Author: Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office

Half-brothers convicted of murder in West Bank shooting

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (Jan. 25) found a pair of maternal half-brothers guilty as charged of killing a distant relative amid a feud.

Willie Battle, 31, and Eddie Salvant, 37, both of whom lived with their mother in unincorporated Gretna, were convicted of second-degree murder in the Nov. 22, 2017 death of Everette Burns.

On the day before Thanksgiving 2017, Burns was shot once in the abdomen about 4:40 p.m., just moments after getting a haircut at a barber shop in strip mall in the 400 block of Lapalco Boulevard. Burns was walking to a nearby ATM machine to withdraw cash so he could pay the barber when he was shot.

Mortally wounded, the 34-year-old Belle Chasse resident walked to his car in the parking lot and sat in the driver’s seat. Another customer at the barber shop, a former Navy corpsman, rendered aid to the profusely bleeding Burns. Instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive, the Navy veteran rushed Burns to a nearby hospital by driving Burns’ car.

Burns died later that day at a New Orleans hospital, to where he was transferred.

Even before he died, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received information indicating that Battle and Salvant thought that Burns was responsible for a prior shooting that occurred less than two weeks earlier.

Detectives obtained video surveillance from a nearby business and witnesses’ statements, all showing that two hooded men lingered in the parking lot for several minutes before confronting Burns in front of the strip mall. The suspects took steps to conceal their faces.

Video images show and witnesses described one of the suspects being large and the other being shorter. Battle stands 6’3” tall and weighs 350 pounds. Salvant is 5’5” and weighs 165 pounds.

A witness saw one of the men armed with a pistol moments before the shooting. Immediately after the shooting, a man matching Salvant’s physique ran toward Bannerwood Drive while holding a pistol in his right hand while another man matching Battle’s physique walked away calmly, a video shows.

Less than two weeks before Burns was murdered, the Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of gunfire in the block where Battle and Salvant lived but found nothing. The following morning, Battle contacted the Sheriff’s Office saying that someone shot up his car as it was parked in his driveway. He alleged he was asleep when it happened.

However, during the ensuing investigation, a deputy viewed video recorded by a nearby home’s surveillance system. The deputy learned that Battle, in fact, was sitting in the driver’s seat of his car when a lone gunman walked up and opened fire. He was not injured. Questioned about the video, Battle then said he did not know who shot at him.

A detective also retrieved surveillance video from a home near where Battle and Salvant lived – a 3-minute drive from the shooting scene. It showed that about 30 minutes before Burns was shot, two men matching Battle and Salvant’s physiques walked out of their home wearing clothing like that worn by the gunmen, got into their car and departed. They returned to the home after Burns was shot.

Detectives separately learned that Burns arrived at the barber shop about 30 minutes before he was shot.

Detectives also retrieved text messages between a woman and a person using a phone tied to Salvant. The messages suggest Salvant thought Burns was the person who shot at Battle as he sat in his car, and that they would seek revenge.

Questioned by a detective, the half-brothers’ mother said her sons had not been home since Nov. 22, 2017, the day of the shooting.

The U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Battle in Florida on Dec. 11, 2017. Task force officers located and arrested Salvant the following day in Harvey.

At trial, their attorneys argued the evidence was not strong enough for jurors to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants were guilty.

The jury deliberated less than 50 minutes in finding Battle and Salvant guilty. Salvant also was convicted of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was barred from possessing guns because of a 2011 conviction of possession of cocaine.

Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence the half-brothers on Wednesday (Feb. 1).

Assistant District Attorneys Shannon Swaim, Kristen Landrieu and Taylor Somerville prosecuted the case.

 

Ferriday man convicted of armed robbery over a drug debt

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday (Jan. 18) found Landon Rogers guilty of robbing a Metairie man at gunpoint to collect on a drug debt.

Rogers, 29, of Ferriday, was convicted of armed robbery. The jury, which deliberated for 3 ½ hours, acquitted Rogers of second-degree kidnapping and aggravated burglary charges in connection with the Nov. 15, 2019 incident.

About a month before the crime, the victim, then 19 and preparing to attend a local music festival, used counterfeit cash used as movie props to purchase about $1,000 of ecstasy from a drug dealer, Jhon Da-Sliver Ferreira, 25, of Harvey.

In response, Rogers and Ferreira went to the victim’s workplace, an Uptown New Orleans bar, and eventually followed him home to his Metairie apartment in the 1500 block of Chickasaw Avenue early the following morning.

Minutes after the victim got into his bed to sleep, Rogers and Ferreira knocked on the door. When the victim answered, Rogers, who was armed with a semiautomatic pistol, and Ferreira forced their way inside and demanded money. They covered the victim’s mouth with duct tape to keep him quiet and they searched the apartment.

The victim offered various belongings, including his marijuana. Unsatisfied, Rogers and Ferreira forced the victim to drive his car to his bank’s ATM in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood. Once there, the victim realized he left his ATM card at his apartment. He offered to give the robbers prescription medication, which was at his mother’s apartment less than two miles away in Metairie. At the mother’s home, the suspects also stole a laptop computer belonging to the victim’s brother.

These latter events led to the kidnapping and burglary charges, for which Rogers was acquitted.

After leaving the victim’s mother’s home, Rogers and Ferreira accompanied the victim back to his apartment to retrieve his ATM card to return to the bank, where the victim withdrew $500. Back at the victim’s apartment, they ordered the victim to strip of his clothing and warned him to say nothing about what transpired.

Following the crimes, the victim called his parents, who in turn called 911. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office robbery detectives tracked the crimes to Rogers and Ferreira, including using the license plate recognition camera system to show that the suspects followed the victim into Metairie from New Orleans.

The detectives determined that the suspect Toyota 4Runner belonged to Rogers. Shown a photographic lineup, the victim identified Rogers as one of the perpetrators.

The U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force found and arrested Rogers three days after the incident, while he sat in his SUV on Spain Street in the Faubourg Marigny. Detectives found the pistol and property that was taken in the crimes in the SUV, including marijuana taken from the victim’s apartment.

Rogers’ attorney denied crimes were committed, saying his client was helping to collect a debt and that the victim willingly provided the property.

The victim pleaded guilty last year to possession of marijuana less than 14 grams, a misdemeanor. The charge stems from the marijuana taken from his apartment, which was found in Rogers’ SUV. He received a deferred sentence.

In June 2021, meanwhile, Ferreira pleaded guilty as charged to the armed robbery, second-degree kidnapping and aggravated burglary offenses, and to seven narcotics offenses. Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Ferreira to 20 years in prison. Judge Brindisi separately sentenced Ferreira to six months in jail after finding him in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions on Tuesday, while testifying in Rogers’ trial.

Judge Brindisi is scheduled to sentence Rogers on Friday (Jan. 27).

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

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.

After fatally punching parish jail inmate, Press Shorter gets 70-year sentence

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Nov. 14) sentenced Press Shorter III to 70 years in prison in finding he is a two-time felon under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.

Shorter’s most recent was conviction was for manslaughter. Shorter, 30, of Harvey, caused the death of Brian Alexander while they were Jefferson Parish Correctional Center inmates.

On Sept. 4, 2018, both men were in line to shower when Shorter struck Alexander three to four times in his head. Alexander fell backwards, his head striking the floor.

Shorter has a history of committing batteries on others. He twice struck two fellow inmates, breaking each man’s jaw bones, and he has struck corrections officers and deputies. “He has a record of being extremely violent, even when he’s incarcerated,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Benge argued in court.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators initially believed that Alexander had fallen, and the incident was treated as a medical roll. Doctors at University Medical Center, however, concluded that Alexander’s injuries were not consistent with a fall.

Alexander was kept on life support until his family could arrive at the hospital. Knowing that he would not survive, the family authorized his removal from life support. Alexander, 49, of Loranger, later died. He was in the correctional center awaiting trial for a first-degree robbery charge when Shorter attacked him.

During the subsequent investigation, Sheriff’s Office investigators determined that Shorter had complained in phone conversations about being unable to shower. On the day in question, Alexander was ahead of Shorter in the line to shower. And within 1 ½ hours of striking Alexander, Shorter was on the phone with his girlfriend, telling her he “knocked” Alexander “clean out.”

The autopsy showed that in addition to wounds to his face and head, Alexander’s skull was fractured, and his brain was swollen. Blunt force trauma caused his death, which was classified as a homicide.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Feb. 16 unanimously convicted Shorter as charged of manslaughter. After denying post-verdict defense motions to overturn the conviction, and after hearing impact testimony from Alexander’s ex-wife, 24th Judicial District Judge Danyelle Taylor on March 1 sentenced Shorter to 40 years in prison, the maximum for manslaughter.

She then ran that sentence consecutive to the 20 years she gave Shorter in January after he pleaded guilty to illegal firearms possession, resisting arrest by for or violence and narcotics offences – charges for which he was confined to the correctional center when he struck Alexander.

That meant Shorter was serving a 60-year sentence, at hard labor.

On Monday, Judge Taylor found that Shorter is a double offender, considering his conviction of a second-degree battery he committed in 2013. That and the manslaughter are crimes of violence. Judge Taylor vacated the 40-year sentence she gave Shorter for the manslaughter and resentenced him to 50 years as a double offender, bringing his total punishment to 70 years without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Benge prosecuted the case.

 

Westwego man convicted of possessing pornographic images of children

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (Nov. 9) convicted Jagon Eldridge of possession of child pornography.

Eldridge, 49, formerly of Westwego, is guilty as charged of eight counts of possessing pornographic images involving children under age 13.

Eldridge was arrested in May 2018, by Special agents with the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit.

A special agent was involved in an undercover investigation of child pornography on the internet when in February 2017 he uncovered illegal images that were tracked to Eldridge. A search of his Avenue G home yielded images and videos of victims.

Through his attorney, Eldridge asserted a number of defenses, including that the state could not prove that the images belonged to him.

The jury deliberated about 45 minutes before returning with its unanimous verdicts. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Eldridge on Thursday (Nov. 17).

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

Kenner teen sentenced to life with parole eligibility for kidnapping elderly couple

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Nov. 9) sentenced Alexsy Mejia to life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years for his conviction of kidnapping an elderly couple from their Metairie home.

Mejia, 18, of Kenner, also was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his conviction of aggravated burglary, a crime that preceded his forcing the 91-year-old man and 81-year-old woman to drive him to their Kenner bank at gunpoint.

Mejia was 16 years old at the time of the crimes and was charged and prosecuted as an adult. He knew the victims because they paid him to occasionally do yard work for them.

On the afternoon of July 9, 2021, Mejia armed himself with a .38-caliber revolver, concealed his identity by wearing a mask and broke into the couple’s home through a bathroom window. He demanded the couple give him $100,000 so he could purchase a car.

Because the couple had no cash in the home, Mejia forced them at gunpoint to drive to their bank in Kenner in the 3500 block of Williams Boulevard. From the back seat, he pointed the pistol at the 91-year-old man’s head during the drive.

Once at the bank, the couple convinced Mejia that they both needed to go inside to obtain the money. Mejia told them he had an accomplice who would blow up their house if they called police. Once inside, the couple alerted the bank branch manager, who called police.

As the first Kenner police officers arrived, Mejia fled on foot. After a brief pursuit, Mejia was arrested blocks away, hiding in a garbage can behind a residence in the 3600 block of Martinique Avenue. Mejia later confessed to committing the crimes to Jefferson Parish detectives.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Oct. 26, deliberated about 40 minutes in unanimously convicting Mejia as charged of two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary.

In written impact testimony read aloud by a prosecutor during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, the couple wrote they trusted Mejia and paid him to do household jobs for them. They’ve since forgiven him and “hope that he can move on in a positive way” with his life, the couple wrote.

Life in prison is the mandatory punishment for aggravated kidnapping under Louisiana law. Because he was a juvenile at the time he committed the crimes, Mejia will be eligible to apply for parole in 25 years.

Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court ordered the sentences, including the 30-year sentence for aggravated burglary, to be served without parole, probation or suspension of sentence. He also ordered that the sentenced be run concurrently.

Additionally, Judge Brindisi issued a protective order that bars Mejia from contacting the couple for life.

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

 

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.