A cousin of the lone early suspect in the March 24 slaying of a Domino’s pizza delivery driver in the Lower 9th Ward was indicted Thursday by a state grand jury on a charge of perjury in testimony he gave to the grand jury this month in the murder case.
Laurent Portis, 22, had been out on a $50,000 bond on a charge of armed robbery with a firearm that Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office filed in June. He is accused of robbing a man of $40, a cellphone and other items at a home in December.
His attorney in that case, A.J. Ibert, said he didn’t know anything about the nature of his client’s allegedly false testimony under a grand jury subpoena.
The charge relates to statements that Portis gave on Aug. 13 and Aug. 20 regarding the March 24 killing of pizza driver Michael Price, a 36-year-old husband and father of three, in the 6100 block of North Roman Street. Police say Price was killed during an attempted robbery.
The high-profile killing led to the arrest of Portis’ cousin, Michael Portis, on April 1 on a count of first-degree murder.
But a magistrate judge this month ordered Michael Portis, 24, released after Cannizzaro’s office let the 120-day deadline for accepting the murder count pass without taking action. A Cannizzaro spokesman said prosecutors had not received enough evidence from police to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Michael Portis remained behind bars, however, on a federal probation hold based on his arrest in the murder case. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance on Wednesday sentenced him to six months behind bars for violating the terms of his release from a February traffic stop on Elysian Fields Avenue, in which he made a bad turn while riding with a convicted felon.
Authorities said Michael Portis remains a part of the ongoing probe into Price’s killing.
Bail for Laurent Portis was set at $750,000 on the perjury count.
Also indicted in Orleans Parish on Thursday were Jacob Love, 26, and Janero McBride, 23, the two men accused in a midday barrage of gunfire May 13 in the parking lot of Melba’s restaurant in St. Roch. The victim of that attack, Toby Roche, later was found dead in the passenger seat of a red Honda at Bienville and Crozat streets.
Along with one count each of second-degree murder, the grand jury also indicted Love and McBride on two counts each of attempted murder and a count each of obstruction of justice, a spokesman for the DA’s Office said. Bail was set at $2.25 million for each.
According to an application for an arrest warrant, Love admitted he took part in the shooting along with McBride.
The grand jury also indicted Rolandus Campbell and Wesley Davis, both 19, on one count each of second-degree murder in the May 11 killing of Harold Martin in the 2500 block of Prentiss Street in Gentilly.
Martin, 30, collapsed and died on a front porch on Mendez Street after an exchange of gunfire.
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