Man gets life term in Harvey double murder
A state district judge in Gretna on Monday denied Tavis Joseph a new trial in the 2013 killing of two Southern University students in Harvey and sentenced him to life in prison.
Joseph, 22, was convicted in July of two counts of second-degree murder for shooting Nikiayh Westerfield and David Harrison in the 4000 block of Paige Janette Drive.
Joseph hired a new attorney after the verdict, leading to delays in his sentencing, but 24th Judicial District Court Judge Cornelius Regan gave him two life sentences to be served concurrently.
Prosecutors said Joseph was one of four men who tried to rob Westerfield and Harrison after arranging to buy marijuana from them and ended up shooting into their car, killing them.
Joseph, who had no prior criminal record, claimed he wasn’t there at the time, but his alibi witness — his former girlfriend — failed to persuade a jury. Prosecutors had incriminating photos, cellphone records and video footage of Joseph and three others dropping off an injured member of their group at West Jefferson Medical Center.
Another of the four men, Irvin Harris, of Harvey, was sentenced in January 2015 to life in prison for second-degree murder, while Jeremy Coleman, the injured accomplice from Waggaman, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in exchange for his testimony.
Teens robbed inside closed Six Flags
Two teenage girls were robbed inside the abandoned Six Flags Amusement Park in New Orleans East on Sunday evening, New Orleans police said.
The girls, both 17 and one celebrating her birthday, were taking pictures when they were approached by four young men with handguns about 5 p.m. The men fled in a white four-door sedan after getting the girls’ purses, cellphones and cash.
The park has been closed since Hurricane Katrina and is not open to the public.
Armed robberies in Marigny, N.O. East
Two men were robbed at gunpoint early Monday in the Marigny neighborhood, New Orleans police said.
About 12:20 a.m., two men, ages 55 and 53, were approached in the 1000 block of Frenchmen Street by a man in a black T-shirt with a blue metal revolver. The robber demanded their belongings, and they complied.
Police also reported an armed robbery at Curran Boulevard and Buffalo Road in New Orleans East about 2:30 a.m. Monday. Police said Alex Scott, about 41, robbed a friend of $200 after the pair had spent the day together.
Victims of 3 N.O. homicides identified
The victim of a Sunday night shooting in New Orleans East was identified by the Coroner’s Office as 19-year-old Keith Lee.
Police said Lee was found shot in the courtyard of the Chateau Lane apartment complex, in the 6000 block of Chef Menteur Highway, about 7:30 p.m. He died on the scene. Authorities have not announced any arrests in the case.
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the coroner, also identified the victims of two other homicides.
Rouse said Michael Bush, 49, died of blunt-force trauma Jan. 11 in the 2900 block of Earhart Boulevard. Police had not previously made Bush’s death public. A Police Department spokesman said no arrests have been made in connection with the case.
In addition, Rouse said, Ray Smith Jr., 31, died Jan. 19 of complications from a Jan. 12 shooting in the 2700 block of Bruxelles Street.
Man dead in crash in New Orleans East
A man died in a one-vehicle crash Monday evening at Interstate 10 and Crowder Boulevard, New Orleans police said.
Officer Juan Barnes said the driver of a Chevrolet pickup was traveling westbound in the left lane on I-10 when he lost control. The truck crossed two travel lanes and the shoulder lane before striking the right guardrail and flipping over on its right side. The driver was ejected and died.
Three more Harvey Hustlers plead guilty
Three more members of the Harvey Hustlers drug gang pleaded guilty Monday to racketeering and drug charges, according to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office.
Richard L. Chess, 24, of Harvey, will spend 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering; two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin; distribution of cocaine; and cruelty to a juvenile.
Carnell S. Pierce, 35, of Harvey, will spend 20 years in prison for racketeering; two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin; distribution of cocaine; and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Charlie A. Gumms, 20, of Terrytown, got 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and racketeering.
Each man received multiple sentences, though Judge Henry Sullivan of the 24th Judicial District Court ordered them to be served concurrently.
Chess and Pierce each saw one of their 15-year sentences increased to 20 years because they are multiple felony offenders.
Gumms’ attempted-murder charges stem from an April 2013 incident in which at least two armed men fired into an apartment building in Harvey, injuring three young children and two elderly women.
The three men were among 21 indicted by a Jefferson Parish grand jury last year in a sweeping racketeering and drug case against the West Bank gang, which has been tied to seven killings.
Only two cases remain open among the original 21 indicted.
NOPD: Man shot ATV drivers at gas station
The NOPD arrested a 30-year-old man accused of opening fire Sunday afternoon at a gas station at North Claiborne and Esplanade avenues. Richard Macklin faces three counts of aggravated battery by shooting and one count of illegal discharge of a weapon.
Officers responding to a shooting about 3:30 p.m. learned four men had been shot after an apparent argument.
Police said several individuals driving ATVs went to the station to get gas. At the same time, a man driving a white Volvo, later identified as Macklin, also pulled up at the station, and he and the ATV drivers began to argue.
Macklin then pulled out a weapon and fired several shots at the group, striking three men, ages 30, 31 and 32, police said. One of the victims then returned fire, striking Macklin in the head. All four were taken to the hospital; their wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.
At the same time, three other ATV drivers in the group fled the scene but were arrested after a brief pursuit.
They were identified as Jerome Richards, 25; Corey Berry, 20; and Charles Simon, 27. All were booked on reckless operation of a vehicle and numerous traffic violations.
The individual who returned fire at Macklin will not be booked because detectives believe it was an act of self-defense and he was carrying a legal weapon, police said.
During the investigation, detectives confiscated five ATVs. “These types of vehicles are not street-legal and no one should be driving them on our streets,” Superintendent Michael Harrison said. “It’s not safe for those who drive them, and it’s certainly not safe for everyone else around them.”
Woman stabs siblings, N.O. police say
A woman stabbed her sister and then her brother after he tried to break up a fight in the 400 block of First Street about 8 p.m. Sunday, New Orleans police said.
Police allege Karen Anderson, 53, stabbed her 50-year-old sister several times and then stabbed her 60-year-old brother when he tried to break up the fight. Both were taken to a hospital.
Anderson was arrested on two counts of aggravated battery. A judge set bail at $60,000 Monday and ordered her to stay away from her siblings.