Man convicted on two counts of forcible rape
An Orleans Parish jury convicted a 51-year-old man Wednesday on two counts of attempted forcible rape in an incident with eerie similarities to a crime for which he spent decades behind bars until last year.
The jury failed to convict David Falgout on two counts of aggravated rape, but he still faces a life prison sentence under the state’s habitual offender law, which District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said he would seek to apply.
Falgout was released in June 2013 after serving a 25-year sentence for forcible rape. Court records show he approached a woman from behind in the 1300 block of Esplanade Avenue in 1988, held a knife to her throat, forced her into an alley and raped her.
Less then three months after his release, on Sept. 2 of last year, a woman said she was sexually assaulted by a man who grabbed her and held a pocket knife to her neck as she waited for an early morning bus.
She testified Tuesday that the man forced her under the I-610 overpass at Benefit and New Orleans streets in Gentilly and “made me get on my knees, pull my pants down, and he was trying to ram himself inside of me.” Failing at that, he fondled her and forced her to perform oral sex on him, threatening to cut her if she screamed, she said.
The woman said she never got up the nerve to identify her assailant from a photo lineup, but the results of a rape exam matched Falgout’s DNA, experts testified.
Falgout’s public defender argued that the sex was consensual and suggested a drugs-for-sex exchange that went bad. The jury didn’t buy it, convicting Falgout after about four hours of deliberations.
According to Cannizzaro, Falgout is a four-time offender, with two burglary convictions from the early 1980s.
“This defendant is a serial rapist who was not even out of prison for three months before returning to his life of violent crime,” the DA said.
The New Orleans Advocate does not name victims of sex crimes.
Woman, 26, gunned down in 7th Ward
A 26-year-old woman was found shot to death Wednesday on a 7th Ward street, New Orleans police said.
The shooting happened about 3:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of Columbus Street.
Officers on patrol in the area heard gunfire and found the victim in the street after a brief search, said Officer Garry Flot, a police department spokesman.
The victim’s aunt, Felicia Thomas, and a family friend, Darcel West, drove to the scene hours later, hoping to find out exactly what happened. They identified the victim as Liquell Thomas, WWL-TV reported.
They said Wednesday’s shooting might have stemmed from a prior shooting.
“I can’t see no female getting shot down like this,” Felicia Thomas told WWL. “She just got shot last week. They never found the little girl that shot her.”
West said Liquell Thomas was a sweet girl who got involved in drugs and life on the street. “She just got caught up in a world she knew nothing about,” West told the TV station.
Police did not immediately identify a suspect or motive.
Homicide Detective Nicholas Williams is in charge of the investigation.
Man found dead inside home in Lakeview
A man was found dead Wednesday inside a Lakeview home, apparently killed by a bullet, police said.
Officers were called to a home at Pontchartrain Boulevard and Harrison Avenue a little before 1 p.m. The victim’s friends told police they had gone into the home and found him lifeless.
Investigators said the cause of death appeared to be a gunshot wound, though an autopsy was pending Thursday night.
Police did not immediately identify the victim.
Homicide Detective Theo Kent is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-5300.
Sheriff: Man yanked woman off dirt bike
A New Orleans man was booked Tuesday in St. Bernard Parish after he allegedly sped off on a dirt bike after pulling a woman off of it by her hair.
Shiquille Robinson, 21, was booked with carjacking and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
The 18-year-old victim said she was riding the dirt bike Monday when she stopped it at Patricia Street and Rowley Boulevard in Arabi.
She told deputies that Robinson got out of a car driven by his girlfriend, 25-year-old Brionne Harris, and walked up to the victim.
As she began to drive away, Robinson grabbed her hair and yanked her off the vehicle before riding away on it himself, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.
Harris then drove away in her car.
Harris was pulled over on Alexander Street in Arabi because her vehicle matched the description of the car that fled the scene. Robinson was arrested when he arrived at that traffic stop to find out why deputies had pulled over Harris, Pohlmann said.
Robinson allegedly admitted to stealing the bike and later showed deputies where he left it in New Orleans East, Pohlmann said.
He said Harris was booked with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, since the drug was found in her car, and with possession of a controlled substance in the presence of a juvenile since one of her children was in the vehicle.
Bail was not immediately set for either suspect.
Two teens arrested in school drug case
Two 13-year-old Belle Chasee Middle School students were arrested in Plaquemines Parish on prescription drug charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.
School officials called authorities about 8 a.m. Tuesday to report they had received tips of illegal drug activity at the school, said Cmdr. Eric Becnel, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
An investigation by school officials found five Adderall prescription pills, used to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, in one eighth-grader’s possession. Officials then found nine other Adderall pills in the other student’s possession, Becnel said.
Sheriff’s Office narcotics agents arrived at the school and found at least one student was distributing the drugs to other students, Becnel said.
Both students who had the drugs were arrested.
One was booked with possession with the intent to distribute a schedule II controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a drug-free zone. The other was booked with possession of a schedule II controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a drug-free zone.
They were released to their parents’ custody pending a magistrate hearing.
Additional arrests could happen as the investigation continues, Becnel said.
Police seek car stolen from street in Uptown
New Orleans police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or people responsible for an auto theft on Tuesday.
The victim said he parked and locked his gold 2006 Volvo XC90 in the 3000 block of Octavia Street about 8:30 p.m. He returned to the block about 7 a.m. Wednesday and found it was missing.
The car has Louisiana license plate VAR 601.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sa’Brina James at (504) 658-6020.