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Month: March 2015

Franklinton Man Gets Two Consecutive Life Sentences in 2008 Murder of Couple

Jeremy Wilson

Eric Townsend

FRANKLINTON—-A 27-year-old Franklinton man was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences Wednesday (March 25) in the 2008 murder of two people who were shot to death inside a home that was then set on fire.

Judge William J. Knight sentenced the defendant, Jeremy Wilson, after a Washington Parish jury on March 20 found Wilson guilty of two counts of second degree murder. Assistant District Attorneys Ken Dohre and Lewis Murray prosecuted the case, which had been investigated by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The incident began in the early morning hours of March 8, 2008, when Wilson and another man, Eric Townsend, went to a home just outside Franklinton with the intention of robbing Kimberly Sims and Demille Williams, who both lived at the house. Wearing masks, Wilson and Townsend entered the home, but the robbery went bad, and Sims and Williams were shot. Autopsy results showed the victims were shot with two different weapons.

Wilson later set the house on fire to cover up the crime. The men also dumped their weapons in a nearby creek. The house and the victims’ bodies were burned so badly that the crime went unsolved for more than a year. Then, in June 2009, Townsend was arrested on an unrelated charge, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and he ultimately confessed to his involvement in the double murder. Townsend also directed officers to the guns, which were recovered from the creek.

In December 2013, Townsend agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony against Wilson, and he received a 30-year prison sentence. But during the trial, which began March 16, Townsend refused to testify against Wilson, violating the plea agreement. Prosecutors, who had reserved the right to charge Townsend as an habitual offender, have filed a multiple offender bill, which under state law would allow the judge to increase Townsend’s sentence. A hearing on that matter has been set for May 8.

Nevertheless, Assistant District Attorneys Ken Dohre and Lewis Murray were able to get a conviction, assisted in part by the testimonies of a woman who admitted to being the driver and another who said Wilson had confessed to her about his involvement in the murder

Multiple Drug Offender Faces Up To Life In Prison For Heroin Possession


Jabari Smith
Jabari Smith

COVINGTON—-A 39-year-old Slidell man who is a multiple drug offender faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment after his conviction this week of heroin possession. A St. Tammany Parish jury on Wednesday (March 18) found Jabari Smith guilty of possession of heroin—his sixth conviction on drug charges.

Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea prosecuted the case. The St. Tammany Narcotics Task Force investigated information that led to the execution of a search warrant at Smith’s Slidell residence on Oct. 24, 2014. During the search, police officers found about 3.5 grams of heroin hidden in a shoe.

Jury deliberations in the case lasted about an hour.

Smith’s record includes three prior marijuana convictions and two prior cocaine convictions, including one for which he was sentenced in 2008 to five years in prison. That sentence ran concurrently with a sentence that also was issued in 2008 after Smith was convicted of aggravated battery with a gun.

Pearl River Man who Molested a 5-Year-Od Girl Receives 60-Year Sentence

Darryl Solomon


COVINGTON—-Darryl Solomon, 38, of Pearl River, pled guilty Tuesday (March 17) to sexual battery of a child under 13 and to being a second felony offender. He was immediately sentenced to 60 years in prison without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorneys Joseph Oubre and Jack Hoffstadt handled the case, and Judge A.J. Hand issued the sentence.

Solomon’s crime was discovered on Sept. 9, 2013, when a family friend of the then 5-year-old girl witnessed from a front porch window Solomon removing his hands from the child’s pants. The family friend rescued the child from the situation, forcefully confronted Solomon, and told the girl’s parents.

When the parents questioned the girl, she admitted that Solomon had touched her inappropriately several times. The family contacted the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Carli Ferrell, who was in charge of the investigation, learned that Solomon had fled to Virginia after leaving the scene. Detective Ferrell secured Solomon’s extradition back to St. Tammany Parish. Solomon then confessed his repeated inappropriate acts with the child to Detective Ferrell and Detective Hugh Davis.

When asked why he committed the crime, Solomon responded, “She was just a pretty little girl.”

News Release

Javon Mitchell


COVINGTON—-A 20-year-old man who intentionally rammed the stolen vehicle he was driving into two police cars while trying to flee in Slidell has pled guilty to 14 felony charges in the incident, including two counts of attempted first degree murder of a police officer.

Jevon T. Mitchell, of New Orleans, entered his plea Wednesday afternoon (March 11) before Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight. The case was handled by Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea. Mitchell was sentenced to 25 years in prison under the state’s multiple offender statute. He had been convicted of a prior felony, simple burglary of a vehicle, on April 2, 2014, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court.

The Slidell incident occurred three weeks later, on April 24, 2014, when two St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives responded to help the Slidell Police Department locate a stolen black Jeep Liberty. Mitchell, driving the stolen vehicle, had eluded officers the day before when they first attempted to stop him in Slidell.

Mitchell was fleeing again on the 24th, with Slidell police in pursuit, as he sped through a business parking lot at the intersection of Montgomery Boulevard and Voters Road. Mitchell struck a corner of the building and a parked car and then plowed intentionally into the rear driver’s side of a car driven by a Sheriff’s Office detective. The force of the collision pushed the detective’s car into another vehicle parked on the shoulder of Montgomery Boulevard.

Mitchell then repeatedly put the Jeep in reverse and sped forward, striking the detective’s car multiple times, as well as a marked police car and another parked car. Mitchell stopped only when an officer pulled his marked SUV in front of the Jeep to block it. As officers rushed to the car and tried to arrest Mitchell, he ignored their commands and fought them.

Several bags of marijuana were found on the floor of the passenger side, where a woman, identified as Errolnisha R. Howard, sat. She was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. She pled guilty on Sept. 22, 2014, and was sentenced to five years in prison and an additional five years that were suspended. A child, who was found in an unsecured car seat, was taken into custody by the Office of Child Services.

News Release

Donald Murphy


COVINGTON—-A St. Tammany Parish jury on Wednesday (March 11) unanimously found Donald Murphy, 44, of Pearl River, guilty of four counts of production of pornography involving juveniles under 13, one count of computer-aided solicitation of a minor under 17, and one count of unlawful use of a social networking website by a person who is required to register as a sex offender and who was convicted of a sex offense. He faces a sentence of 49.5 years to 198 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea served as the prosecutor. David Ferris of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigated the case.

Murphy was arrested on May 23, 2014, after he returned via helicopter from working offshore. Investigators determined that Murphy had persuaded a 12-year-old New York girl whom he’d met on the Internet to send him nude pictures of herself performing various sexual acts. Murphy also had sent the girl nude photos of himself taking a shower and performing a sexual act.

The investigation began when the girl’s father filed a complaint with the Suffolk County Police Department in New York that his daughter was communicating in a sexual manner with an unknown man. An investigator in the department’s Computer Crime unit subsequently discovered more than 4,000 telephone messages between the girl and the suspect via KIK, a free text messaging app, from Nov. 14, 2012, to Jan. 12, 2013. Phone records identified the suspect as Murphy.

The case was turned over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which investigated further and arrested Murphy, who also had been convicted of child pornography by a Naval Court in 2008.

The New York girl, now 14, testified against Murphy during the trial, which began with jury selection Monday (March 9). Murphy’s wife also testified for the prosecution that her husband admitted to the crimes during a recorded telephone conversation with her while he was in jail. The recording was played in court. The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before returning its unanimous verdict on all counts.

News Release

James Earl


FRANKLINTON—-District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a Washington Parish jury found James Earl, 45, of Franklinton, guilty of manslaughter after a three-day trial that ended at noon Wednesday (March 4). Earl, who has had at least 10 prior felony convictions, faces a minimum of 40 years to life in prison.

The jury deliberated 40 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to Judge Martin Coady of the 22nd Judicial District. The case was handled by Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea, Jr.

Earl was one of three defendants charged in the death of Raymond Terry Lyons, age 45. The other two defendants pled guilty to manslaughter. They are: Donald Dawson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Ricky Magee, who received 22 years.

On Jan. 6, 2011, Dawson and a woman named Tess Starnes went to Magee’s house to buy drugs. Magee instructed them to follow him in their car. Dawson and Starnes then followed a car, driven by Magee with Earl as the passenger, to Old Jenkins Road. There, Earl pulled headlight-to-headlight to a car waiting on the side of the road.

Starnes testified that, while following Earl, she and Dawson had missed a turn. By the time they caught up to Earl, he was standing outside of the other car and beating the passenger, Lyons, in the head with a two-by-four. Earl then stepped back, pulled out a gun, and fired into the windshield. The bullet struck Lyons in the chest, puncturing his heart and immediately killing him.