Tag: murder

Jalen Harvey guilty in Joseph Vindel’s marketplace app murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Sept. 1) deliberated 45 minutes in finding Jalen Harvey guilty of killing Joseph Vindel, a New Orleans man who was trying to sell his dirt bike through an online marketplace app last year when he was shot.

Harvey, 22, of Harvey, is guilty as charged of the first-degree murder of Vindel. The 29-year-old real estate agent was shot five or six times while sitting in the driver’s seat of his sports utility vehicle outside a West Bank apartment complex on the morning of March 7, 2021.

Vindel advertised his dirt bike’s sale through the OfferUp marketplace app. Harvey, who used a fake name and phone number on the app, responded to the advertisement with plans to use movie prop cash, or “play money,” to purchase the motorcycle while armed with a semiautomatic pistol.

Vindel towed the dirt bike on a trailer from his Uptown home to the West Bank. Through text messages, Harvey gave Vindel several meeting locations before directing him to the 2100 block of Manhattan Boulevard.

Harvey’s first gunshot struck Vindel on the right side of his face, causing a nonfatal wound. Harvey continued shooting, striking Vindel in the rear of his right shoulder, neck and to the back of his head. Vindel also suffered a gunshot wound to left hand.

His wounds were consistent with his being shot in the face and then turning away defensively as Harvey continued shooting him through the front passenger’s side window, according to expert testimony.

Vindel brought his pistol with him to make the transaction, but a round was never chambered, meaning he was not prepared to fire it. Alleging he was defending himself when he began shooting, Harvey said that Vindel pointed the pistol at him during the transaction and held it in his left hand. That was an impossibility, given the gunshot injury to Vindel’s left hand.

Evidence shows that Vindel’s heart was still pumping blood when Harvey dragged the body between the front seats to the back seat floorboard. Harvey then drove around the city in Vindel’s SUV for more than an hour.

In testimony Friday, Harvey admitted to dousing Vindel’s upper body with gasoline. He asserted he did so to kill DNA.

After leaving the body and SUV in the 2300 block of Coliseum Street in the Garden District, Harvey drove Vindel’s dirt bike back to his West Bank apartment.

A missing person’s investigation began on the night of March 7, 2021, more than 10 hours after Vindel left home to sell the dirt bike. After a search that included the New Orleans Police Department and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Vindel’s body and SUV were located early the following morning.

Detectives found Harvey through investigating his correspondence with Vindel in the marketplace app. They spotted Vindel’s motorcycle at Harvey’s apartment.

In addition to first-degree murder, Harvey was convicted as charged of obstruction of justice and monetary instrument abuse.

The obstruction charge stems from his eliminating evidence to hinder the investigation, including driving Vindel’s body to the Garden District. Vindel’s wallet and cell phone were never found.

The monetary instrument abuse charge involves his use of the movie prop money in the transaction. Detectives also found more than 175 fake $100 bills in his apartment.

The jury returned with its unanimous verdicts just after 9 p.m. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Harvey on Oct. 6. Harvey faces a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Lindsay Truhe and Zach Grate prosecuted the case.

Steven Tate, 2nd man convicted in Gretna murder, sentenced to life in prison

A Jefferson Parish judge has sentenced Steven Tate to life in prison for his conviction in the shooting death of Ethan Allen, a Marrero man who was killed during a robbery attempt in Gretna.

Tate, 25, of Metairie, was convicted by a unanimous jury on Aug. 10 of second-degree murder. The jury acquitted Tate of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Tate and Leonidas Lowry were accused of conspiring to lure Allen to the 800 block of Gulf Drive on Nov. 29, 2016, planning to rob him. When Allen arrived, Tate shot him. Allen in turn shot Tate multiple times.

Allen, 22, of Marrero, died near the shooting scene. The Gretna Police Department found the wounded Tate outside a nearby house.

Lowry, 22, who lived in the 800 block of Gulf Drive, was convicted as charged of second-degree murder on March 23. Because he was a 16-year-old juvenile at the time of the crime, Lowry was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after serving 25 years.

On Monday (Aug. 29), after denying defense requests for a new trial and post-verdict acquittal, Judge Scott Schlegel of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Tate to life in prison without probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Brittany Beckner prosecuted Tate.

Corey Woods convicted anew in Bunche Village triple-murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Friday (Aug. 19) convicted Corey Woods of killing three people, including the 16-year-old younger sister of his intended victim, while they sat inside a car in East Jefferson’s Bunche Village neighborhood.

Woods, 37, of Metairie, who is known as “Cocomo,” is guilty as charged of three counts of second-degree murder and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

On the night of Jan. 22, 2017, Woods killed Malcolm Wallace, 25, of Metairie; Wallace’s girlfriend, Daneka Lott, 24, of Kenner; and Wallace’s 16-year-old sister, whose name is withheld because she was a juvenile. Woods’ target was Wallace, and he killed Lott and the teenager to eliminate witnesses.

“Three people executed. Executed. Five different shots fired, each one saying, ‘I want you dead,’” Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese, who prosecuted with Lynn Schiffman, told jurors in closing argument Friday. “This was an execution, as cold-blooded a crime as you could imagine.”

Woods, a longtime acquaintance of the Wallace family, spent part of the evening with the family in their home, watching a football game.

Afterward, Woods, Wallace, Lott and the teenager traveled to a sporting goods store on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in a 2006 Honda Accord so Woods could purchase slippers. A 6-year-old boy at the Wallace residence wanted to tag along, but Woods gave the child $5 to remain behind, suggesting that he knew what was to happen.

After purchasing the slippers and stopping at a fast-food restaurant, they were returning to the Wallace residence. In the 1400 block of South Laurel Street, just off Mistletoe Street, Woods began shooting while inside the car.

Sitting behind the driver’s seat, Woods shot Wallace twice; a bullet severed his spinal cord. He shot Lott in the right side of her head. They both died later at a hospital.

Woods shot the 16-year-old girl in the back of her head. She died in the back seat.

Immediately after, Woods fled on foot across Airline Drive, taking with him the slippers they just purchased.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives booked Woods with the murders based on a combination of witnesses, cell phone records and business surveillance videos.

Woods was legally prohibited from possessing firearms because of narcotics convictions.

Woods denied being the killer. The jury deliberated less than 1 ½ hours before returning with its unanimous verdict.

This brings to two the number of times Woods was convicted of the killings. In November 2018, a jury found Woods guilty as charged, and he subsequently was sentenced to life in prison.

However, he received a new trial because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 decision, Ramos vs. Louisiana, which mandates unanimous jury verdicts. The jury that convicted Woods in 2018 was nonunanimous, 10-2 in favor of guilt.

Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Woods on Sept. 2.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted Woods.

Lawrence Sly convicted of murdering his neighbor in Woodmere

 

 

A Jefferson Parish jury Friday evening (June 17) found Lawrence Sly guilty as charged of second-degree murder for killing his neighbor, a crime that was the culmination of years of disputes between the two men.

Sly, now 70, shot Webber, 57, six times outside their homes in the 3800 block of Chinkapin Street, in the Woodmere subdivision. Webber was unarmed.

Just before the Nov. 11, 2019 encounter, Sly was leaving his home and noticed Webber was home. Sly then retrieved his Smith & Wesson 9mm semiautomatic pistol. As he departed, Webber emerged from his home and, according to Sly, threatened him.

Sly shot Webber in a knee, a shoulder and the other knee as the men stood on Sly’s property, at the sidewalk between their driveways. Sly then shot Webber in his back. As Webber stumbled across the street, Sly reloaded his pistol with another magazine.

Finally, after Webber collapsed on the sidewalk across Chinkapin Drive unable to walk further, Sly stood over the victim and shot him twice more in the head. Webber died there in a pool of his blood.

Sly remained on scene for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. He asserted self-defense, saying Webber was threatening him and reaching at his pants waistband as though he was armed. Sly alleged he shot Webber after Webber began walking menacing toward him and continued shooting him.

Sly also told detectives that he “shot him in his head because I wasn’t, I wasn’t letting him come back on me.”

The Sheriff’s Office booked Sly with manslaughter. A Jefferson Parish grand jury later returned with a charge of second-degree murder.

Evidence shows the neighbors’ disputes can be traced to Oct. 3, 2015, when Sly called the Sheriff’s Office to report that Webber was outside his home holding a shotgun. Deputies took no action because Webber committed no crimes.

On Oct. 30, 2015, the Sheriff’s Office again was summoned to Chinkapin Street because Webber was cutting his grass while holding the shotgun. He committed no crimes.

Two years later, Sly again called the Sheriff’s Office to report that Webber pointed the shotgun at him. For that, Webber was charged with felony aggravated assault. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor aggravated assault and received one year of probation after Sly sought to drop charges. Webber remained on probation until April 2019

In May 2018, Sly and Webber engaged in a physical altercation that led to injuries requiring medical treatment.

The jury that was seated on Tuesday deliberated about 3 ½ hours Friday before returning its unanimous verdict. Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Sly on July 11.

Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Vanderhooft and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.

Jefferson Parish jury: Pedro Monterroso murdered girlfriend, left young sons with her body

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (March 24) deliberated just over 20 minutes in convicting Pedro Monterroso of beating his girlfriend to death in their Metairie apartment while five of his children lay in a bed just feet away.

Monterroso, 51, is guilty as charged of the second-degree murder of Heidy Monroy, 24. The crime occurred in the early morning hours of July 13, 2014, in the apartment they shared in the 4000 block of Durand Street.

According to evidence presented at trial, Monterroso argued with Monroy over whether she was involved with another man. The fight turned physical, and he fatally beat and stabbed her as she lay in a bathtub. She died from blunt-force injuries to her head, and her hands had injuries indicative of defensive wounds.

After killing her, he rounded up three of his five children that were in the apartment and fled to Texas. The youngest of the three was a son he had with Monroy, a child who was whisked away wearing only a diaper, according to testimony. Monterroso fathered the other two children with Monroy’s sister.

Monterroso left behind in the apartment his two sons whom he fathered with Monroy. The boys found their mother’s nude body in the tub and sought help from a neighbor. That person notified the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, according to trial evidence.

Monterroso “just left them there to fend for themselves,” Assistant District Attorney Kellie Rish told jurors in closing argument.

Monterroso was arrested the following day in Katy, Texas, and later extradited to Jefferson Parish to face charges.

In the apartment, investigators found a length of rebar wrapped in duct tape. Monterroso’s DNA was recovered from one end of the bar. Monroy’s hair and blood was found on the other end, according to testimony.

Monterroso used numerous aliases, including Pedro Monterroso Navas, Pedro Alberto Monterroso Navas, Wilson Rigoberto Varela Mena, Marlin Jovani Varela Mena, Carlos Humberto Cisneros Avila and Alberto Cisneros.

During the three-day trial, jurors heard testimony showing that Monterroso was physically abusive to Monroy, her sister and his children. The abuse included him hanging them upside-down using chains while they lived in Central America.

Jurors also heard that he was romantically involved with Monroy’s sister, who bore four of his children while she was unaware that he was married to another woman. And while in this relationship, Monterroso began having a relationship with her younger sister Heidy Monroy, who was a juvenile when it started. He fathered children with her, too, according to testimony.

While acknowledging that their client killed Monroy, Monterroso’s attorneys urged the jury to not be swayed by sympathy for the children. The attorneys asked jurors find Monterroso guilty of negligent homicide, a crime that is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence is the mandatory punishment for second-degree murder. Judge Donald “Chick” Foret of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Monterroso on May 4.

Assistant District Attorney Zach Popovich assisted ADA Rish in prosecuting Monterroso.

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.

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.

 

Melvin Miller sentenced to back-to-back life sentences for Metairie double murder

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (March 5) sentenced Melvin Miller to two back-to-back life sentences in prison for his conviction of murdering a couple in their Metairie apartment seven years ago.

Miller, 27, of Baton Rouge, was convicted as charged by a jury on Feb. 5 of two counts of second-degree murder. He killed Akeem Boudreaux, 27, and his transgender partner Morris Alexander Williams, 26, who used the names Milan or Mimi.

Miller shot both of them in their heads on the night of Feb. 5, 2013, in their apartment in the 2200 block of Edenborn Avenue. Their bodies were discovered nine days later, along with the couple’s dog.

After killing the couple, Miller returned to Baton Rouge in Williams’ car and took with him Williams’ iPhone and computer, according to evidence presented at trial. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office tracked the car to Baton Rouge via the license plate recognition system and developed Miller as the suspect.

Baton Rouge police arrested Miller on Feb. 16, 2013, after responding to a domestic dispute between Miller and his transgender lover, Joseph “Jasmine” Alexander. Alexander later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the murders, after she admitted to throwing away bullets Miller kept in their apartment.

After hearing victim-impact testimony Thursday, Judge Scott Schlegel of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Miller to two mandatory life sentences and ran them consecutively.

Explaining the back-to-back sentences, Judge Schlegel cited Miller’s “callous” behavior in murdering the couple and then driving around in their car for days. Judge Schlegel also said Miller showed his lack of remorse on Feb. 20, his initial sentencing date, when he had an outburst in the courtroom. Miller was angered by the continuance, which the District Attorney’s Office requested because members of the victims’ family were unable to attend the initial sentencing hearing.

Judge Schlegel also sentenced Miller to 20 years in prison for his conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The jury that convicted Miller of the murders also found him guilty of the gun offense. That sentence was run concurrently with the two life sentences.

Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Truhe and Doug Freese prosecuted the case.

Melvin Miller guilty of murdering transgender woman, her lover in Metairie

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday (Feb. 5) found Melvin Miller guilty of killing a transgender woman and her live-in lover in their Metairie apartment seven years ago.

Miller, 27, of Baton Rouge, was convicted as charged of two counts of second-degree murder in the Feb. 5, 2013 deaths of Akeem Boudreaux, 22, and Morris Alexander Williams, 26, who also went by the names Milan or Mimi.

Miller shot each of them once in their heads in the 2200 block of Edenborn Avenue. The bodies were discovered nine days later.

Miller, who traveled to Metairie via the LA Swift bus service on the day of the homicides, returned to Baton Rouge in Williams’ silver Pontiac and took Williams’ iPhone and computer early the following morning, according to evidence presented at trial. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detective Sgt. Rhonda Goff tracked the suspect to Baton Rouge via the stolen car and the license plate recognition system.

Alerted that Miller was wanted in Jefferson Parish, Baton Rouge police arrested him on Feb. 16, 2013, after responding to a domestic dispute between Miller and his transgender lover, Joseph Alexander, who uses the name Jasmine. In October 2015, Alexander pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for discarding bullets she found in their apartment during the homicide investigation and received five years of probation.

Miller also was convicted as charged of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was legally barred from possessing guns because of a 2012 burglary conviction in Baton Rouge.

The jury, which was seated on Monday, deliberated under two hours in reaching the verdicts. Judge Scott Schlegel of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Miller on Feb. 20.

UPDATE: Miller’s sentencing hearing was reset for March 5.

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Lindsay Truhe prosecuted the case.

Irwin Gomez-Colon guilty of brutal stabbing, strangulation murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Dec. 5) found Irwin Gomez-Colon guilty of brutally stabbing and strangling a woman in her Terrytown apartment.

Gomez-Colon, 34, is guilty as charged of second-degree murder in the April 22, 2017, death of Nancy Yahaira Gomez Rodriguez, 33, a native of the Dominican Republic. Gomez-Colon and Rodriguez knew each other and lived in neighboring apartment complexes, according to trial evidence.

According to evidence presented at trial this week, Rodriguez was stabbed 24 times in her back and strangled in her apartment in the 2100 block of Empire Place. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the crime, found her bloody fingerprint on the apartment entry door, indicating she tried to escape as Gomez-Colon stabbed her.

Gomez-Colon was arrested two days after he killed Rodriguez, after he was linked to the crime through his DNA, which was recovered from a used condom that deputies found in her blood on the floor next to her body, according to trial evidence.

On Rodriguez’s kitchen countertop at the sink, deputies found his blood and evidence suggesting he attempted to clean up after killing her. He suffered two stab wounds on his right shoulder and a laceration on the palm of his right hand that is indicative of a slippage wound, caused when his hand slid down the blade as he stabbed the victim.

The jury also heard that Gomez-Colon had been arrested but never prosecuted for the alleged rapes of three other women, in Houston, Texas, in April 2014; in New Orleans in April 2015 and Jacksonville, Fla., in April 2016. Each of those women testified this week about how Gomez-Colon strangled them during the act, showing similarities to what happened to Rodriguez.

The jury deliberated about an hour before returning with its unanimous verdict. Judge Frank Brindisi of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Gomez-Colon to life in prison with no probation, parole or suspension of sentence on Jan. 6.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Joshua Vanderhooft prosecuted the case.