Tag: murder

In ‘Ramos’ retrial, Ivory Franklin convicted anew in Harvey teen’s murder

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (March 29) found Ivory Franklin guilty of shooting a teenager in the back of his head as they walked along a Harvey drainage canal bank. Franklin also was convicted of attempting to kill a second teenager in the same shooting.

Franklin, 25, of Harvey, is guilty as charged of the second-degree murder of Reginald Black, 17, and the attempted second-degree murder of Black’s 15-year-old nephew, jurors unanimously decided after two hours of deliberations.

This marked the third time Franklin stood trial for the killings. In October 2017, a jury could not reach a legal verdict, resulting in a mistrial. The following year, a second trial was held. He was convicted as charged. He received a life sentence plus 40 years.

However, Franklin was granted a new trial in September 2020, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided in its Ramos v. Louisiana decision that non-unanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional. The jury in Franklin’s second trial did not return with unanimous verdicts.

About 3 a.m., on May 5, 2016, Franklin, then 18, and the victims were walking along the canal’s concrete embankment behind homes on Windmere Court in the Woodmere subdivision, en route to a convenience store. They were walking in a single-file line, with Black in the front and the 15-year-old in the rear.

Black asked for a light for his cigarette when Franklin pulled the revolver out from his waistband and fired once into the back of Black’s head. He then turned to the 15-year-old behind him and began shooting. One bullet ricocheted off the concrete embankment.

In testimony Wednesday, the victim stared unflinchingly at Franklin as he described seeing Black shot to death. He leapt into the canal water and emerged on the other side to seek help by banging on a resident’s front door. That resident called 911. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded found Black lying face-down on the canal bank.

Franklin denied it. He blamed the 15-year-old, whom he accused of smoking marijuana and was playing with a pistol when it discharged.

The jury that was seated on Tuesday deliberated two hours before returning with its verdicts at 11:30 p.m., Wednesday. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Franklin on April 28.

Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Stephen Downer prosecuted the case.


Viusqui Perez-Espinosa sentenced, again, to life in prison for Kenner murder, dismemberment

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Feb. 9) sentenced Viusqui Perez-Espinosa to life in prison for murdering his rival in a Kenner love triangle before cutting up the body and dumping the parts in a St. John the Baptist Parish swamp.

Perez, 50, was convicted as charged last week of the second-degree murder of Ives Alexis Portales-Lara.  Portales was last seen alive on the evening of Jan. 11, 2016, in the Baylor Place apartment complex he shared with a woman and her ex-boyfriend, Perez.

Portales, who moved to the New Orleans area to be near his young daughter, was a native of Honduras and was 28.

Perez was convicted of the murder and of obstruction of justice in 2018. But the jury in that trial returned with a non-unanimous verdict on the murder count. Perez received a new trial for the murder, only, in 2020, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Ramos vs. Louisiana that non-unanimous verdicts are unconstitutional.

The second jury seated to weigh the murder charge deliberated about four hours before returning with its unanimous guilty verdict on Jan. 31.

Perez and Portales were friends and coworkers whose commonality extended to a woman. Perez was sexually involved with her, but that relationship ended after she needed medical care that took her out of the United States briefly and he became involved with another woman.

Portales moved into the apartment with Perez’s ex, and that arrangement evolved into a sexual relationship. Perez, who temporarily moved back into the apartment, learned of the relationship and wanted to end it. On the morning of Jan. 11, 2016, Perez sexually assaulted the woman in the apartment after Portales departed to work. He returned to the apartment that evening and was never seen again.

The following month, a fisherman found the right arm in the Reserve Canal off Interstate 10, just west of LaPlace. The torso and leg parts were found by pipeline workers in the area the following week. The remaining body parts were never located.

DNA was used to confirm the parts were Portales’, leading to Perez’s indictment and convictions. At trial, he asserted self-defense.

Following the first trial, Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Perez to the 40-year maximum for obstruction of justice, for his attempts to conceal the murder. The jury was unanimous on that charge, and his conviction remained intact. The life sentence she gave him in 2018 was overturned due to the Ramos decision.

On Thursday, Judge Kovach denied the defense’s motions for post-verdict judgment of acquittal and for a new trial. After hearing impact statements written by Portales’ family in Honduras, Judge Kovach sentenced Perez to the mandatory punishment of life in prison, without suspension of sentence, parole or probation, for killing Portales.

Judge Kovach ran the life sentence consecutive to the 40-year sentence she gave him in 2018 for obstruction of justice, and consecutive to the 6-month jail sentence she gave Perez last week in holding him in contempt for his lashing out at a prosecutor during her cross-examination.

Judge Kovach further denied a defense motion to reconsider the sentence, saying “the facts and circumstances of this case are particularly egregious.”

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.

In ‘Ramos’ retrial, Kenner man convicted anew of murdering, dismembering rival in love triangle

A Jefferson Parish jury on Tuesday night (Jan. 31) found Viusqui Perez-Espinosa guilty of killing his rival for the affections of a woman in Kenner. After killing Ives Alexis Portales-Lara, Perez disarticulated the body and dumped the parts in a St. John the Baptist swamp in 2016.

Perez, 50, a native of Cuba and a former butcher, was convicted as charged of second-degree murder, jurors unanimously decided during almost four hours of deliberations.

This brings to two the number of times he’s been convicted of killing Portales, 28. A non-unanimous jury found him guilty in March 2018, and he was sentenced to mandatory life in prison.

However, in its April 2020 Ramos vs. Louisiana decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that non-unanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional. As a result, Louisiana’s 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in September 2020 ordered that Perez would be retried for the second-degree murder.

Perez also was convicted in his 2018 trial of obstruction of justice for disposing Portales’ remains and cleaning the crime scene to cover up his crime. That jury was unanimous on that count. He is serving a 40-year sentence for that crime.

Perez and Portales were friends and co-workers who were romantically involved with the same woman, albeit at different times. Perez was first involved with the woman before their 18-month relationship ended in September 2016. Portales’ secret relationship with her began soon after he moved into the Baylor Place apartment with her.

Perez wanted to rekindle the relationship and wanted Portales out of the picture. Three days before the murder, Perez moved in with Portales and the woman. He offered Portales money to move out. Portales declined.

On the morning of Nov. 11, 2016, Perez sexually assaulted the woman after Portales left for work. Portales was last seen alive that afternoon when he returned to the apartment from his job.

The Kenner Police Department opened a missing persons investigation soon after. When questioned, Perez repeatedly denied knowing of Portales’ whereabouts. An officer noticed blood on the sofa, leading police to obtain a search warrant. Perez, meanwhile, was arrested on suspicion of raping the woman.

Using chemicals and a special light, Kenner police found evidence of a large amount of blood on the floor that had been recently cleaned. The police also found evidence of blood spatter on the walls, a plant and on the sofa, and on a jacket in the trunk of Perez’s car.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Lab used DNA analysis to determine that the blood in the apartment and on the jacket belonged to Portales. Analysts accomplished this by matching his genetic material recovered from his personal items in the apartment to that of his daughter.

The investigation expanded to include the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office in late December 2016, when dismembered human remains were discovered in the Reserve Canal off Interstate 10.

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office DNA analyst then confirmed the body parts belonged to Portales. Perez was then booked with his murder.

Police recovered numerous text messages Perez sent to others in which he used derogatory terms to describe Portales and his anger over his rival continuing to live in the apartment.

Testifying Tuesday, Perez denied sexually assaulting the woman. He told jurors that on the evening of Nov. 11, 2016, Portales attacked him with a knife. During the struggle that followed, Perez alleged, the knife cut Portales’ neck, and he bled to death.

Pressed by a prosecutor during cross-examination to describe what he did to the body, Perez cried and in Spanish called her a “torturer” and “a Nazi.” For that, Perez was held in contempt of court and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Although Perez described a violent struggle, a neighbor in the adjacent apartment described only hearing the vent hood motor whirring above Perez’s stovetop for several hours. The neighbor then noted the smell of bleach emanating from next door.

The jury returned with his guilty verdict just before 11 p.m., ending the 7-day-long trial. Judge Ellen Shirer Kovach of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Perez on Feb. 9.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Richard Olivier prosecuted the case.


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.


Jalen Harvey gets life sentence for killing Joseph Vindel

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Oct. 6) sentenced Jalen Harvey to a mandatory life sentence in prison for killing Joseph Vindel, a New Orleans man who was fatally shot while trying to sell his dirt bike through an online marketplace app.

Harvey 22, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of first-degree murder for killing Vindel on March 7, 2021. The 29-year-old real estate agent was sitting in the driver’s seat of his sports utility vehicle at the West Bank apartment complex where Harvey resided when he was shot five or six times.

Harvey then dragged the mortally wounded Vindel to the back seat of his SUV and then drove around the area for more than an hour. Harvey left Vindel’s body and his SUV in the 2300 block of Coliseum Street in New Orleans’ Garden District and returned to his West Bank apartment on Vindel’s dirt bike.

Following his weeklong trial, a Jefferson Parish jury on Sept. 1 unanimously convicted Harvey as charged of the first-degree murder, obstruction of justice and monetary instrument abuse.

The obstruction charge involves Harvey’s getting rid of evidence – Vindel’s body, SUV, dirt bike, wallet and cell phone. Harvey was convicted of monetary abuse because his use of fake movie prop cash.

On Thursday, after hearing impact testimony from Vindel’s parents, his girlfriend and his best friend, Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Harvey to life for the murder, 20 years for obstruction of justice and 10 years for monetary instrument abuse. Judge Adams ran the sentences concurrently.

The life sentence is to be serve without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Click here to read more about the trial.

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

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.