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This morning we talked Warren Montgomery. He spoke about a wide range of topics, including the disagreement with STPG that is playing out in the courts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 21, 2016
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.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 7, 2016
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.
On Sunday, November 6th, District Attorney Warren Montgomery will be competing in the annual “Men Who Cook” event to raise money for the Children’s Advocacy Center, also known as Hope House. The CAC works with children who have been abused – to get them counseling and conduct interviews that are admissible in court so the young victims have a voice.
On November 6th from 4-7, at the upper level of the Justice Center parking garage, teams of “Men Who Cook” will be competing to see who can raise the most money for CAC.
On Warren’s team will be Shack Restaurant and Chefs Thomas Lopresti and Adam Foster.
Please help Warren in raising money for the kids by purchasing tickets for the event or by tipping (voting) for Warren and his team! Our goal is to raise $3,000 but would LOVE to raise even more.
Click on the below link to access our page or access via smart phone by texting MCW21 to 71777. You will be brought to Warren’s fundraising page where you can click and purchase a tip ticket.
This is a great cause (with great food and company) and we’re proud to be part of this year’s event.