Month: October 2019

First Assistant Steve Wimberly retiring after 23 years; Margaret Hay appointed to the post

Margaret Hay has become first assistant district attorney, replacing Steve Wimberly (left) as second-in-command of the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. (right) named Hay to the post after Wimberly retired. Wimberly had been first assistant since Connick was first elected and took office in January 1997. (JPDA photo)


Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul D. Connick Jr. announced that effective Friday, Nov. 1, First Assistant District Attorney Steve Wimberly will retire after almost 23 years in the position.

Mr. Connick has appointed Chief of Trials Margaret Hay as the office’s new First Assistant District Attorney.

Mr. Wimberly has served as First Assistant since Mr. Connick became District Attorney in January 1997. Following a period of transition, Mr. Wimberly will continue to serve the citizens of Jefferson Parish in a part-time role at the office.

‘Harvey Hustlers’ narcotics supplier convicted of Marrero murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Oct. 31) found Alcus Smith guilty of gunning down a man on a Marrero street in a retaliatory killing six years ago.

Smith, 32, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Donte Hall, 22, who was shot multiple times in the 2600 block of Pelican Bay Boulevard on the night of Nov. 15, 2013.

According to evidence presented at trial, Smith, a narcotics trafficker who was a supplier of the notorious Harvey Hustlers street gang, killed Hall believing that Hall cheated him in a drug transaction.

Smith already is serving a 65-year prison sentence in connection with his 2015 conviction of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute narcotics and distribution of cocaine. He was among 21 people indicted by a Jefferson Parish grand jury in 2015 in a sweeping narcotics racketeering case involving the Harvey Hustlers.

The jury, which was seated Monday, deliberated less than one hour in reaching its verdict. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 14.

UPDATE: Smith’s sentencing hearing was postponed to Dec. 2.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.


Wayne Norman convicted of robbing Thanksgiving shopper, fleeing deputies in stolen vehicle

A Jefferson Parish jury Tuesday night (Oct. 29) found Wayne Norman guilty of robbing a 74-year-old Marrero man at gunpoint in his driveway as the victim carried his family’s Thanksgiving groceries into his home last year.

Norman, 29, of Marrero, was convicted as charged of armed robbery and aggravated flight in connection with his crimes that occurred on Nov. 15, 2018. The jury also found Norman guilty of a lesser, misdemeanor charge of possession of stolen property.

Norman first spotted the victim at his bank, from where he followed him to the grocery. Inside the grocery, Norman went so far as to place a large spiral-cut ham into the victim’s shopping cart and then followed him out of the grocery and to the victim’s home. There, as the victim was bringing groceries into his home, Norman approached, pointed a pistol at the victim’s face and demanded money. The victim complied, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was alerted.

Norman fled on foot and was located inside a Lynnbrook Drive home, where he hid in a child’s bedroom closet. A resident in the home heard something suspicious, and authorities were notified. Deputies found Norman and arrested him.

Some of his clothing items he wore during the robbery were located in a backyard shed at that address. The money and hearing aid batteries that Norman took from the victim were found in Norman’s pocket when he was apprehended.

That same day, Norman was observed driving a 2002 Ford Escape that had been stolen in New Orleans. He fled deputies who tried to stop him and crashed the vehicle into a utility pole in Harvey’s Woodmere subdivision before fleeing on foot. These crimes led to his conviction of aggravated flight and possession of stolen property.

The jury deliberated approximately 45 minutes in convicting Norman of the armed robbery and aggravated flight. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Norman on Monday (Nov. 4).

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

Brandon Martin convicted of murdering teen in Marrero, obstruction of justice

A Jefferson Parish jury early Saturday unanimously found Brandon Cordell Martin guilty of shooting a teen in the head and then attempting to cover his tracks by eliminating evidence tying him to the crime.

Martin, who turned 23 during his trial, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Daz Alexis, 19, of New Orleans.

Martin, who lived in New Orleans and Marrero, and Alexis were in Alexis’ car when Martin shot him behind his left ear on Nov. 19, 2017. He then dumped Alexis’ body in a field near Johnny Jacobs Playground in the 6100 block of 4th Avenue in Marrero.

Martin also was convicted as charged of obstruction of justice, for abandoning Alexis’ car in the 2800 block of Mount Kennedy Drive, tossing the gun and the car keys into a nearby drainage canal and burning the clothing he wore at the time of the shooting.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before returning with its verdicts about 1 a.m., Saturday. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Martin Nov. 7.

Assistant District Attorneys Matthew Clauss and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.

Harvey parents sentenced to prison in child cruelty case

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Oct. 9) sentenced Lionel Smith of Harvey to 13 years in prison after a jury convicted him of cruelty to juveniles upon he and his girlfriend’s children as well as her children from another relationship.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court also sentenced the children’s mother, Cieara Wilson, also of Harvey, to eight years in prison, suspending all but one year of the prison term.

Smith, 32, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on Sept. 5 of four counts of cruelty to juveniles. Wilson, 33, who was tried with Smith, was convicted as charged of two counts of cruelty to juveniles. The crimes, which occurred over a period of years, were reported to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in November 2016, when the children were ages 3, 4, 12 and 14.

Wilson was the mother of all four children, and she had two of the children with Smith, who meted out severe punishment to all four children while Wilson did little to nothing to intervene, Judge Grefer noted. He ordered the parents to view crime scene photos of the children’s injuries during the sentencing hearing.

“They were severe,” Judge Grefer said of the injuries. “They were intentional. They were repeated.”

Smith inflicted the brunt of the beatings. Wilson also beat her kids but not as severely. Still, Judge Grefer noted, Wilson did nothing to stop Smith. “I don’t see how you can allow that to happen to your kids,” he said.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Emily Booth prosecuted the case.