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Month: April 2016

Jury Finds Angie Man Guilty in Bogalusa Motel Shooting

Victim of Motel Shooting Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Separate Case

 

FRANKLINTON—A Washington Parish jury found John Peters, 20, of Angie, guilty Friday (April 22) of three counts of attempted second degree murder for a pre-dawn shooting at a Bogalusa motel in August 2014. Peters faces from 10 to 50 years in prison without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence when he is sentenced June 30 before District Judge Richard Swartz.

The jury took a little more than an hour to return the guilty verdict against Peters, who was one of three men involved in a shooting at the Sportsman Inn on Highway 21 in Bogalusa about 3 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2014. The men, all dressed in black and wearing gloves and masks, carried an assortment of guns, including an M-4-style assault rifle as they approached a second-floor room. They then began firing into the room, which was occupied by a man identified as Larry Alderson, now 40, of Pomona, California, his girlfriend, and her 6-year-old child. About 30 casings from the weapons were deposited in the parking lot.

None of the room’s occupants was injured, but one of the suspected shooters was inadvertently struck by gunfire from one of the other two masked men. The injured man was brought to Our Lady of the Angels emergency room with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated, and Detectives Robert Harris and Corbet Hunt quickly recovered the weapons used in the attack and identified Peters and the other two men as suspects. Ballistics on the casings at the scene and DNA samples linked Peters to a 9 mm weapon that also had been used in the shooting. Peters later confessed to police that he had been involved. Police believe the shooting was drug-related.

About three weeks after the motel shooting, Alderson, who had been inside the motel room with his girlfriend, was charged with first degree murder and attempted armed robbery in a separate case. The shooting victim, identified as Jonathan Roberts, was found Sept. 13, 2014, in the back yard of a United Methodist Church in Bogalusa. He had been shot in the head.

An investigation by the Bogalusa Police Department led to Alderson, who had fled to Mobile, Alabama. Alderson was brought back to face the charges, and last week on April 18, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted armed robbery in the case. District Judge Martin Coady sentenced Alderson to 40 years for the manslaughter charge and 10 years for attempted armed robbery. The sentences are to run consecutively for a total of 50 years. Assistant District Attorney John Alford handled the case against Alderson.

D.A. Warren Montgomery Recognizes Crime Victims and Service Providers

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery recognized local crime victims and service providers Thursday (April 14) during a special ceremony at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The event brought together about 130 community members, including a number of public officials, to underscore the importance of the justice system establishing trust with crime victims and to help restore their hope for healing and recovery.

“We believe that by better serving victims, we can build trust and help to restore hope in our justice system,” Montgomery said during the hour-long ceremony, held outside the District Attorney’s Office on the second floor of the Justice Center.

Montgomery, the keynote speaker, told the audience that over the past year he has added two full-time Victim Assistance Coordinators, which expanded the program to three coordinators. He said he also broadened the duties of other workers to include assisting victims.

Montgomery presented the following eight awards:

  • Award for Professional Innovation In Victim Services to Pastor Donald Bryan of First Pentecostal Church in Slidell for the Duluth Model domestic abuse intervention program
  • National Crime Victim Service Award to Washington Parish Rape Crisis Center and Executive Director Charlette Fornea for outstanding service to sexual assault victims
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award to Shane O’Hara and his Team 5:18 Ministries for their work to restore inmates’ relationships with their families, who are often the overlooked victims of crime
  • Special Courage Award to Hailey Michelle Brand for her brave testimony in a recent trial
  • Tomorrow’s Leaders Award to Beverly Brown and the group she co-founded, Kids Wanna Help, an umbrella organization that trains youths to raise money to donate to charities of their choice
  • Volunteer for Victims Award to Renewed Hope Center Inc. and Executive Director Trudy Godwin for Camp Hope, a free camp for children who have lost a loved one
  • A. Award to Assistant District Attorney Jay Adair and longtime Victim Assistance Coordinator Margaret Kerley for their outstanding service to victims.

The additional speakers included Sheri Eastridge, community educator for Safe Harbor; Paula Charles, managing attorney for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Inc.; and Samonica Brown, a Licensed Professional Counselor for Northshore Families Helping Families. Those three service providers and a number of others also set up tables and distributed information, educating the public about victims’ rights, protections, and available services.

Other program participants included: Dr. Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington, who gave the invocation; Rev. Dr. Atwood Luter, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Bogalusa, who gave the benediction; the Color Guard units from Bogalusa and Covington high schools; Abigail Williams, a student at Madisonville Jr. High School, who sang the National Anthem; and Chad Harry, the band director at Bogalusa High School, who sang “Make Them Hear You.”

Former Franklinton Town Clerk Gets Prison Time for Theft

 

Dawson CaprieceApril 12, 2016

FRANKLINTON—Capriece Dawson, 43, a former Franklinton town clerk, was sentenced Friday (April 8) to serve five years in prison and 10 years of probation upon her release for stealing money that resulted in losses of more than $115,000 to the town. A jury convicted Dawson in February of theft over $1,500 and malfeasance in office for the scheme.

District Judge Richard A. Swartz, Jr., suspended five of the 10 years he imposed on Dawson for the theft charge and also sentenced her to five years of probation. Swartz suspended Dawson’s five-year prison sentence on the malfeasance charge, but he added five more years of probation. The sentences on both charges are to be served consecutively. Dawson also was ordered to pay restitution (the amount has yet to be determined) during her 10 years of probation. If her probation is ever revoked, she could be ordered to serve the 10 years that have been suspended.

Customer complaints about irregular billing and payment accountability at Franklinton’s Water Department prompted the initial investigation by the town, which discovered problems and brought in state auditors. A state legislative audit in 2014 determined that another former clerk, Carmen Freeman, and Dawson did not follow proper billing procedures and misappropriated thousands of dollars. Both women initially admitted to auditors that they “borrowed” from customer utility collections for their own personal gain. But Dawson recanted that admission during the trial.

The Louisiana State Police also conducted an investigation. The town clerk examined records back to 2011 and found that the two employees would not credit payments to the accounts made by cash-paying customers and re-collected from the same customers. The women also altered bills to charge customers more than was actually owed, and they presumably pocketed the rest. Prosecutors had to prove only that Dawson stole more than $1,500, but they argued that losses to the town were greater than $115,000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hammond Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring with Deputies to Sell Drugs

Graham Rose

COVINGTON—Rose P. Graham, 47, of Hammond, agreed to plead guilty Thursday (April 7) to three counts of conspiracy for plotting to sell marijuana and cocaine on behalf of two Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deputies who were on a federal drug enforcement task force.

One of the deputies, Johnny Domingue, pleaded guilty last month and is awaiting sentencing. The other, Karl Newman, faces charges in both St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. Both were members of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force.

“This is one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption that I’ve seen—officers who take an oath to enforce the law, conspiring with drug dealers to break the law,” District Attorney Warren Montgomery said. “I am proud of the work that my office has done, in conjunction with federal and other state agencies, to root out these individuals and assure that they receive significant punishment.”

Graham faces from 10 to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine of between $100,000 and $175,000 on the first count, conspiracy to possess 200 to 400 grams of cocaine hydrochloride; from five to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine of up to $25,000 on the second count, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana; and from two to 15 years in prison at hard labor and a fine up to $25,000 for the third count, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute schedule II controlled dangerous substances.

Domingue and Newman executed a search warrant on August 14 last year at Graham’s Hammond home, where they found an assortment of drugs, $3,025 in cash, and two stolen handguns. The officers then began colluding with Graham, regarding the distribution of various controlled dangerous substances. Five months later, Graham met a buyer, who (unbeknownst to Domingue, Newman and Graham) was an undercover officer, in the parking lot of a Madisonville bar to sell about 5.35 pounds of marijuana that had been provided by Domingue. On Jan. 24, Graham again met the buyer at the bar and negotiated to sell an additional 10 pounds of marijuana from Domingue for $3,000. The sale was to take place the next day, but Domingue had grown suspicious that Graham’s drug customer was actually a police officer and advised her not to complete the sell. She ultimately sold the remaining drugs anyway to another customer.

On. Jan. 26, Louisiana state troopers executed a search warrant of Domingue’s residence in Maurepas, Louisiana, where they found evidence bags that had been signed over to him by Newman. One of the sealed bags included 300 grams of cocaine hydrochloride, while another had a small quantity of oxycodone and morphine-based pills and packaging for prescription pills. The troopers also located “tri-parish” evidence bags that included an assortment of prescription medications, empty pill bottles, and a voluminous number of manila envelopes that contained additional prescription medications. Some of the drugs had been obtained by Domingue from another law enforcement officer through a prescription drug take-back program.

As part of her plea agreement, Graham has agreed to cooperate with authorities in the ongoing investigation. She is set to be sentenced Oct. 13.

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Wife in Shooting Death of Local Physician

COVINGTON—A St. Tammany Parish grand jury declined to return an indictment Thursday (April 7) against Kacie Breen in the March 2015 shooting death of her husband, Dr. Wayne Breen, a Covington area obstetrician/gynecologist.

“The grand jury has spoken in this very tragic case,” District Attorney Warren Montgomery said. “We presented all the evidence we had to the members of this grand jury. They were able to subpoena witnesses, examine evidence, and question witnesses. After receiving the sheriff’s investigative report, we conducted an additional grand jury inquiry to uncover any possible new evidence. We also brought in an outside expert in crime scene reconstruction to review the case. After an exhaustive examination, he concluded that there was no evidence to contradict what Kacie Breen said to the police.”

Kacie Breen said she shot her husband in self-defense during an argument on March 1, 2015, in their Folsom home.

Montgomery said the grand jury fulfilled its duty to determine whether there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial. “To obtain a guilty verdict, prosecutors must prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said. “It is evident that the members of this grand jury did not believe that the evidence presented would warrant a conviction. The members of this grand jury heard the evidence, and we accept their decision. I thank the grand jury for their service.”