Author: Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office

Long Nguyen convicted in marijuana conspiracy, distribution case

A Jefferson Parish jury on Tuesday (March 15) deliberated about 20 minutes in finding Long Nguyen guilty of conspiring to have large amounts of marijuana shipped from California for local distribution.

Nguyen, 45, was convicted as charged of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana (greater than 2.5 lbs.), money laundering ($20,000 – $99,000) and providing a false name to a law enforcement officer.

During the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigation that began in 2019, the narcotics agents seized more than 50 pounds of marijuana, all of which was displayed for the jury as evidence during the two-day trial.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know what you’re doing with all that marijuana if you’re not trying to distribute it,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Morales, standing over the mound of marijuana bags on the floor in front of the jury box, told jurors in closing argument Tuesday.

The agents opened the investigation after receiving information showing Nguyen’s wife was involved in illegal marijuana transactions. The investigation led the Jefferson Parish agents to Nguyen’s rented homes in the Gretna area, in the Gentilly area, Algiers, and Belle Chasse, according to trial testimony.

Nguyen conspired with others, some known and others unknown, to have marijuana shipped from Garden Grove, Calif., to Jefferson Parish through commercial carriers. The marijuana was contained in vacuum-sealed bags, which were contained in gold or green foil bags. Those, in turn, were packed in cardboard boxes that were lined with thin pieces of plywood, according to evidence presented to jurors.

The agents seized marijuana from several apartments, a storage unit and a UPS distribution center on the West Bank. One box, containing about seven pounds of marijuana, was mistakenly delivered to a Terrytown apartment, according to testimony. The shocked residents there called 911. They, too, were investigated and were cleared of criminal involvement, agents testified.

The agents recovered more than $8,000 in cash. They also found receipts for money orders and cashier’s checks totaling $46,000, all obtained in small monetary increments during a two-month period in 2019. Agents testified that such transactions are structured this way to not attract attention. The money was sent to a California bank, and Nguyen had a debit card from that same bank, according to trial evidence.

Under Louisiana law, money laundering is the possession of money that is the proceeds of a felony. When agents initially arrested Nguyen in January 2021, he provided a false name, leading to his conviction of that offense.

Nguyen, who required a Vietnamese-speaking interpreter, did not testify. Through his attorneys, he blamed his wife, Bich Nguyen, for being the marijuana dealer and asserted he had nothing to do with the criminal activities. However, agents obtained recordings of phone calls between the couple while he was jailed awaiting trial. In those calls, he directed his wife in matters of marijuana distribution, proving that he was involved in the conspiracy.

Bich Nguyen, 51, has twice pleaded guilty in connection with the marijuana distribution. In October 2020, she pleaded guilty as charged to conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana and money laundering ($20,000 – $99,000). She was given three years of probation.

However, her probation was revoked, and she was sentenced to the three years at hard labor after she was arrested again for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

The second arrest was in February 2021, when agents investigating her and her husband recovered marijuana in the Gretna-area apartment and in a storage unit. She pleaded guilty in May 2021 to conspiracy to distribute marijuana (greater than 2.5 lbs.) and possession with intent to distribute marijuana (greater than 2.5 lbs.). She received another 3-year prison sentence.

Two other men have pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation:

  • Man Danh, 54, of Gretna, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to conspiracy to possess marijuana (less than 2.5 lbs.), money laundering ($20,000 – $99,000), and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He received a 5-year sentence.
  • Nghia Hoaung, 41, of Belle Chasse, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to possession with intent to distribute marijuana (less than 2.5 lbs.). A 5-year prison sentence was suspended, and he was sentenced to three years of active probation.

Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Long Nguyen on April 11.

Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Hosli lead the prosecution of Long Nguyen with assistance of Michael Morales. Assistant District Attorney Joshua Vanderhooft prosecuted Bich Nguyen and Nghia Hoaung. Assistant District Attorney Rachel Africk prosecuted Man Danh.







For killing his girlfriend, Christopher Davis sentenced to life in prison

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (March 14) sentenced Christopher Davis to spend the rest of his life in prison for his conviction of shooting his girlfriend in the back of her head as she walked away from an argument.

Davis, 40, who has a history of domestic violence, was convicted last week of the second-degree murder of Lashonda Davis, 34, who died just outside the doorway to his Faith Place apartment in Terrytown on Jan. 5, 2020.

Life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence is the mandatory punishment for second-degree murder.

“All of our family has been given a life sentence,” her father Kenneth Sands told the court in impact testimony. “It’s time for the defendant to get his.”

The daughter of two military parents, she was born aboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and lived throughout the United States, her father testified. She left behind three sons. Her 9-year-old sister wrote a letter to the court in lieu of live testimony. Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Truhe, who led the prosecution, read the letter aloud in court.

Sands had dated Davis about two years. Shortly before Davis murdered her, Sands received a text message from someone informing her of the death of a friend. Distraught over the news, she did not respond to Davis’ demands that she identify the person who died. An argument ensued, and he retrieved a .38-caliber revolver and fired it as she walked out of the apartment, according to trial testimony.

Members of her family traveled to the Jefferson Parish courthouse in Gretna from other states and as far as the Bahamas to attend last week’s trial. A jury deliberated about 40 minutes Thursday in unanimously finding Davis guilty as charged.

Earlier last week, Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court, who presided over the murder trial, sentenced Davis to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was legally barred from having guns because of a domestic violence conviction involving another woman.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

Dalton Breaux III guilty in Marrero rape

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday evening (March 10) found Dalton Breaux III guilty of breaking into a woman’s Marrero home and raping her.

Breaux, 40, of Marrero, was convicted of third-degree rape and of attempted unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling for the June 25, 2019, crime. Breaux and the 27-year-old victim knew each other.

According to evidence presented at trial, Breaux walked to the woman’s home, entered the fenced-in yard and used tools to pry open a bathroom window that overlooked an alley.

The victim was roused from sleep by her dogs barking and saw Breaux standing in the bedroom holding a hammer. After raping her, he fled, leaving behind his boxer underwear.

In the grass outside the bathroom window, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators found a lawn chair that Breaux used to climb inside, a pry bar and screwdriver, and a jug of water. Detectives obtained video surveillance from a nearby home showing Breaux walking down the street toward the victim’s home carrying a jug of water, according to trial testimony.

Breaux’s DNA was recovered from the victim’s body and from the boxers that he left at the crime scene, according to testimony. The victim also suffered from bruising she received during the attack.

Breaux testified that the encounter was consensual.

Jurors deliberated just over two hours before returning with the verdict. Breaux was charged with second-degree rape, but jurors returned with the lesser charge of third-degree rape.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Breaux on April 13.

Assistant District Attorneys Zachary Popovich and Tucker Wimberly prosecuted the case.

Christopher Davis convicted of murdering his girlfriend in Terrytown

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (March 10) found Christopher Davis guilty of shooting his girlfriend in the back of her head as she walked away from an argument.

Davis, 30, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Lashonda Sands, 34.

A dating couple for about two years, Sands and Davis got into an argument just after midnight on Jan. 5, 2020, in his apartment in the 1900 block of Faith Place in Terrytown, according to trial testimony.

The argument began after she received a text message on her mobile device from someone who informed her of the death of a good friend. Word of the death led Sands to weep. Davis wanted to know who died, but she did not respond.

Her silence led Davis to argue with her, and that led to a physical altercation, according to evidence presented at trial.

Davis left the living room where the altercation occurred and retrieved his .38-caliber revolver. As he returned, a friend of the couple who was visiting at the time attempted to stop Davis, according to trial testimony.

Sands, meanwhile, walked out the apartment door. Davis shoved his friend to the side and extended his right hand under the friend’s arm and fired once, according to trial evidence.

The bullet struck her in the back of her head. Sands, the mother of three children, collapsed and died just outside the apartment entrance.

Davis’ young son was in the apartment, playing games when the shooting happened. Davis called 911 and lied to the operator, according to trial testimony.

He told he operator that he was inside the apartment when he heard a “pop” outside and found Sands bleeding from the head.

Deputies later found Davis’ revolver hidden in a bucket filled with his child’s toys. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office’s ballistics experts determined that the revolver was the murder weapon.

Davis’ attorneys argued that the revolver accidentally fired while the friend tried to stop him. The killing was not intentional, the attorneys argued.

Davis had a history of abusive and violent behavior toward Sands, according to trial testimony. In one incident, David threatened to retrieve a gun from a car so he could shoot her, a witness testified. In another incident, he fired three bullets into the ground during an argument, that witness testified. Never were police notified, the witness testified.

The jury deliberated about 40 minutes. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Davis on Monday (March 14). Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

On Tuesday, Davis pleaded guilty as charged to being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm in connection with his having the .38-caliber revolver. Judge Miller sentenced him to 10 years in prison for that offense.

Davis was legally prohibited from having guns because of a 2017 conviction of domestic abuse battery. In that case, Davis beat a woman with whom he had had romantic relationship.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.


Jacob Robinson guilty of Harvey armed robberies, aggravated battery

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday (Feb. 16) found Jacob Robinson of Harvey guilty of robbing a family at gunpoint in their home and shooting a victim in the head during a struggle for the pistol. He was arrested after the victims turned on him and knocked him to the ground with a brick.

Robinson, 35, was convicted as charged of two counts of armed robbery and one count of aggravated battery.

The incident happened on March 29, 2020, in an apartment in the 1000 block of Orange Blossom Lane in Harvey. According to trial testimony, a man, his girlfriend, their two children and his cousin lived at the apartment.

His face covered with a mask and carrying a pistol, Robinson entered the apartment without knocking and demanded they give up money and cell phones. The girlfriend and one of her children were upstairs at the time, according to testimony.

One of the men gave up money and his phone. Then Robinson pointed the pistol at the other man, who was the children’s father. He pulled $10 from his pocket and threw it on the floor and handed over his cell phone, he testified.

Robinson then began backing up and holding his pistol up, leading the father to fear he was about to be shot, he testified. He then lunged at Robinson, and during the scuffle, the pistol discharged. The bullet grazed the father’s head and lodged in the ceiling.

The cousin then struck Robinson with the brick. The family called 911, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene to find Robinson still present.

Robinson told deputies that he was the victim, and that he knew the residents who robbed and beat him. During this week’s trial, he further asserted that he went to the apartment because he was the residents’ illegal narcotics supplier and went to the apartment for a transaction.

The jury rejected the defense assertions and returned with its unanimous verdicts against Robinson, who has a history of convictions that include theft and battery.

Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Robinson on March 17.

Assistant District Attorneys Christina Fisher and Jennifer Voss prosecuted the case.

Terrell Nix guilty of killing autistic, intellectually disabled man

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Feb. 10) found Terrell Nix guilty in the death of an autistic, intellectually disabled man with limited communication skills whose disabilities left him completely dependent on the care of others.

Nix, 36, of Gretna, was convicted as charged of the second-degree murder of Rohn Brinker, 46, who died May 14, 2019, in the Terrytown apartment where he lived. Nix was employed by his mother, Denise Nix, who operated a home-healthcare company that provided Brinker with 24-hour care.

Nix worked the overnight shifts. A half-hour after his shift began on May 13, 2019, Nix used his cell phone to make a video of Brinker, who appeared terrified, whose lip was bloodied and stood zombie-like in responding to Nix’s barked orders, according to the video that was shown to jurors.

Two hours later, Nix called his mother, who in turn went to Brinker’s Holmes Boulevard apartment. Shortly after, she called 911, saying Brinker had fallen in the bathtub and was unresponsive.

During the autopsy, forensic pathologist Dana Troxclair found that Brinker had ligature wounds on his neck, suggesting strangulation; that a rib on his right side had been broken and punctured his lung; and that he suffered deep skin hemorrhages and brain swelling. He additionally had injuries suggesting he had been dragged across the floor and bruising on his arms suggestive of defensive wounds.

Dr. Troxclair determined that the cause of death was strangulation and blunt force trauma. She classified the death as a homicide, leading to Nix’s arrest and indictment for second-degree murder.

Investigators found blood spatter on bathroom walls and the vanity mirror and evidence of someone trying to clean it up.

Nix underwent more than seven hours of interrogation by Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives, during which he told numerous lies, according to testimony. He did not testify during the trial, and his attorney argued that the evidence needed to charge his client was lacking.

Neighbors who deputies interviewed described hearing what sounded like “a war zone” in Brinker’s apartment, Detective Anthony Buttone testified. Another neighbor who had observed Nix and Brinker interacting likened it to military “boot camp,” according to testimony.

Denise Nix, his mother, was initially booked with manslaughter and obstruction of justice in connection with the incident. Charges were refused because of insufficient evidence.

The jury that was seated on Monday returned with the unanimous guilty verdict after about one hour of deliberation.

Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Nix on Feb. 22. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Matthew Whitworth prosecuted the case.



Metairie man sentenced to 35 years in barroom manslaughter

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Feb. 10) sentenced Maurice “Marlo” Leach to 35 years in prison for his conviction of killing Michael Shawn Brown in a Metairie lounge.

Leach, 36, was convicted by a jury on Nov. 10 of manslaughter for the May 25, 2019, shooting inside the lounge in the 4500 block of South Interstate 10 Service Road.

During an argument, Leach removed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pants waistband, reached over a peacemaking woman who was separating the men and shot Brown in the face. Brown, 49, fell to the ground beside the bar and died, according to trial evidence. The entire incident was recorded from several angles by the business’s security camera system. Jurors were shown the recordings.

Leach walked out of the bar and was arrested a week later in New Jersey. He also was convicted of obstruction of justice for removing and discarding the pistol he used to shoot Brown in the face.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Leach to 20 years for obstruction of justice and ran it concurrently with the 35-year sentence he gave the man for the manslaughter charge.

Leach faced a mandatory life sentence in prison had he been convicted as charged of second-degree murder. During his trial, he asserted a justifiable homicide defense, in which he asked the jury to acquit him of the killing. The jury returned with a verdict of manslaughter, which carries a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison.

In a plea for leniency on Thursday, Leach asked Judge Enright to give him “time served,” meaning the time he was held in Jefferson Parish Correctional Center awaiting trial. He said he found religion while incarcerated, asserted he had been “rehabilitated,” and asked to not be defined by the mistake of killing Brown.

In a letter read to the court, one of Brown’s daughters said her father was killed as she was in her final semester of college, and that her younger sister was preparing to begin college. She wrote that her father won’t be there for her at her wedding in the fall, and that his death cause emotional and financial damage to the family. She asked the judge to sentence Leach to the maximum time available under law.

Among the evidence he said he considered in preparing for the sentencing, Judge Enright said he reviewed Leach’s statement to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives who arrested him. Leach, the judge said, only had remorse for himself.

Assistant District Attorney Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.

Raymond Kimble gets 68-year sentence in Metairie crime spree

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Feb. 7) sentenced Raymond H. Kimble III to 68 years in prison for his convictions of breaking into eight Metairie homes, stealing an automobile from one of those homes and of fleeing deputies at high speeds through Old Metairie in the Spring of 2016.

Kimble, 36, of River Ridge, was convicted as charged by a jury on Dec. 17 of eight counts of burglary of an inhabited dwelling, one count of theft and aggravated flight from an office in connection with the crime spree.

He and his co-defendant Brian Ernst committed the first burglary on March 7, 2015, followed by two more two days later. They hit the remaining five Metairie homes on April 13, 2016.

Common among the homes was that each had side driveways connecting the streets to the back yards, according to trial testimony. Also common was that the burglars broke out glass doors to gain entry to the homes. Each home was badly ransacked

They stole firearms, prescription medicine, jewelry, electronics and money. Stored on one stolen computer system was the only copy of a victim’s wedding photographs, according to evidence presented at trial.

During one of the burglaries, Kimble swiped keys to a resident’s vehicle. He returned to the home that evening to steal resident’s 2011 Hyundai SUV, according to trial evidence. For that, he was convicted of theft.

Throughout the crime spree, Kimble drove a pick-up truck that had been stolen in St. Tammany Parish. And during this period, he also was committing property crimes in East Baton Rouge Parish.

During one incident in Baton Rouge, he and Ernst were fleeing police and broke into a residence to hide. While there, the resident returned to his home and found Kimble and Ernst inside. They beat and hogtied the resident. Authorities linked Kimble and Ernst to the crimes through their DNA, which was recovered from the water bottles they left in that victim’s home, according to evidence presented at trial.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, meanwhile, electronically tracked a stolen laptop to an apartment in a large complex in the 3400 block of Severn Avenue. They began knocking on doors and quickly found the right apartment. When questioned, a resident pointed the detectives to two laptops, which she said Ernst left with her boyfriend in hopes that he could clean the hard drive for resale, according to trial testimony.

At Ernst’s home, detectives found more than 50 items that had been stolen in the Metairie burglaries.  Ernst also implicated Kimble. They also found evidence showing that Kimble melted stolen gold jewelry so he could sell the alloy.

The aggravated flight charge involved Kimble’s fleeing deputies in the stolen pickup truck. According to evidence presented at trial, deputies spotted Kimble driving on Metairie Road. He fled at speeds reaching 70 mph through residential streets with 25 mph speed limits.

He abandoned the pickup while it was still moving in the 500 block of Labarre Road. The pickup came to a rest on a front lawn. He was later caught hiding in a shed in the 1600 block of Forshey Street, according to trial testimony.

In 2018, Ernst, 36, of Metairie, pleaded guilty to eight counts of simple burglary, two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and one count of theft. He received a 12-year prison sentence.

Although he had public defenders appointed to represent him, Kimble acted as his own counsel and gave closing argument to the jury. He denied committing the crimes. The jury deliberated less than 1 ½ hours in finding him guilty of all charges.

During Monday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Raymond Steib of the 24th Judicial District Court denied Kimble’s request for a new trial, for a post-verdict judgment of acquittal and a motion to reconsider the sentence. He also heard impact testimony from one of the victims.

A breakdown of Judge Steib’s sentence shows:

  • Kimble received six years in prison for each of the eight burglary counts, which were run consecutive for a total of 48 years.
  • Kimble was sentenced to eight years for the theft of the Hyundai, and that was run concurrently to one of the burglary counts.
  • He received a 5-year sentence for the aggravated flight. But after Kimble pleaded guilty to being a multiple offender, Judge Steib resentenced him to 20 years on the count, bringing the total to 68 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Jennifer Voss prosecuted the case.


Convicted of role in Metairie robbery murder, Calvin King sentenced to life in prison

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Dec. 15) sentenced Calvin King to a mandatory life sentence in prison for his conviction of the second-degree murder of Javier Sanchez.

Sanchez, 26, was forcibly removed from his Metairie apartment during an armed robbery on the night of Nov. 2, 2007. He was later shot dead.

Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court also sentenced King, 49, to 30 years in prison for his conviction of armed robbery, a crime that preceded Sanchez’s killing. Judge Adams ran the 30-year sentence concurrent to the life sentence.

After a weeklong trial, a Jefferson Parish jury deliberated less than three hours on Oct. 29 in convicting King guilty as charged of both charges.

King and two cohorts, Willie Gross and a still-unidentified man, went to Sanchez’s apartment in the 1900 block of Clearview Parkway, intent on robbing him of two kilograms of cocaine and cash. All three men were armed, according to trial testimony.

Sanchez was away picking up fried chicken for dinner when the trio forced their way into the apartment. Sanchez’s girlfriend was home alone, according to trial evidence. King used gray duct tape to bound her to bed posts, and the trio ransacked the apartment. Sanchez returned and was forced to leave with the intruders, who stole cash and jewelry, according to trial evidence.

About two hours later, a motorist traveling on Interstate 510 in eastern New Orleans spotted Sanchez’s body on the edge of the roadway. He had been shot once in the abdomen.

In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese held crime scene photographs of Sanchez’s body and referred to King: “That arrogant man decided that he was free to break into someone’s home with his friends and at gunpoint persuade or force him (Sanchez) to leave, to end his life and to dump him on the roadside like trash.”

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives linked King to the crime through his fingerprint, which crime scene technicians lifted from the roll of duct tape he used to bound Sanchez’s girlfriend. She then was able to identify King from a photographic lineup. At the time of the crime, King lived in Kenner.

Questioned by detectives, King provided a partial confession. “Y’all did y’all homework,” he told them, according to his statement that was presented to the jury. “I duct tape the girl but left before he (Sanchez) got there because I didn’t want to be involved in any of that and you right, Willie was with me but I left and walked back to Kenner.”

King was prosecuted as a principal to the murder. “It does not matter who pulled the trigger,” ADA Freese told jurors of the law of principals. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

King did not testify. His attorneys attempted to depict Sanchez’s girlfriend as a liar and argued that King was not guilty of armed robbery and second-degree murder.

Gross, now 53, was convicted of second-degree murder and armed robbery in 2011. He is serving a life sentence in prison. After Sanchez was found dead, the vehicle the trio used to abduct Sanchez was found burnt at a vacant home in eastern New Orleans, according to evidence presented in that trial.

This trial was the fourth time juries were seated to weigh evidence against King. During the first two trials, a judge granted the defense attorney’s requests for mistrials. King was convicted by a third jury in 2013. But that same judge later vacated the conviction, and King has been free on bail ever since. That judge has since retired.

Before sentencing King on Wednesday, Judge Adams denied the defense attorney’s motion for post judgement verdict of acquittal and a motion for a new trial.

In addition to ADA Freese, Assistant District Attorney Gabrielle Hosli helped prosecute the case. They were not involved in the previous trials.

Metairie man convicted of domestic abuse by strangulation

A Jefferson Parish jury has found Jose Sagastume guilty of strangling his wife during an argument in their Metairie home.

Sagastume, 34, was convicted as charged of domestic abuse by strangulation for the Sept. 15, 2019, incident.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sagastume returned home from a night out drinking and accused his wife of being unfaithful. The ensuing argument escalated to violence, when Sagastume tackled her, put his hands around her neck and began strangling her, according to trial evidence.

As the argument unfolded, the wife telephoned her cousin and asked him to go to their home. Amid the attack, the cousin arrived and knocked on the door, which enabled her to escape and call 911.

The jury heard testimony about a prior incident involving a physical altercation over jealousy.

Sagastume denied strangling his wife, an assertion the jury rejected after deliberating for about two hours on Tuesday (Nov. 9).

Judge R. Christopher Cox of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Sagastume on Monday (Nov. 15).

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Stephen Downer prosecuted the case.