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Month: April 2019

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


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.

Pearl River Man Gets Life in Prison For Killing Ex-Wife and Her Boyfriend


April 8, 2019

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Jason Matthew Magee, 39, of Pearl River, was sentenced Monday (April 8) to spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting his estranged wife and her boyfriend to death in 2017. District Judge August Hand sentenced Magee to two consecutive life sentences.

A St. Tammany Parish jury unanimously found Magee guilty of two counts of first degree murder after a weeklong trial before Hand in February.

Magee and his former wife, Jennifer Wallace Magee, a 32-year-old nurse, had been separated for more than a year and were going through a divorce when the crime occurred on June 19, 2017. Jason Magee had spent that afternoon out with their two children, ages 6 and 8, and they were saying goodnight to their mother over the telephone in Magee’s truck when one of them asked to speak to her boyfriend. Magee grew enraged, drove the children to his parents’ home in Pearl River, and then drove a short distance away to Jennifer’s home. Magee kicked his way into the home and, as prosecutors described, executed both victims with “military precision” in one minute and 34 seconds.

The shootings left Jennifer Magee and Donald R. Gros, then a 34-year-old EKG technician, dead of multiple gunshot wounds. Magee confessed over the phone to his stepfather that he had shot his ex-wife, but he fled. With assistance from the U.S. Marshals Task Force and the Pearl River Police Department, he was later arrested after emerging from the woods.

The jury rejected claims by Magee’s lawyers that he was acting in self defense after Gros pointed a gun at him and a scuffle broke out. Assistant District Attorneys Blair Alford and Collin Sims, Chief of the Criminal Division, prosecuted the case.

Jason Magee’s brother, James C. Magee, is currently on death row for killing his estranged wife and young son back in 2007.



Jury Convicts Franklinton Man of Manslaughter in 2016 Shooting


April 5, 2019

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a Washington Parish jury found Demario G. Warren, 33, of Franklinton, guilty Thursday (April 3) of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. He faces up to 80 years in prison as a repeat offender when he is sentenced by District Judge William Burris on June 19.

Warren fatally shot Kiniaki Williams, 33, of Franklinton, on May 31, 2016, at a Franklinton residence. When officers of the Franklinton Police Department responded to the home, two other victims who witnessed the shooting were still there. They told officers that Warren shot Williams and demanded to know where Williams kept his money. The witnesses said Warren also pointed the gun at them and threatened to kill them if they called police.

After finding no money, Warren left in his girlfriend’s vehicle. When the police arrived at the scene, Williams was still alive but unresponsive. He later died from a gunshot wound to his upper extremities.  Warren was arrested about two hours after the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Cuccia prosecuted the case with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Shea Penton.

Jury Convicts Franklinton Man In Highway Incident Involving Wife


April 5, 2019

FRANKLINTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a Washington Parish jury found Gregory S. Stafford, 25, of Franklinton, guilty Tuesday (April 2) of aggravated obstruction of a highway.  He was taken to jail and, as a multiple offender, faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced April 9 by District Judge Peter Garcia.

On Dec. 13, 2018, Stafford was driving a pickup truck on Highway 436 in the Franklinton area when he rammed the back of his estranged wife’s car, pulled up next to her in the opposing lane of traffic, and then pulled into her lane of traffic to force her off the road into a ditch. Stafford then walked to the passenger side of the vehicle, took her phone, and removed the couple’s 10-month-old child from the vehicle.  Stafford put the baby in his truck and drove off.

A concerned citizen who was driving nearby saw the incident, called 911, and stopped to console the distraught victim.  Stafford has a history of domestic violence against the victim, who sought a protective order against him after the incident last December and filed for divorce. He was convicted previously of burglary of an inhabited dwelling and accessory after the fact.

The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, and Assistant District Attorney David A. Weilbaecher, Jr., prosecuted it.

Congrats! 1st Graduating Class of Veterans Court

Congratulations to the first class of six graduates from the 22nd Judicial District’s Veterans Court. The entire Veterans Court team, particularly District Judge Raymond Childress, who presides over the court, and Assistant District Attorney Darrell Sims, have done an outstanding job. I was happy to play a role in developing the court, and I was inspired today by the veterans’ stories.

Jury Convicts Stepson of Shooting Father To Death in 2016


March 29, 2019

COVINGTON—District Attorney Warren Montgomery announces that a St. Tammany Parish jury found Daniel T. Hamilton, 19, guilty Friday (March 29) of second degree murder for shooting his stepfather to death in their Covington home in 2016.

The jury also found Hamilton guilty of two counts of solicitation for murder for planning to have the victim’s brother and sister-in-law killed because they requested that his bond be revoked so that he could await his trial in prison. Daniel Hamilton faces mandatory life in prison when he is sentenced by District Judge Alan Zaunbrecher on May 20.

The jury deliberated about 1½ hours before finding Hamilton guilty of killing James “Kenny” Hamilton, who considered the defendant his son, and of planning to kill his aunt and uncle. “You’re dealing with a cold-blooded killer,” Assistant District Attorney Angad Ghai told the jury in his closing statement. “That’s not what I’m saying. That’s what the evidence shows.”

Ghai and Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Authement told jurors that Daniel Hamilton shot his father six times in the back of the head with a .22-caliber gun on Friday, March 4, 2016, as the elder Hamilton sat in a chair in the family room and finished his evening meal. Prosecutors presented text messages showing that the father had refused his son’s request the preceding week to borrow his truck.

After killing his father, Daniel Hamilton fled in his father’s truck to a pizza parlor in Abita Springs, where he joined friends about 8:30 p.m. He also tried to use his father’s debit card at a Wal-Mart on Highway 190, but the purchase was declined because the teenager did not have a PIN. Daniel Hamilton then spent the next two days, drinking and partying with friends at a hunting camp. He tried to sell the murder weapon to his friends and allowed them to shoot it.

At one point, Daniel Hamilton even returned to his father’s house with his friends, refused to let them inside, and passed his father’s dead body to retrieve a Play Station game system, which he and his friends took to various Game Stop stores to sell. “He walked in, casually, comfortably, with his friends outside,” Ghai told the jury. “He walked by his murdered father, not a change in his demeanor, and grabbed a Play Station to sell.”

James Hamilton’s body was discovered the following Monday, three days later, when he failed to show up for work, and family members and friends went to check on him.  Medical officials pinpointed the time of his death as Friday or Saturday, based on the body’s condition.

The murder weapon was located at the hunting camp, where Daniel Hamilton had spent the weekend, and it was under a sweatshirt that he had been wearing. After his bond was revoked and he was sent back to prison to await his trial, Daniel Hamilton talked to another inmate and to his girlfriend about having the aunt and uncle who had pushed for the bond revocation killed. He also confessed to an inmate and said his only regret was that that he didn’t look his father in the face when he shot him.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. The jury rejected defense attorneys’ claims during the weeklong trial that the murder investigation was botched and that officers focused from the beginning exclusively on Daniel Hamilton without checking out other potential suspects.