Oct. 27, 2017
COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Christopher P. Thomas, 23, of Covington, pleaded guilty last Wednesday (Oct. 25) to domestic abuse battery (third offense) and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Thomas had been on probation for prior domestic abuse charges, but District Judge William Burris revoked his probation and sentenced him to a year in prison on the revocation. The five-year sentence will begin after that year is served.
Thomas had been convicted in three prior incidents, all in 2016, involving the same victim. District Judge William J. Knight gave Thomas a three-year suspended sentence and probation on those charges.
Thomas was still on probation when the most recent incident occurred on the evening of March 30, 2017. Thomas struck the victim on the head with a closed fist and then, as she tried to get away, grabbed her and punched her in the side. The force of the blow to the victim’s rib cage knocked her to the ground. The victim then fled to her parents’ home, and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted.
Assistant District Attorneys Roy Burns, III, and William Macke prosecuted the case.
Over the past two years, District Attorney Montgomery has increased the resources to the domestic violence unit, which now includes two attorneys, an investigator, victim assistance coordinator, and secretary. The team has eliminated a large backlog of cases and significantly reduced the number of cases thrown out for lack of evidence.
In 2014, 224 were thrown out, compared to 39 by the end of September this year. The number of defendants who pleaded guilty as charged at trial in the first nine months of this year (100 defendants) already has exceeded the number that pleaded guilty as charged in 2014 (75 defendants).
Montgomery said the resources he added to the department have been worth the investment. “A number of the murders that occur in our district are the result of domestic violence,” Montgomery said. “We believe that by decreasing domestic violence, we’re decreasing the murder rate.”