Potential jurors were quizzed Thursday about accused killer Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding and rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch as jury selection got underway at Louding’s trial in the alleged murder-for-hire of a Baton Rouge man in 2009.
Prosecutors contend Hatch paid Louding to kill Terry Boyd because Hatch perceived the 35-year-old Boyd as a threat.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury acquitted Hatch, of Baton Rouge, in May on a first-degree murder charge in Boyd’s slaying. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty. Hatch, 30, is imprisoned on drug charges.
Louding, who also is standing trial on a first-degree murder charge, turned 17 two weeks before Boyd was shot to death through a window as he sat on a couch in a home on Vermillionlife in prison.
Adrian Pittman, 38, also of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty in November to a manslaughter charge in the Boyd case and is scheduled to be sentenced April 24. Manslaughter carries up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutor Dana Cummings has said Pittman picked Louding up from Hatch’s house, dropped him off near Boyd’s home, picked him up after the shooting and drove him back to Hatch’s home.
Louding testified at Hatch’s trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s death. Cummings maintains Louding lied to the jury.
State District Judge Trudy White told some 140 prospective jurors that Louding’s trial, including jury selection, is expected to last about two weeks. The jury selection process was set to resume Friday and continue Saturday.
Cummings said outside the 19th Judicial District Courthouse that she hopes to begin presenting the state’s case by Tuesday at the latest.
White has banned the public from bringing cellphones into the courtroom.
Dedrick Deandre Green, 22, of Baker, pleaded guilty last month to tweeting threats against Cummings’ boss, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, during Hatch’s trial. Green, who is set to be sentenced June 21, was arrested May 7 after sheriff’s deputies found him in state District Judge Mike Erwin’s courtroom watching Hatch’s trial. Cummings also prosecuted Hatch.
White, Cummings and Louding’s attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, spent Thursday asking potential jurors one by one how much they know of the case and if they have ever heard of Louding, Hatch or both. Most of the prospective jurors said they had heard both men’s names, but they reported knowing little about the case.
Several potential jurors who said they could not be fair were excused.
Louding also is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; Marcus Thomas on April 25, 2009; and Charles Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton on April 1, 2010. Louding also is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
Louding reportedly told police in May 2010 that he was involved in the killing of Jackson, Thomas, Boyd, Matthews, Milton and Smith. White ruled last month that Louding’s jury will be allowed to hear his allegedly incriminating statements.