A Baton Rouge man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison after admitting Thursday that he plotted with convicted hit man Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding to murder two men on Monte Sano Avenue in 2010.
Kendrick Johnson, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Charles “Nokie” Matthews, 37, and Darryl “Bleek” Milton, 25, on April 1, 2010.
Matthews and Milton, both of Baton Rouge, were fatally shot while sitting in a car.
Johnson was scheduled to stand trial next month on first-degree murder charges in the killing of Matthews and Milton.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings and James Manasseh, one of Johnson’s attorneys, both said afterward that a fair resolution was reached.
“Although these murders happened in broad daylight and there were many people out there, only one person — other than Michael Louding — identified anyone,” Cummings noted. “That witness only identified Kendrick Johnson and could not identify the other two shooters. The witness’ credibility would have been a huge factor at trial due to his extensive criminal history and continuing criminal behavior.”
Manasseh said trials are risky propositions.
“Innocent people have been convicted and spent their lives in prison. Guilty people have walked free. Kendrick accepted this plea bargain because he, and his parents, did not want him to risk life in prison based upon the future decisions of others in a trial,” he said.
Cummings told state District Judge Trudy White that Reginald Youngblood hired Louding to kill Matthews and that Louding recruited Johnson and others to complete the job.
Based on Louding’s police statements and grand jury testimony in 2010, Louding and four others — Johnson, Youngblood, Ryan “Sneaks” Carroll and Johnathan Rogers — were indicted on first-degree murder charges in the slaying of Matthews and Milton.
Louding later recanted, prompting prosecutors to drop the charges against Youngblood, Carroll and Rogers.
Louding, 21, of Baton Rouge, was found guilty last year in the October 2009 murder-for-hire of Terry Boyd and is serving a sentence of life in prison without parole for that first-degree murder conviction.
Prosecutors maintain Louding killed Boyd, 35, at the behest of rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch, who was acquitted in 2012 on a first-degree murder charge in Boyd’s slaying. Prosecutors contend Louding, who confessed to police that he killed Boyd at Hatch’s direction, lied when he testified at Hatch’s trial that neither he nor Hatch had anything to do with Boyd’s murder.
Louding also was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Matthews and Milton; local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; and Marcus “Gangsta” Thomas on April 25, 2009. He was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
Louding’s first-degree murder charges and the second-degree murder charge in those cases have been dropped.
Carroll, 19, was sentenced in September to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of attempted first-degree murder in two attempts — the first on Feb. 22, 2010, and the second on March 6, 2010 — on Matthews’ life.
Youngblood, 35, was convicted in 2012 in federal court on drug and weapons charges and is serving a nine-year prison term. He also was sentenced in August in state court to a combined 20 years in prison on weapons and attempted murder charges.
Editor's note: This article was changed on June 6, 2014, to remove a photo of a person with the same name who was not the Kendrick Johnson sentenced in the Louding case.