Month: December 2022

Virgil Masey Wheeler III pleads guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile

A Jefferson Parish judge on Tuesday (Dec. 6) sentenced Virgil Masey Wheeler III to five years of active probation, after the defendant pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Wheeler, 64, of Metairie, had been charged with two counts of sexual battery of a juvenile and two counts of indecent behavior. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the sexual battery charges were reduced to indecent behavior charges.

After accepting the plea, 24th Judicial District Judge Donnie Rowan heard the victim’s impact statement before sentencing Wheeler to five years in prison at hard labor. Judge Rowan suspended the prison sentence and ordered Wheeler to serve five years of active probation.

Additionally, Wheeler must register as a sex offender for 15 years. Wheeler also will be prohibited from contacting the victim for the rest of his life, according to a restraining order to which the defendant agreed.

Assistant District Attorneys Jenny Voss and Matthew Whitworth prosecuted the case.

John Blair McMillan convicted of fatally beating his brother in Marrero

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Dec. 1) convicted John “Blair” McMillan IV of attacking and striking his brother in their Marrero home, causing a brain injury that led to his death.

McMillan, 57, is guilty as charged of manslaughter for causing the death of Kenneth McMillan, 63.

The brothers, who lived together in the 2600 block of Oklahoma Drive, had a volatile relationship that culminated on Nov. 14, 2020, when John McMillan struck his older brother.

Early on the following morning, on Nov. 15, 2020, Kenneth McMillian sent a text message to his boss, telling him that he would be unable work that day. Along with the message, Kenneth McMillian sent a photograph of his swollen face. “I’m a lil preoccupied with lil brothers habits at the moment,” Kenneth McMillan wrote, suggesting he had been beaten up again.

About 4:30 p.m., that day, John McMillan asked a neighbor to call 911, saying his brother was injured. When the neighbor asked what happened, John McMillan told him that his brother fell in the shower.

The neighbor found Kenneth McMillian lying in bed with a swollen face, a bucket and blood on the pillow and sheets. His last known words were to his brother: “Blair, leave me alone.”

Paramedics arrived and determined that Kenneth McMillan’s eyes were not responding to light and that he lost higher brain function. Doctors at West Jefferson Medical Center reached the same conclusion. Kenneth McMillan’s brain bleeding led to his being put on life support.

Kenneth McMillan was declared brain dead, was removed from life support and died on Nov. 17, 2020 with his family by his bedside. Because the matter was initially considered a medical incident, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office did not respond.

When Kenneth McMillan’s son inquired about what caused his father’s injuries during a family gathering after the death, John McMillan gave several conflicting accounts: He fell in the shower. He fell out of the shower and struck the wall. He fell out of the shower and struck his head on the toilet. There was no physical evidence that any of this occurred.

The matter would have ended there, but for the phone call Kenneth McMillan’s son placed to his father’s boss to inform him about the death. The boss mentioned the text message Kenneth McMillan sent on the morning of Nov. 15, about what his brother had done.

Already suspicious, Kenneth McMillan’s son contacted the Sheriff’s Office, leading to an investigation and detectives’ obtaining a warrant to search the McMillan brothers’ home. When the case Detective Kristian Fricke attempted to enter the residence on Nov. 19, 2020, John McMillan struck him and subsequently resisted arrest.

The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office, meanwhile, conducted an autopsy and determined that blunt-force trauma caused an acute subdural hematoma. The pathologist ruled the manner of death was a homicide.

John McMillan was subsequently booked with manslaughter. At trial this week, his defense team asserted self-defense and provided witnesses who described Kenneth McMillan as a bully who was in poor health.

The jury deliberated one hour before returning with its unanimous verdict about 9 p.m., Thursday. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, meanwhile, found John McMillan guilty as charged of misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and battery on Detective Fricke.

Judge Adams is scheduled to sentence John McMillan on Dec. 15.

Assistant District Attorneys Zach Grate and LaShanda Webb prosecuted the case.


Westwego man sentenced to 25 years for possessing child pornography

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Dec. 1) sentenced Jagon Eldridge to 25 years in prison for his conviction of possessing child pornography.

Eldridge, 49, formerly of Westwego, was convicted as charged by a Jefferson Parish jury on Nov. 9 of eight counts of possessing pornographic images involving children under age 13.

In February 2017, a special agent with the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit was conducting an undercover investigation of child pornography on the internet and uncovered illegal images that were tracked to Eldridge.

Special agents arrested Eldridge in May 2018. They searched Eldridge’s Avenue G home and obtained images and videos depicting child victims.

At trial last month, Eldridge asserted a number of defenses, including that the state could not prove that the images belonged to him. The jury, which also heard evidence of Eldridge possessing illegal images in 2010, deliberated about 45 minutes in returning with its unanimous guilty verdicts.

During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Eldridge pleaded for mercy in a lengthy statement to the court. He asked that he be sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. Possessing child pornography carries a sentencing range of 10 to 40 years in prison.

Noting that the child victims were likely asking for mercy when they were being abused, Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Eldridge to 25 years in prison on each of the eight counts. Judge Enright ran the sentences concurrently.

Eldridge also will have to register as a sex offender for 25 years after his release from prison.

Assistant District Attorney’s Piper Didier and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.

Corey Ivey convicted of killing ex-wife’s fiancé in Metairie

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday evening (Nov. 30) found Corey Ivey guilty of killing the Metairie man who was engaged to his ex-wife.

Ivey, 46, of New Orleans, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Keith Ellis, 51, who was shot multiple times as he stood in the doorway of his apartment dressed only in pajamas.

About 8:45 a.m., on July 26, 2020, Ivey was dropped off near the apartment in the 1900 block of South Clearview Parkway by an unknown driver. At the time, his ex-wife lived there with Ellis, her fiancé, who worked at a sugar manufacturing plant.

She was away at the time of the shooting, but her 6-year-old daughter with Ivey was asleep in the apartment. A nearby resident heard the gunfire and called 911. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found Ellis lying in the doorway near seven .45-caliber fired bullet casings. He died hours later at a hospital.

The entire incident was recorded by a nearby security video system. A witness identified Ivey as the shooter in the video. Arrested by the Sheriff’s Office, Ivey denied it and said that at the time of the shooting, he was with a prostitute he solicited in eastern New Orleans.

Ivey was serving a 10-year prison sentence for a conviction of heroin possession when his wife divorced him. She was romantically involved with Ellis when Ivey was released from prison in June 2019 on parole. He attempted to rekindle their relationship.

Days prior to the shooting, Ivey got into a physical fight with Ellis. Ivey struck Ellis in the head with a pistol during the fight, leading to his being charged with aggravated battery.

Because of his criminal history, Ivey was barred by state law from possessing the pistol he used to shoot Ellis, leading to his being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He additionally was charged with obstruction of justice, for getting rid of that pistol after the shooting.

On Monday, Ivey waived a trial by jury, meaning 24th Judicial District Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach weighed the evidence and decided the case.

After hearing two days of testimony and after taking a brief recess to consider the charges Wednesday, Judge Kovach found Ivey guilty as charged of all four counts.

Judge Kovach is scheduled to sentence Ivey on Dec. 8.

Assistant District Attorneys Jenny Voss and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.