness and a related blackout prevented him from distinguishing right from wrong.

A Jefferson Parish jury on June 15 deliberated less than 1 ½ hours in rejecting Spears’ insanity defense, finding him guilty as charged.

Judge June Berry Darensburg of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the mandatory life sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rhonda Goode-Douglas prosecuted the case.

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