Month: October 2022

Kenner teen convicted of kidnapping elderly Metairie couple

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 26) found Alexsy Mejia guilty of entering an elderly Metairie couple’s home to rob them and then forcing them to drive to a Kenner bank to withdraw money.

Mejia, of Kenner, who was 16 years old when he committed the crimes, was convicted as charged of two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary. He was prosecuted as an adult and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years.

On the afternoon of July 9, 2021, Mejia, concealing his identity by wearing a mask, entered the couple’s Elmwood Parkway home armed with a .38-caliber revolver. He knew the couple, ages 91 and 81, because he had done yard work for them in the past.

He broke into the couple’s home through a rear bathroom window, encountered the 81-year-old woman in their bedroom and threatened to kill her 91-year-old husband if she called out.  He initially demanded they give him $100,000, an amount he reduced as the couple told him they had no cash in the home.

After being told they had no cash in the home, Mejia forced the couple to drive him to their bank branch in the 3500 block of Williams Boulevard. Sitting in the back seat, he repeatedly held the pistol at the man’s head while his wife drove.

At the bank, he demanded that the woman enter to get the cash while the man wait with him in the car. She told him they could not get the cash unless they both signed for it. Mejia agreed to let the couple enter the bank but alleged he had an accomplice who would blow up their house with them in it if they called police.

While Mejia waited in their car, the couple went inside and alerted the branch manager about what happened. The manager called 911. When Kenner police arrived, Mejia fled on foot. Officers gave chase and found Mejia hiding in a garbage can behind a home in the 3600 block of Martinique Avenue.

In his interview by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives, Mejia confessed, saying he targeted the couple because of their age and that he wanted money with which to purchase a car. At trial, his lawyers argued that the police arrested the wrong suspect, and that the detectives obtained the statement improperly.

The jury deliberated about 40 minutes before returning with its unanimous verdicts. Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Mejia on Nov. 9.

Assistant District Attorneys Kristen Landrieu and Carolyn Chkautovich prosecuted the case.

Convicted of shooting bar owner in back 4 times, Jonathon Brown sentenced to 70 years as triple-offender

A Jefferson Parish judge on Friday (Oct. 21) sentenced Jonathon Brown to 70 years in prison, finding that he is career criminal under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.

Brown, 31, of New Orleans, was most recently convicted of shooting a Marrero bar and grill owner four times in the back, leaving him paralyzed, following a fight that occurred outside of the business in the 6500 block of Lapalco Boulevard.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Aug. 25 found Brown guilty as charged of attempted second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

That shooting happened on the morning of Sept. 3, 2019, just three months after Brown was released from a state prison for an unrelated conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A relative of Brown’s initiated the incident by twice groping the bar owner’s wife inside the business. The second groping incident occurred in front of the business owner, as his wife told him what had happened about the first groping incident. That led the owner to order Brown’s relative to leave the business.

The relative defiantly told the owner that he did grope the woman and then spit on the owner. That led to a physical altercation outside the business. After the fight ended, one of the business’s security guards tried to get the owner to return inside.

As the owner walked away, Brown emerged from the parking area and fired four bullets into the owner’s back. The victim collapsed and told his wife he was unable to feel his legs.

The security guard, who was armed, returned fire at Brown. Much of the incident was recorded on the business’s security system. While the image quality was poor, it clearly shows the altercation and Brown lurking in the parking lot leading up the shooting and fleeing immediately after.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to identify Brown in part because he appeared in photographs of the evening’s crowd that were posted on the business’s Facebook page. Detectives arrested Brown at his New Orleans residence on Oct. 11, 2019.

Brown was legally prohibited from possessing firearms because of a 2013 conviction of possession of cocaine in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. The obstruction charge stems from Brown’s eliminating evidence by discarding the 9mm pistol semiautomatic pistol he used to shoot the victim.

Brown’s attorney argued that he was not the shooter. The jury deliberated about three hours on Aug. 25 before returning with its unanimous verdicts.

The security guard who returned fire at Brown also was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm because of a simple robbery conviction in Jefferson Parish in 2006. He pleaded guilty in January. In exchange for his testimony against Brown as the shooter, he received a suspended 5-year prison sentence with probation and the requirement that he does not possess a firearm as required by statute.

On Sept. 23, Judge R. Christopher Cox III of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Brown to 50 years for the attempted murder, 20 years for the firearm possession charge and 40 years for the obstruction charge – all the maximum amounts.

Following the sentencing, the District Attorney’s Office filed a multiple bill, alleging that Brown was a triple offender. The bill was filed on the attempted murder of the bar owner, meaning Brown faced a sentence of 25 years to 100 years.

Judge Cox on Friday vacated the 50-year sentence for the attempted second-degree murder and resentenced him to 70 years on that count. Brown’s three prior felony convictions included a possession of cocaine and two unrelated charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, crimes that occurred in Jefferson and Orleans parishes.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.


Jalen Harvey gets life sentence for killing Joseph Vindel

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Oct. 6) sentenced Jalen Harvey to a mandatory life sentence in prison for killing Joseph Vindel, a New Orleans man who was fatally shot while trying to sell his dirt bike through an online marketplace app.

Harvey 22, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of first-degree murder for killing Vindel on March 7, 2021. The 29-year-old real estate agent was sitting in the driver’s seat of his sports utility vehicle at the West Bank apartment complex where Harvey resided when he was shot five or six times.

Harvey then dragged the mortally wounded Vindel to the back seat of his SUV and then drove around the area for more than an hour. Harvey left Vindel’s body and his SUV in the 2300 block of Coliseum Street in New Orleans’ Garden District and returned to his West Bank apartment on Vindel’s dirt bike.

Following his weeklong trial, a Jefferson Parish jury on Sept. 1 unanimously convicted Harvey as charged of the first-degree murder, obstruction of justice and monetary instrument abuse.

The obstruction charge involves Harvey’s getting rid of evidence – Vindel’s body, SUV, dirt bike, wallet and cell phone. Harvey was convicted of monetary abuse because his use of fake movie prop cash.

On Thursday, after hearing impact testimony from Vindel’s parents, his girlfriend and his best friend, Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Harvey to life for the murder, 20 years for obstruction of justice and 10 years for monetary instrument abuse. Judge Adams ran the sentences concurrently.

The life sentence is to be serve without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Click here to read more about the trial.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zach Grate prosecuted the case.