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Month: March 2018

Covington Man Found Guilty of Sexual Battery of a Juvenile

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Gregory Allen Schwaner, 51, of Covington, guilty Wednesday (March 28) of two counts of sexual battery on a juvenile. The jury of nine men and three women deliberated about two hours before returning the guilty verdict to District Judge Martin E. Coady.

Schwaner began the abuse when the victim was 12 years old. The abuse continued for more than a year until Schwaner was caught in bed with the victim. Schwaner, who testified in his own defense, was unable to provide a legitimate reason why he was in bed with the victim and wearing only underwear.

The case was investigated by detective Adam Maillho of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office. This case is a great example of multi-disciplinary teams from various agencies working together. In addition to the District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Offices, others involved included Hope House and Child Advocacy Center in Covington and The Audrey Hepburn CARE Center of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.

The defendant was represented by Attorney Ralph Whalen. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Holly McGinness and Jay Adair.

Slidell Man Gets 40 Years In Prison for Raping 12-Year-Old Girl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 27, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Jose David Raibstein, 61, of Slidell, pleaded guilty Monday (March 26) to forcible rape of a 12-year-old girl.  District Judge August Hand sentenced Raibstein to 40 years in prison.

The victim was visiting Raibstein’s home in May 2013, when he raped her during the night. The victim later disclosed the crime to her family members, who called police.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated and obtained a warrant for Raibstein’s arrest, but he had fled to Honduras, where he is also a citizen. The Honduran government refused to extradite him back to the United States. Raibstein was arrested two years later on a warrant in Texas.

District Attorney John Alford prosecuted the case.

Bogalusa Man Gets 10 Years in Prison for Trying to Kill Wife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 27, 2018

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Michael J. Hortman, 52, of Bogalusa, pleaded guilty Tuesday (March 27) to attempted second degree murder. District Judge William J. Knight sentenced him to 10 years in prison without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

The crime occurred Sept. 29, 2017, when an agitated Hortman came home from work, threatened to kill his wife, struck her with a gun, and pulled the trigger multiple times, but it did not discharge initially. Hortman then reloaded, fired again several times in the house and at his wife, with at least one bullet flying past her head. When he put the gun on a shelf, she grabbed it and fled from the house.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated, and Hortman was later arrested on a warrant. Assistant DistrictAttorney Jason Cuccia prosecuted the case.

Grand Jury Indicts Tennessee Man In Accident That Killed Motorist

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted Curtis Osko, 31, of Indian Mound, Tennessee, Thursday (March 22) with careless operation of a vehicle, which resulted in a crash that killed a driver last year.

The accident occurred on April 19, 2017, when Osko allegedly fell asleep while driving on Highway 1088 and failed to maintain control of his vehicle. His vehicle struck another vehicle driven by James L. Bergeron, who died from his injuries.

Lacombe Man Indicted on Second Degree Murder in Beating Death of His Father

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted Casey Emile Melerine, 27, of Lacombe, Thursday (March 22) on a charge of second degree murder in the death of his father in Lacombe last year.

Melerine is accused in the beating death of his father, Joseph M. Deslatte, Jr., during an altercation on Dec. 2, 2017.

St. Tammany Parish Grand Jury Indicts Hammond Man for First Degree Rape

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted Anwar Damine Ruffin, 40, of Hammond Thursday (March 22) of first degree rape and sexual battery of a victim under 13.

Ruffin is accused of raping and committing sexual battery upon an 11-year-old girl in early January 2017 at her home in Lacombe.

 

Grand Jury Indicts Mandeville Man In Death of His Estranged Wife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish grand jury indicted George David Dargis, Jr., 39, of Mandeville, Thursday (March 22) of second degree murder in the death of his estranged wife and several other charges related to an alleged crime spree afterward.

Dargis is accused of stabbing to death his wife, Julie Marange Dargis, on Dec. 2, 2017, at their home in Mandeville. He also is accused of committing a string of burglaries along Highway 190. That included an alleged burglary at the Dollar General on Highway 190, which resulted in an indictment on one count of unauthorized entry of a business and simple criminal damage to property for damage between $1,000 and $5,000.

Dargis also was indicted on the following additional charges: simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property for an alleged burglary at Lishman’s City Market; simple burglary and simple criminal damage to property for an alleged burglary at the Lacombe Car Wash; and simple robbery for  an alleged incident at Eddie’s Grocery.

In addition, Dargis was indicted on three more charges for an alleged incident on Nov. 28, 2017. Those charges include possession of a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous substance (Codeine), aggravated flight from an officer, and aggravated obstruction of a highway.

Jury Finds Ponchatoula Woman Guilty in 5th DWI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 23, 2018

 COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Hollie Ramirez-Power, 37, of Ponchatoula, guilty Wednesday (March 21) of driving while intoxicated—4th or subsequent offense, which is a felony.  Ramirez-Power is set to be sentenced by District Judge William Burris on March 29, and she faces 10 to 30 years in prison on the charge or 20 to 60 years if she is sentenced under the state’s habitual offender law.

Ramirez-Power was stopped by Madisonville Police Officer Marcus Bergeron on Dec. 30, 2016, when her car swerved across the lane on Highway 22 in Madisonville and nearly struck several parked cars.  She then swerved into incoming traffic.

Ramirez-Power has four prior convictions for DWI and two prior convictions for vehicular negligent injury and two prior convictions for possession of illegal drugs. She also has a separate pending DWI case.

Assistant District Attorneys William Macke and Roy Burns III prosecuted the case.

LA Supreme Court grants oral arguments in District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s civil case vs St. Tammany Parish

The Louisiana Supreme Court has granted oral arguments in District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s civil case against St. Tammany Parish government, regarding civil representation of the parish.  Oral arguments have been set for April 30th at 2:00 PM. Click below to read the four briefs that have been filed in the case.

District Attorney’s Original Brief to Supreme Court

LDAA Motion to Re-Urge to Supreme Court and Amicus Brief

CCST Amicus Brief to Supreme Court

St. Tammany Parish’s Joint Brief to Supreme Court

 

 

 

D.A. Warren Montgomery Announces Interagency Domestic Violence Team

March 21, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office is leading an effort to form an interagency team of law enforcement officers, probation and parole officials, and service providers to coordinate and improve their response to domestic violence and sexual assault cases in St. Tammany Parish.

The group, which will be called the Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), held an organizational meeting Monday (March 19) at Montgomery’s office in the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center. The majority of law enforcement agencies in St Tammany attended the meeting, including Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz, Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker, Madisonville Police Chief Barney Tyrney, and representatives from the Pearl River Police Department and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

A total of about 25 people participated, including representatives from Safe Harbor Domestic Violence Program, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Ouachita Parish District Attorney’s Office, which is part of a similar team.

“We know domestic violence is not declining. It’s increasing,” Montgomery said. “It’s not something that’s going to decrease on its own. We’re trying to get ahead of it.”

About half of the 17 homicides that occurred in unincorporated St. Tammany last year were domestic violence related.

The objective of the team is to unify the agencies involved in domestic violence cases to act in coordination with each other, instead of as separate entities with separate policies and procedures. At the core of the team’s mission will be making victims safer and holding those engaged in sexual assault and domestic violence swiftly accountable.

Since taking office in 2015, the Montgomery administration has reduced the number of domestic violence cases that were dismissed by 76 percent.

“We’ve made significant strides in how this office responds and prosecutes domestic violence cases,” said Criminal Division Chief Collin Sims, who organized the team. “We want to build on the progress we’ve made and take the next step in combating this problem in our community.”

During the 3½-hour meeting, the group examined best practices from similar coordinated community teams around the country and the state.  That included a presentation from Jennifer Johnson of the Ouachita Parish District Attorney’s Office, which in 2005 joined other local agencies and community partners to create a similar model. As part of the approach, the Ouachita District Attorney’s Office requests GPS monitoring of a domestic violence defendant at a bail hearing, Johnson said.

Since this approach was established in Ouachita Parish in 2005, reports of domestic and dating violence have dropped by nearly 48 percent, according to local media reports. Plus, between 2010 and 2014, domestic violence homicides dropped 70 percent.

In St. Tammany, the team members will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding as the next step in the process when the group meets on April 19. The team also will begin developing a set of uniform procedures that all law enforcement agencies will follow for handling domestic violence cases throughout the parish.