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Mandeville Man Gets Life In Prison For Fatally Stabbing His Estranged Wife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 24, 2019

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that George David Dargis, Jr., 40, of Mandeville, pleaded guilty Tuesday (April 23) to second degree murder and several related charges for stabbing his estranged wife to death in Mandeville in 2017 and committing a string of burglaries in Lacombe after fleeing the crime scene.

District Judge Reginald Badeaux sentenced Dargis to mandatory life in prison without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for the second degree murder and a total of 70 years in prison for the other crimes. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Dargis fatally stabbed his wife, Julie Marange Dargis, on Dec. 2, 2017, at the home the couple once shared in Mandeville. The victim’s family members filled one side of the courtroom for the sentencing, and two of them spoke on behalf of the family. “You lied and said you loved Julie,” Cindy Marange, the victim’s mother, said. “You don’t murder people you love…Our lives are forever changed. Our lives will never be the same.”

When asked if he had anything to say, Dargis hung his head and said, “Sorry, sorry.”

Afterwards, family members hugged and thanked Assistant District Attorney Jay Adair, who prosecuted the case with the help of Assistant District Attorney Angelina Valuri.

Dargis was indicted in March last year by a St. Tammany Parish jury on second degree murder, possession of a Schedule II drug (Codeine), aggravated flight from an officer, aggravated obstruction of a highway, unauthorized entry of a business, three counts of simple criminal damage to property over $1,000, two counts of simple burglary, and simple robbery. Several of those charges stemmed from an incident that occurred four days before the murder. On Nov. 28, 2017, Dargis was arrested after fleeing from a police officer who attempted to stop him for speeding. Dargis ultimately crashed his car and fled on foot. Officers tracked him down and found a vial of Codeine in the car.

Dargis and his wife were living apart after he bonded out of jail for the crime on Nov. 28. When he showed up at her home on Dec. 2, 2017, they got into an argument. Dargis attacked her, slashed her throat, stabbed her in the abdomen, and fled in her rental car. While fleeing, he robbed a grocery store on Highway 190 in Lacombe and burglarized a couple of other businesses by driving the car into the establishments.

After the crime spree, Dargis showed up at his parents’ home in Slidell and told them he had “hurt” his wife. They told him to leave and called police. He was arrested after wrecking the rental car on the twin span bridge between Slidell and New Orleans.

On Tuesday, Dargis also pleaded guilty to all charges and received the following prison sentences:  possession of a Schedule II drug (Codeine), two years; aggravated flight from an officer, 10 years; aggravated obstruction of a highway, 15 years; unauthorized entry of a business, six years; three counts of simple criminal damage to property over $1,000, two years on each count; two counts of simple burglary, 12 years on each count; and simple robbery, seven years. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Jury Convicts Covington Man of Domestic Abuse Battery

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury convicted Robert G. Garner, Jr., 44, of Covington, on Oct. 11 of domestic abuse battery involving strangulation.  As a multiple offender, Garner faces two to six years in prison when he is sentenced by District Judge Peter Garcia.

On the night of May 13, 2018, Garner attacked the victim by punching her in the head and then strangling her in her Folsom home. The victim’s 15-year-old son eventually called a third party for help, and the police were notified.  The victim and her son testified during the trial about the attack. The jury also heard about two prior episodes of violence in which Garner beat and threatened the victim.

Assistant District Attorneys Blair Alford and William Macke played a voice mail message that was left by Garner, daring the victim to call the police. “They can’t watch you forever,” he said in the message. He also said in the message that the next time she wouldn’t walk again.  The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

D.A. Montgomery Names Shea Penton to Lead Washington Parish Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2018

D.A. Montgomery Names Shea Penton to Lead Washington Parish Office

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that he has named Assistant District Attorney Shea Penton as Administrator of the Washington Parish Office.  Penton will continue to screen cases and prosecute misdemeanors (cases with a sentence no more than six months), but in his new role he also will supervise operations of the Franklinton office.

“Shea was the right person for the job,” Montgomery said.  “He knows and loves the Washington Parish community, and I am confident he will serve it honorably in his new role.”

Penton grew up off William Peters Road in an area of Bogalusa, known as Richardsontown, and he graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1990.  He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1994 and the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson in 1997. Penton worked in private practice for two years and then worked for stints at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and the Public Defender’s Office, where he handled juvenile cases.

Penton was hired as an Assistant District Attorney in 2003 in the Washington Parish Office, where he has performed a number of jobs, including serving as Prosecutor for two felony dockets, handling misdemeanors, and screening cases.

Penton replaces his mentor, the late Lewis Murray, III, who died suddenly in April. “He trained me to be an A.D.A.,” Penton said of Murray. “I watched him manage this office all these years. I still can’t bring myself to park in his spot.”

Speeding through North Shore traffic court on the horizon

A new traffic court in St. Tammany Parish will be launched on July 5 in a move designed to fast track cases that do not require a trial. Judge William H. Burris of the 22nd Judicial District will preside over the traffic court.

The new traffic court “is only possible with the help and participation of District Attorney Warren Montgomery‘s Office, St. Tammany Clerk of Court’s Office and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office,” according to a news release from the court administrator’s office.

Read more here:  https://www.nola.com/northshore/inde

Ex-Con Gets 20 Years for Possessing Gun and Drugs and Fleeing Police  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 15, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Michael Richardson, 34, of Covington, pleaded guilty Monday (May 14) to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, illegal possession of a stolen firearm, possession of marijuana (third offense), and resisting an officer during an incident last year. District Judge Martin Coady sentenced Richardson to 20 years in prison without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

The charges stem from an incident on Dec. 11, 2017, when St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies stopped Richardson for a license plate violation, noticed smoke, and smelled marijuana coming from the car. The officer asked if there was anything illegal inside the vehicle, and Richardson handed the officers a blunt.

Richardson then fled on foot, hopped a 6-foot fence, and hid in a neighboring house that did not belong to him. The deputies eventually found Richardson inside the home, where he was hiding in the closet of a child’s bedroom.  The deputies also recovered a handgun that Richardson had hidden in a clothes hamper in the room. The handgun was later determined to have been stolen about a month and a half earlier in an automobile burglary.

Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness prosecuted the case.

Ex-Boyfriend Found Guilty of Murder and Kidnapping in Pearl River Woman’s Death

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 11, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Jonathan D. Talley, 37, of Bogalusa, guilty as charged Friday (May 11) of second degree murder in the death of his former girlfriend, the mother of his child, in Pearl River nearly two years ago. Talley also was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and second degree kidnapping for fleeing the murder scene with his 3-year-old son in violation of a protective order that required him to stay away from the boy and his mother.

Talley faces a mandatory life sentence for the murder conviction when he goes before District Judge Scott Gardner, who set the sentencing for May 29.

Montgomery said, “I extend my sympathies to the family, my appreciation to the jury for their thoughtful deliberation, and my thanks to the law enforcement and prosecution team that brought this to a successful conclusion.”  The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

The jury deliberated just over three hours, concluding a weeklong trial that examined the murder of Aimee Kirst, 33, on June 30, 2016. Assistant District Attorneys Casey Dieck and Jay Adair argued that an enraged Talley went to Kirst’s Pearl River home with the intention to kill her and then shot her in the back of the head as she tried to hide in their son’s bedroom.

“Nothing binds two people like sharing a child, and the tighter the bond, the greater the capacity to love, but also the greater the capacity to destroy,” Adair told the jury in his closing argument. “The defendant held two precious lives in his hand…He chose to destroy them, plain and simple.”

Adair described a videotaped interview of the couple’s 3-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting, as “one of the single most powerful pieces of evidence I’ve seen in almost 17 years of prosecuting.” The child described hearing his father threaten to shoot Kirst in the head, hearing the loud gunshot, watching his mother bleed to death, and wishing he could put on his Spiderman costume and punch his dad. The boy said his dad shot his mom because she had been “aggravating him all day.”

After the murder, Talley fled the scene in Kirst’s car and drove with his son to Lucedale, Mississippi, where Talley’s mother lived. Talley admitted to his mother and stepfather that he had shot Kirst, and they called authorities.

Dieck and Adair refuted Talley’s claim that he never intended to kill Kirst and that he went to her home that day only to shoot himself in front of her. Talley claimed the gun went off accidentally as he tried to snatch open the door to the child’s bedroom to follow Kirst.

Dieck said that scenario was “not only unrealistic, it was scientifically impossible.”

After the verdict was announced, members of Kirst’s family embraced Talley’s family members, and they wept and comforted each other.

 

Covington Man Found Guilty of Robbing Mandeville Discount Store

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 14, 2018

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Michael E. Mitchell, 36, of Covington, was sentenced Thursday (May 10) to three years in prison for robbing a discount store in Mandeville last year. Mitchell, who was convicted of first degree robbery on April 23, was sentenced by District Judge Reginald T. Badeaux.

The crime occurred Feb. 24, 2017, when Mitchell entered the Dollar General store in Mandeville and demanded cash from the register. While robbing the clerk, Mitchell exposed what appeared to be the handle of a weapon. The police later recovered a B.B. gun from the defendant’s vehicle, but the clerk was unable to confirm it was the object the defendant had in his pocket.

Mitchell was identified five days later, as he sat in the parking lot of another discount store in a car matching the one that had been seen leaving the Dollar General robbery. Law enforcement officers also found dark clothing that matched the suspect’s clothing in surveillance footage of the Dollar General crime.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

During the trial, Mitchell admitted that he had robbed the store, but his attorney argued the crime was a simple robbery. Assistant District Attorneys Elizabeth Authement and Luke Lancaster contended the crime was an armed robbery, as Mitchell had been charged.

The prosecutors said they accept the jury’s verdict and found it reasonable.