LAFAYETTE — A 19-year-old Opelousas man expected to stand trial Tuesday in the May 2009 home invasion and aggravated rape of a Lafayette woman is now wanted by authorities after he failed to appear for court, officials said.
Authorities issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Nelson Chambers, who was to be tried on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated burglary, first-degree robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Prosecutor Keith Stutes said.
Chambers and two other men, Rosheed Guillory, 20, and Demetrius Coleman, 20, all of Opelousas, are accused of following the woman and her friend home from downtown Lafayette on the morning of May 16, 2009.
Police said the three men allegedly forced their way in the victim’s Claymore Drive home, where they robbed, then raped her.
Chambers, who has been out on a $195,000 bail, failed to appear for court one day after learning that Coleman reached a plea deal with the prosecution, pleading guilty to aggravated burglary in exchange for his testimony against the other co-defendants, Stutes said.
The charge carries a sentence of not less than one year nor more than 30 years. He will be sentenced upon completion of a pre-sentence investigation.
In his plea form, Coleman, who was also out on bail, admits to the following:
The three men, all teens at the time, were in the parking lot behind a downtown nightclub when they saw the two girls walking toward a white Lexus.
The three men followed the girls in a rental car that Chambers’ mother had rented.
While driving, Chambers pulled up alongside the girls and tried to talk with them, but the girls drove away.
Chambers followed the girls to their home and parked his vehicle about three houses away, Coleman stated.
Chambers, Guillory and Coleman walked into the girls’ backyard and allegedly took a purse off a table on the back patio.
Guillory and Chambers then allegedly went into the home while Coleman searched for money inside the white Lexus.
When Coleman entered the house he said he saw Chambers holding a cellphone, like a gun, to a girl’s head, asking her, “where the money at?”
The girl pointed to a vase with change, and Coleman grabbed it, he said.
He said he then saw Guillory on top of the counter in the kitchen, along with Chambers, telling the same girl to perform oral sex on him.
Coleman said he ran out of house with the vase and returned to Chambers’ car.
“Nelson Chambers came out to the rental car and said he popped the girl,” Coleman said.
Guillory then got into a black SUV parked in the carport of the girls’ home, backed it out, hitting both the carport and the white Lexus, and then drove off in the vehicle.
Coleman said he saw Guillory in the vehicle about an hour later at a Circle K in Opelousas.
Meanwhile, Stutes said, the trial is in limbo and has not been officially continued in the hopes that Chambers will be located.
Had the trial already begun before Chambers fled, Stutes said state law would have allowed him to continue the case in the defendant’s absence.
Chambers’ disappearance comes about three months after Stutes sought to have him held without bail after discovering Chambers had been arrested three times since being arrested in the rape case.
Stutes argued that Chambers poses “an imminent danger to the community.”
Judge Edward D. Rubin did not agree, ruling that Chambers had, up to that point, appeared for every court hearing in the case.
Anyone with information as to Chambers’ whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (337) 232-TIPS.