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Covington Man Convicted in Hotel Murder Last Fall


Dec. 12, 2017

Covington Man Convicted in Hotel Murder Last Fall

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Demetri Antonio James, 20, of Covington, guilty of second degree murder for shooting a man to death in a Covington motel last year. James faces a mandatory life sentence when he appears before District Judge Richard Swartz, Jr., for sentencing on Jan. 10, 2018.

The murder occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 4, 2016, when James and two other men showed up at the Green Springs Motel and decided to commit a robbery. They used a card to force their way into a room, where the victim, Brandon Washington, was sleeping. Two of the men, Terry Hookfin and Tyreek Sandifer, began searching Washington’s pockets. When Washington woke up, a brief struggle occurred, and James shot Washington in the head.

Hookfin, 28, of Covington, pleaded guilty Sept. 28 to manslaughter and armed robbery with a firearm for his role in the crime, and he faces 20 to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date. Sandifer, 19, of Covington, pleaded guilty Nov. 7 and was sentenced to the maximum of 40 years in prison for manslaughter and 50 years for armed robbery with a firearm. Both sentences are being served at the same time.

A fourth defendant, Devin Decoud, 38, of Covington, drove James away from the scene but did not go inside the hotel room. He also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery and received a sentence of 10 years in prison. Hoofkin and Decoud testified against James.

A surveillance camera captured the three men walking toward Washington’s hotel room and then running from it a few minutes later. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and arrested Hookfin and Sandifer the next day. James fled to Bogalusa, where he was arrested a week later by U.S. Marshals. With the conviction of James, the four-defendant case was resolved within a year of the indictments in January of this year.

Assistant District Attorney John Alford and Blake Peters prosecuted the case.