Tune in the 2nd Wednesday of each month for listen to Mr. Montgomery.
From the Lake: DA Warren Montgomery was in the studios this morning. We talked Veteran’s Court, technology and about his plans for the Christmas break. Thanks to the DA for his time. He said info will be online soon at the new Vet’s Court on DAMontgomery.org.
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced that a St. Tammany Parish jury has found Jason Yates, 39, of Grand Bay, Alabama, guilty of downloading multiple files containing child pornography at his Covington office three years ago. The jury returned the guilty verdict Thursday (Dec. 8) on five counts of possession of pornography of juveniles under 13 and two counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles.
Yates, who worked as a warehouse employee at a company that installed satellite dishes, faces from 10 to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced by District Judge William Knight on Jan. 5, 2017.
Yates’ crime came to light when the investigation division of the Louisiana Department of Justice (Attorney General’s Office) was alerted that files suggestive of child pornography had been downloaded to a computer at a Covington business. An investigation by Brian Brown, Lisa Maher, Brett LaBauve, and Alex Harris of the Louisiana Department of Justice led to Yates, who was alone in the office when the files were downloaded.
Assistant District Attorneys John Alford and Luke Lancaster prosecuted the case.
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury on Thursday (Dec. 8) indicted Jerry J. Kan, 58, a former cook at an assisted living facility in Mandeville, of raping an elderly woman who lived there. Kan was formally charged with first degree rape of a person over the age of 65.
On August 26, an employee of Beau Provence Memory Care Assisted Living contacted the Mandeville Police Department with information about possible sexual misconduct between Kan, who was working at the facility at the time, and a 78-year-old resident. Kan had been seen exiting the resident’s room several times on Aug. 21. A nurse who went to check on the resident after Kan left found her partially clothed and attempting to get dressed. An investigation resulted in Kan’s arrest on August 29.
Beau Provence exclusively serves people who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. An administrator at the facility was later charged with obstruction of justice. Her case is still under review.
FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced that Kyle Warren, 26, of Bogalusa, has pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and armed robbery for robbing a Bogalusa convenience store and attacking the cashier and a customer with a pipe earlier this year.
After Warren’s guilty plea on Tuesday (Dec. 6), District Judge Martin Coady sentenced him to 25 years in prison without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
Warren was one of two masked men who entered the Thrifty Shop in Bogalusa about 9:45 p.m. on Feb. 9 with pipes and began to attack the cashier and a customer. The cashier and customer fought back, causing the masked men to flee. The event was captured on the store’s surveillance system. The clerk told Bogalusa Police Department officers that the two men had been visiting the store frequently before the robbery.
An investigation by the Bogalusa police led to the arrest of Warren and his father, Ronald Warren, who is set for trial Dec. 12.
Kyle Warren also pleaded guilty to other pending charges, including domestic abuse battery by strangulation and second degree battery for attacking a pregnant woman last year. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He was sentenced to two years in prison after his guilty plea to theft for stealing money from a woman’s purse in a Wal Mart grocery cart. Both sentences will be served concurrently with the 25-year term.
A Washington Parish grand jury indicted Lance J. Grandison, 31, of Franklinton, Wednesday (Nov. 29) of aggravated rape of a victim under 13.
Grandison is accused of raping a 5-year-old girl who was left in his care about five years ago. The victim, now 11, disclosed the rape to her mother, who contacted the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office. Grandison was arrested on a warrant about seven months later.
COVINGTON—A St. Tammany Parish jury found Larry Bickham, 60, of Slidell, guilty Friday (Nov. 18) of charges related to his 17-month-old daughter’s positive test for cocaine during a hospital stay in 2014. Bickham is set for sentencing Jan. 20 before District Judge William Burris for second-degree cruelty to a juvenile and simple cruelty to a juvenile for allowing the victim to be present during the manufacturing, distribution, or purchasing of cocaine.
Bickham, who has other felony convictions, faces up to life in prison if sentenced as a habitual offender.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery said: “At the heart of this case is a beautiful little girl, who at just 17 months old tested positive for cocaine in her system. She had no say in her father’s drug addiction. But the jury rightly held her father responsible for the harm his addiction caused this little girl.”
The case against Bickham stemmed from an incident on May 1, 2014, when his toddler daughter was rushed to the emergency room at Ochsner Hospital in Slidell and tested positive for cocaine. Witnesses testified during the weeklong trial that they had smoked crack and used drugs with Bickham and the girl’s mother, Kayla Gregg, on numerous occasions while the child was in the home.
By the time of the emergency room visit, though, Gregg was no longer living with Bickham and had left the baby with him. A woman who had kept the toddler for Bickham in the past testified that he called her on May 1, 2014, and asked her to care for the toddler temporarily because the baby was not feeling well. The temporary caregiver testified that she brought the child home with her but then rushed to the emergency room after the toddler showed signs of having a seizure.
Bickham’s attorneys argued that the trip to the emergency room was part of a scheme by the temporary caregiver, who had been a friend of the toddler’s mother, to get full custody of the child from Bickham.
Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims prosecuted the case with Assistant District Attorney William Macke. They urged the jury to block out the distractions of the case. Sims in his closing argument told the jury that the little girl had been failed by those expected to protect her, and he urged the jury to hold the father accountable. The jury deliberated about 3½ hours before returning a unanimous verdict on the simple cruelty charge and voting 10-2 on the second-degree cruelty charge.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery made the following statement Tuesday, regarding the recent ruling by ad hoc Judge Marion Edwards in the District Attorney’s civil lawsuit against parish government: “I and the Louisiana District Attorneys Association do not believe the ruling is a correct interpretation of the law. Also, a year ago, the people voted to keep the D.A. as the legal adviser for parish government. A fundamental American principle is that power belongs to the people. Judge Edwards’ ruling contradicts the will of the people, as expressed in their vote. Therefore, I am appealing the ruling.”
COVINGTON—Keith J. Lafrance, 35, of Covington, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the forcible rape of a woman two years ago. District Judge Raymond Childress issued the sentence Oct. 31, about 2½ weeks after a jury found him guilty.
The crime came to light on Sept. 22, 2014, when police received an anonymous call that a woman had been severely beaten at a home in Covington. When St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at the residence, the woman initially was afraid to open the door and talk to them. But one of the officers, Det. Lawrence Hudson, had investigated a prior incident, involving Lafrance and the same victim. The officers persisted, and she eventually let them inside and told them that Lafrance had threatened to kill her if she left or told anyone what happened.
The victim said she had gone to the house on Sept. 21, 2014, to pick up her car, but Lafrance became irate and attacked her, punching, kicking, and hitting her repeatedly with her mobile phone so hard that it shattered. He also berated and raped her, threatened to kill her, took her car to another location, and ordered her to stay inside without her car or mobile phone until she healed. Officers were able to identify the anonymous callers as two furniture rental employees, who said they had gone to the home to pick up furniture and noticed that the woman had been severely injured and appeared terrified. The men testified during the trial that they called 9-1-1 because they were concerned for her safety and well-being.
Lafrance had pleaded guilty in June to domestic abuse aggravated assault and domestic abuse battery, for a July 2014 incident, involving the same victim. He pushed her down, kicked, beat, and threatened her alternately with a kitchen knife and gun. Police also found Alprazolam and marijuana on him, and he also pleaded guilty to possession of both. He was sentenced to three years in prison on each of the drug charges and one year for each of the domestic abuse charges. All of the time was to be served concurrently.
Assistant District Attorneys Becky Jo Hollen and Jay Adair prosecuted the case.