An investigator with the Coroner’s Office killed at a local restaurant last month had been warned by his superiors that his relationship with a much younger woman would lead to trouble, according to December police reports.
East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner Shannon Cooper and Don Moreau, chief of operations for the Coroner’s Office, told Raymond Levie they could not tell him whom he could date, but that his relationship with a 21-year-old mentally ill woman “will be trouble,” the reports say.
Moreau added that such relationships “can cost you your job,” the reports say.
On June 24, months after hearing from his superiors, police say Levie, 50, was killed by his girlfriend’s brother.
Shawn Jones, 27, shot Levie in the dining room of TJ Ribs on Acadian Thruway after the two men began arguing while eating dinner, police have said. Jones then shot and killed himself.
At the time of Levie’s death, police were looking into why the investigator possessed prescription drug bottles and driver’s licenses that belonged to people whose deaths the Coroner’s Office had investigated, police spokesman Sgt. Don Stone has said.
Police found the items — some of which belonged to murder victims — at the Brightside Drive apartment Levie shared with his girlfriend, the police reports show.
Police searched the apartment after receiving a December complaint about Levie abusing the 21-year-old, an affidavit for the search warrant says. The woman’s mother, Renee Jones, filed the compliant.
Jones, who also filed a restraining order against Levie on behalf of her daughter, Candace Jones, claimed in the affidavit that she feared Levie was taking control of her daughter, who has a history of mental illness.
Renee Jones alleged Levie was controlling Candace Jones with prescription drugs and using his position at the Coroner’s Office to stalk her while she received treatment in a hospital for mental illness, the affidavit says.
Authorities who admitted Candace Jones into the hospital for mental evaluation in December noted Levie arrived minutes after she was admitted and tried to gain access to her room, according to the affidavit.
Levie was in the waiting room “wearing a Coroner’s shirt and displaying a Coroner’s Office badge. Levie acknowledged that he was attempting to make contact with Candace Jones and knew that wearing the above uniform would assist him,” the affidavit says.
Levie told police — who arrived at the hospital and told the death investigator to stop trying to see Candace Jones or use his position at the Coroner’s Office to obtain information about her — that he had screwed up, the affidavit says.
“I messed up,” Levie said in the police reports “I was wrong.”
Levie also conceded to police that his relationship with the woman might one day cost him his job, but he said he was living an old man’s dream, the reports say.
Levie then bragged about his sex life with the woman, saying, among other comments, that it was nice to be with someone who did not have “school-teacher arms,” the reports say.
During a subsequent interview, Levie told investigators he had advised Moreau about going to the hospital to visit his girlfriend while wearing his Coroner’s Office uniform, the police reports say.
Levie said in the reports that Moreau told him he had made a bad decision and that he was supposed to have stayed away from the woman.
Moreau has said he did not take any disciplinary action against Levie because a state district court judge cleared Levie of the abuse allegations and dismissed the restraining order against him.
Cooper said in the police reports that the entire matter regarding Levie and the woman was “all about Greg Phares” and that it would “blow up in Greg Phares’ face.”
Phares, who is with the state Inspector General’s Office, aided police in their investigation into Levie, the police reports say.
Cooper said Friday that he made those statements because Phares is a friend of Renee Jones and initiated the investigation into Levie per Jones’ request.
“It was perhaps unwise to say that at the time, but it’s true,” Cooper said.
Phares said Friday that until he was called by the Baton Rouge Police Department and asked to assist in their investigation into Levie, he “was not aware of the matter and to the best of my knowledge had never met Renee Jones.”
“Shannon Cooper’s statement is reckless and completely untrue,” Phares said. “Not withstanding that, we (the state Inspector General’s Office) will conduct a fair and impartial investigation.”
The state Inspector General’s Office looks into allegations of wrongdoing involving state and local government agencies.