West Bank men receive heavy prison sentences for 2015 crime spree that included murder

Six days after they were convicted of a 2015 crime spree that left one man dead and another bound to a wheelchair for life, two West Bank men were sentenced Thursday (Sept. 14).

Corey Flag, 25, of Marrero, was sentenced to life plus 167 years in prison. Emmett Garrison IV, 18, of Gretna, was sentenced to 197 years in prison and awaits his punishment for murder.

Because he was under age 18 at the time, Garrison cannot face a mandatory life sentence for murder, as Louisiana’s statute requires for adults. Garrison could be deemed parole eligible after 25 years but also could get life in prison without parole.

Judge John Molaison of the 24th Judicial District Court set a Nov. 6 hearing to consider Garrison’s punishment for the second-degree murder.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Friday night unanimously convicted Flag and Garrison as charged of offenses asserted in a 10-count indictment. The crimes included the second-degree murder of Bruce Lutcher Sr., 34, who was shot multiple times while being robbed outside his apartment in the 1600 block of Ute Drive on Nov. 23, 2015.

They also were convicted of robbing and attempting to rob three men outside their apartments in Terrytown and Harvey, within an hour’s span on Dec. 11, 2015. One of the victims, a 25-year-old man, was shot by Garrison and left paralyzed from the waist down.

Flag also was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegal use of a firearm. Garrison was convicted of attempted second-degree murder, for shooting the man who was left paralyzed. Together they were convicted of conspiracy to commit armed robbery and illegal discharge of a firearm. The latter charge involved a Dec. 9, 2015 drive-by shooting in Marrero.

Judge Molaison, in explaining his reasons for sentencing, noted Flag and Garrison robbed four victims, all involving a firearm. Judge Molaison said he found no mitigating grounds to excuse their criminal conduct.

UPDATE: Following several court appearances during which testimony was given, Garrison, now 20, was sentenced on Dec. 3, 2018, to a mandatory life sentence in prison for his second-degree murder conviction.

Judge William “Chuck” Credo III, sitting ad hoc in the court’s Division E seat, ordered Garrison’s life sentence to be served consecutive to the 197 years given by Judge Molaison.

In court filings, prosecutors in October 2017 announced their intent to seek life without parole for Garrison and requested sentencing hearings. Because he was under age 18 at the time he participated in the murder of Mr. Lutcher, Garrison could not automatically face a mandatory life sentence in prison. By law, life without parole is reserved for “the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption,” according to court documents. 

Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Rachel Africk prosecuted the case.

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