Tag: child abuse

Gretna couple sentenced to decades in prison for molesting three girls

A Gretna couple convicted last month of sexually abusing three juvenile girls has been sentenced to prison.

Elvin Villafranca, 40, and Argentina Mesa, 54, were sentenced Monday (April 16) to 60 years and 35 years, respectively, for their March 20 convictions of abusing the girls in their Newton Street home in 2013 and 2014.

The Gretna Police Department investigation began in November 2014, after detectives learned that a 7-year-old girl was molested while being babysat at the couple’s home. For this victim, Villafranca was convicted of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and received a 25-year prison sentence.

The victim’s mother later asked a relative whether she had contact with Mesa and Villafranca. That victim disclosed she was sexually abused by the couple at age 13, after the couple gave her alcohol to drink during a sleepover, according to evidence presented at trial.

In connection with this second victim, Villafranca was convicted of attempted forcible rape and was sentenced to 10 years, and Mesa was convicted of sexual battery and was sentenced to 10 years.

A third victim came forward saying she, too, was sexually abused at the Newton Street residence when she was 9 years old. For this, Villafranca and Mesa were convicted of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and received a 25-year sentences.

After hearing impact testimony from the mothers of two of the victims and denying post-verdict motions, Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the sentences. He ran them consecutively, citing the fact that the crimes involved three separate victims and that anything less would deprecate the seriousness of the crimes.

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

Gretna couple convicted of sexually abusing three juvenile girls

A Gretna couple was convicted Tuesday night (March 20) of molesting three juvenile girls, including a teenager who was given alcohol before she was sexually abused while in a drunken state.

Both Elvin Villafranca, 40, and Argentina Mesa, 54, were convicted of sexual battery counts for the crimes that occurred at their home in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, Villafranca was convicted of the attempted forcible rape of a 13-year-old girl, a responsive verdict, and Mesa was acquitted of being a principal to forcible rape involving the same victim.

“These are three victims, essentially three cases crammed into one case because of a common denominator: Mesa and Villafranca,” Assistant District Attorney Laura Schneidau, who prosecuted with Emily Booth, told jurors in closing argument.

The Gretna Police Department began its investigation in November 2014, after it learned that a 7-year-old girl was molested while being babysat at a Newton Street residence, according to evidence presented during the trial.

That victim’s mother initiated the investigation after seeing a matter of sexual nature on the child’s electronic tablet. Investigators learned that Villafranca inappropriately touched the victim, leading to his conviction of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13.

The mother of that victim later encountered a juvenile relative, who also had contact with Mesa and Villafranca, leading to the child’s disclosure that in November 2013, when she was 13 years old, she had been sexually abused at the couple’s Newton Street residence.

That second victim asserted that, during a sleepover, she was given alcohol and was not allowed to leave. For that victim, Villafranca was convicted of attempted forcible rape, and Mesa was convicted of sexual battery.

Another victim disclosed that she, too, was abused at the couple’s Newton Street residence when she was 9 years old. For this, Villafranca and Mesa were convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 for this offense.

After a six-day trial, the jury deliberated almost six hours Tuesday before returning its verdicts. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Mesa and Villafranca on April 16.

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

Metairie man sentenced to life in prison for raping boy

A Metairie man who was convicted of raping a young boy was sentenced Monday (Dec. 11) to a life sentence in prison.

Charles Turner, 38, was convicted as charged on Nov. 8, of the aggravated rape of the boy, who was abused over a two-year period beginning in 2013, when he was 8 years old.

The victim, who is now a teenager, did not attend the sentencing hearing but wrote a letter to Turner that was read aloud in court. Expressing forgiveness for Turner, the victim noted the prison sentence. “My life sentence ends today as yours begins,” he wrote.

Turner, who has denied sexually abusing the child, said in court he was “not guilty.” After denying defense motions for a new trial and to overturn the jury’s verdict, Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Turner to the mandatory punishment.

Assistant District Attorneys Lynn Schiffman and Andrew DeCoste prosecuted the case.

Waggaman father sentenced to 40 years in prison for teen son’s beating death

A Waggaman man who caused his teenage son’s death through a disciplinary beating over a failing grade at his middle school was sentenced Monday (Nov. 27) to 40 years in prison, the maximum punishment allowed by law for manslaughter.

Furnell Daniel Sr., 45, was held criminally responsible for the death of 14-year-old Jalen Daniel. A Jefferson Parish jury found him guilty of manslaughter on Nov. 18.

Using a length of hardwood that had been a railing on a baby crib, Daniel repeatedly struck his son in their Clifford Court home on Feb. 5, 2016, after the teen returned home from school with an ‘F’ in one course.

Despite his complaints of pain and his urinating and vomiting in his bed, his father did not call 911 until more than 19 hours after the beating, when the teen became unresponsive. He died days later.

Daniel stood trial on a charge of second-degree murder. He admitted to striking his son with the board but denied intentionally killing him.

After denying a defense motion for a new trial, Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court handed down the 40-year sentence, saying in part that he believes Daniel would abuse his other children.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Laura Schneidau prosecuted the case.

 

Waggaman man convicted of causing teen son’s death over ‘F’ class grade

A Waggaman man was convicted of manslaughter early Saturday morning (Nov. 18), for causing his teenage son’s death by beating the middle-school student with a piece of wood as punishment for one failing class grade.

Furnell Daniel Sr., 45, faces up to 40 years in prison for the death of 14-year-old Jalen Daniel. Using about a 4 1/2-foot length of hardwood that had been a railing on a baby crib, Daniel repeatedly beat the teen in their Clifford Court home on Feb. 5, 2016.

Only after the teen vomited and urinated in his bed and then became unresponsive did the father call 911 – more than 19 hours after the beating.

Jalen died from an untreated epidural hemorrhage caused by a blow to his head. In addition to numerous bruises, Jalen suffered from five bone fractures, including his skull, a wrist, a hand and a knee. Jalen suffered three strikes to his head, one of which caused bleeding in the brain cavity that led to heart failure.

Daniel denied intentionally killing his son but admitted in testimony that he paddled the teen “more than once” during the final beating.

Through the beating, prosecutors argued that Daniel committed a second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, which is the felony that led to the teen’s death. As such, Furnell Daniel committed a second-degree murder under the felony-murder doctrine.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated about six hours before returning with the responsive verdict of manslaughter about 1:30 a.m. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Daniel on Nov. 29.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Laura Schneidau prosecuted the case.

Convicted child predator convicted anew of sexually abusing 3 children

A convicted sex offender was once again convicted Thursday night (Nov. 16) of sexually abusing three children in Kenner.

Carlos Alberto Montero Sr., 54, faces life in prison for his conviction of two counts of aggravated rape, sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile under the age of 13 and failing to register as a sex offender.

He abused two girls and one boy over a five-year period, beginning in 2006. The youngest of the three victims was about 6 years old when she was abused. Another victim was age 7 when Montero began abusing him, and the third victim was 12 years old when it began.

The Kenner Police Department opened an investigation in January 2016, after the step-father of one of the victims found a note she wrote to her deceased father as a form of therapy. In it, she referenced to being sexually abused.

Montero also was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender, for failing to notify police when he moved to Kenner from Gretna. He was required to register as a sex offender because of a 2002 conviction of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. Following a 4-year prison sentence that ended in 2006, he was to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

The jury deliberated less than two hours before returning its unanimous verdicts about 7 p.m. Judge June Berry Darensberg of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Montero on Jan. 10.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

Convicted child molester sentenced to 60 years in prison

A Mississippi man who was convicted last week of molesting two juvenile girls in Jefferson Parish was sentenced Thursday (Oct. 12) to 60 years in prison.

Billy Joe Howard, 33, of Kiln, was convicted by a jury on Oct. 6 of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13. The crimes occurred within a 45-day period in July and August 2015.

Howard met the victims, who were ages 11 and 7 when they were molested, through their mothers. He met the women through a dating website. Neither woman was aware of the other until after Howard was arrested. While free on bond in the Jefferson Parish cases, Howard was booked in Harrison County, Miss., accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl.

After rejecting a defense-motion for a new trial and hearing impact testimony from one of the victims and the mother of the other victim, Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Howard to 40 years for the sexual battery and 20 years for the indecent behavior.

Judge Sullivan ordered the sentences to be run consecutively, given that there were two separate victims and crimes.

Howard will not be eligible for probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He also will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life after completing his prison sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

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Mississippi man convicted of molesting Jefferson Parish girls

A Mississippi man was found guilty Thursday night (Oct. 5) of molesting two Jefferson Parish girls during a 45-day period in 2015.

Billy Joe Howard, 33, of Kiln, was convicted as charged of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and indecent behavior with a juvenile under age 13.

The victims were ages 11 and 7 when the abuse occurred. Howard encountered the children after meeting their mothers through a dating website, in one case only a week before he molested the child, according to evidence presented to the jury.

He committed the sexual battery of the 11-year-old girl in July 2015, and he committed indecent behavior the following month with the 7-year-old girl.

The victims’ mothers were notified, leading to criminal investigations by the Westwego Police Department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Howard gained his release from custody after posting bond. While awaiting trial, he was accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl in Hancock County, Miss., according to evidence presented during the trial.

The Jefferson Parish jury deliberated just over an hour before returning with its unanimous verdicts at 7:45 p.m. Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Howard on Thursday (Oct. 12).

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zachary Popovich prosecuted the case.

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Grand Isle resident sentenced to 26 years in child abuse case

A former Grand Isle resident was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison Tuesday (Sept. 19), after he admitted he sought to pay $400 to have sex with a 6- to 7-year-old girl in his home on the barrier island.

Wade Perkins III, 32, pleaded guilty as charged to attempted first-degree rape and four counts of possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. Perkins already was a convicted sex-offender, having been convicted in 2006 of having sex with a 14-year-old girl in his native Michigan.

Agents with the Louisiana State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Houma office, arrested Perkins on April 28, 2016, during an investigation triggered by a tip on Perkins’ seeking sex with juvenile girls.

In accepting the guilty pleas, Judge Ray Steib of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Perkins to 25 years in prison for each of the five counts and ran them concurrently. Perkins then pleaded guilty to being a double offender, given his prior conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Romulus, Mich.

Perkin was resentenced to 26 years and four months in prison as a two-time felon under Louisiana’s habitual offender law. He does not get benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. He also faces a lifetime of sex offender registration.

Perkins also faces similar charges in Michigan.

Assistant District Attorneys Emily Booth and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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Gretna man convicted of producing child pornography while sexually abusing 1-year-old girl

A Gretna man was found guilty Tuesday night (May 16), of using his cell phone to take videos and photographs of himself sexually abusing a toddler.

Roy Dixon Jr., 26, was convicted as charged of two counts of sexual battery of a juvenile under age 13 and one count of production of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13. The victim, who is not being identified, was a 1-year-old girl when Dixon abused her.

Dixon was 21 years old when the Gretna Police Department arrested him on Jan. 26, 2013. Earlier that day, a 21-year-old Algiers man Dixon met through a website personals ad visited Dixon at his Gretna home for a sex encounter. Afterward, while Dixon was out of the room, the visitor scrolled through Dixon’s cell phone and found an illegal video. The visitor fled with the device and alerted the New Orleans Police Department’s 4th District in Algiers.

New Orleans police seized the phone and referred the man to Gretna police, leading to Dixon’s arrest a short time later. While in a holding cell at Gretna police headquarters, detective Jeff Laborie overheard Dixon crying and speaking to himself, referring to himself as “stupid” and saying he should have deleted the videos.

Dixon later confessed to detective Sgt. Louis Alvarez, during an interview that was video recorded and shown to the jury on Tuesday. Dixon told the detective he created the images at the request of a man named Brad, whom he said he met at a West Bank bookstore.

Dixon asserted he shared the videos with the man via text messages. But he otherwise denied harming or raping the child.

Detective Stephen Villere, who supervises the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office’s Digital Forensics Unit, found 14 illicit photographs and three videos on Dixon’s laptop computer and cell phone. All images were taken on Dixon’s phone, in July and August of 2012, and transferred to the laptop, Villere testified.

Dixon’s defense team denied the charges. Dixon’s mother testified in her son’s defense, accusing police of coercing the confession. She also asserted that someone else created the incriminating images.

The jury of five women and seven men deliberated a half hour in reaching its verdict. Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Dixon on June 15.

Assistant District Attorneys Blair Constant and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.

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