Tag: elder abuse

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.


Harvey man convicted of exploiting elderly woman, taking $800,000

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday evening (May 1) convicted Paul Juarez of exploiting an elderly Terrytown woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, assuming legal control of her finances and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of her money on many unexplained expenses.

Juarez, 72, of Harvey, is guilty as charged of exploitation of persons with infirmities in connection with his spending more than $800,000 of Marjorie Blake’s money during a six-year period, the jury found. Ms. Blake, a retired nurse and divorcée from North Carolina who had no children, died in March 2014 at age 85.

“She died penniless and alone,” Assistant District Attorney Lynn Schiffman, who prosecuted Juarez with Assistant District Attorney Johnny Carr, told jurors.

According to evidence presented at trial, Juarez knew Blake through their West Bank church and, after she was medically deemed unable to make decisions for herself due to Alzheimer’s in 2008, he assumed power of attorney for the ailing woman. Juarez refused to allow Ms. Blake’s closest relative, a niece who lives in North Carolina, to even visit her aunt.

Testimony showed that in 2010 Juarez transferred more than $300,000 from Ms. Blake’s bank to his own without explanation. He also made himself and his wife the exclusive beneficiaries to Ms. Blake’s life insurance policy. He used her money to pay a tax bill in Florida, in a county where his wife owned a business.

Ms. Blake’s niece, who was named in the will, contacted her attorney, who in turn contacted the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, leading to Juarez’s arrest.

Juarez denied exploiting Ms. Blake. His attorney argued that Ms. Blake made arrangement with Juarez to tend to her own care, and that he was carrying out her wishes. She wasn’t close to her niece, and she didn’t want to return to North Carolina, his attorney argued.

The six-member jury deliberated less than an hour before returning with its verdict. Judge Conn Regan of the 24th Judicial District Court is presiding over the case.

(UPDATE: Judge Regan on May 6 set Juarez’s sentencing hearing for July 11.)

Assistant District Attorneys Lynn Schiffman and Johnny Carr prosecuted the case.

Marrero home invader sentenced to 68 years in prison as habitual offender

A Jefferson Parish judge on Wednesday (Oct. 10) resentenced Brandon Pike to 68 years in prison, finding that the man who was convicted earlier this year of brutally beating an 84-year-old woman in her home is a second-felony offender.

Pike, 39, Marrero, was convicted as charged in February of aggravated burglary and second-degree battery. The convictions stem from New Year’s Eve 2016, when Pike kicked in the front door of the woman’s 16th Street home in Marrero, ordered her to give him money, and when she said she had none, he proceeded to punch her in the head until she lost consciousness. He left with her television, according to trial evidence.

The woman regained consciousness and called a family member, who in turn notified a neighbor who found the victim on the living floor next to her Christmas tree with gifts still under it, according to trial evidence. She later was able to identify Pike as her attacker.

A Jefferson Parish jury convicted Pike on Feb. 28. In March, Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Pike to 30 years in prison for the aggravated burglary and eight years for the second-degree battery, run consecutively for a total of 38 years.

On Wednesday, Pike was returned to Judge Rowan’s court for his multiple bill hearing. According to court records, in 2011, Pike pleaded guilty as charged to unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, after he was caught in Marrero driving a 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis that had been stolen in Terrebonne Parish. That conviction was used in the multiple bill to enhance the sentence.

After ruling that Pike is a double offender, Judge Rowan vacated the 30-year sentence for the aggravated burglary and resentenced him to 60 years. He ran the eight years for the second-degree battery consecutive to the 60 years, for a total of 68 years.

In explaining his decision, Judge Rowan recalled trial evidence showing the victim’s injuries. “Her eye was swollen shut. She was left to lay on that floor all night, which I believe was New Year’s Eve.”

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