Baton Rouge police on Friday arrested a 24-year-old man accused of raping a woman after beating her unconscious on Christmas Eve.

While riding his bike about 4 a.m. on North Ardenwood Drive near Greenwell Springs Road, Tony Bessard saw the 41-year-old woman walking alone, according to an arrest warrant. He repeatedly punched her in the back of the head, knocking her unconscious, and dragged her to a wooded area nearby, the warrant says.

Bessard then raped the victim, detectives said, running away when she awoke and began screaming.

The victim later identified Bessard in a six-man police lineup, the warrant says. Results from the State Police Crime Lab matched Bessard’s DNA to a sample taken from the victim, detectives said.

Bessard, 650 N. Ardenwood Drive, Baton Rouge, was booked Friday into Parish Prison on counts of aggravated rape and second-degree battery. His bail was set at $90,000, booking records show.

Man booked in rape at SU Law Center library

Authorities on Friday arrested a 32-year-old man accused of raping a woman in the Southern University Law Center library.

Southern University police say Shaboyd Cannon raped the woman on the fourth floor of the library in August, according to an arrest warrant. A rape kit from the State Police Crime Lab tested positive for Cannon’s DNA, the warrant says.

Cannon, P.O. Box 2524, Gray, Georgia, was booked Friday into Parish Prison on a count of forcible rape.

Police seek suspect in Walnut Street slaying

Police are looking for a man wanted in Baton Rouge’s first slaying of the year.

Investigators on Friday identified Roderick White, 20, as a suspect in the case, Baton Rouge police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said in a news release.

Naquian Robinson, 19, was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon during a robbery attempt in the 1900 block of Walnut Street.

White is wanted on counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery and illegal use of a weapon, McKneely said.

Anyone with information about White’s whereabouts may contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-3948 or (225) 344-7867.

Suspect considered armed, dangerous

A 19-year-old St. Gabriel man wanted in the May robbery and shooting in the Gardere neighborhood that left two Baton Rouge men dead may be hiding in St. John the Baptist Parish, authorities said Friday.

Plug Lanaute is wanted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office on two counts of first-degree murder and armed robbery. Lanaute is also wanted by the Baton Rouge Police Department for attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery in a separate investigation.

Lanaute is considered armed and dangerous, St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre said in an email.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at (225) 344-7867.

Authorities book 3 on suspicion of DWI

Authorities arrested at least three people suspected of driving while intoxicated in East Baton Rouge Parish and booked them into Parish Prison between 2:30 p.m. Thursday and 2:30 p.m. Friday, booking records show.

Those booked and the counts against them:

Kenya Barrow, 28, 11320 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge, first-offense DWI and failure to maintain control.

Joseph Smith, 34, 920 Bruse Drive, Denham Springs, first-offense DWI, improper lane usage and speeding.

Amy Stanford, 24, 9320 S. Vignes Road, Baton Rouge, second-offense DWI, resisting an officer, failure to signal, driver’s license suspended or revoked, and disobeying a traffic control device.


Compiled from staff reports. To talk to a crime reporter at The Advocate, call (225) 388-0369.