Jury convicts inmate despite victim’s recant

An Orleans Parish jury convicted one inmate of battery upon another this week, despite the victim’s refusal to help with the prosecution of the case.

A.J. Baker, who had refused to appear in court despite having been issued subpoenas, was spotted in the courthouse Monday to help his mother pick up documents from the clerk’s office, the District Attorney’s Office said.

When prosecutors saw him and tried to have him detained, he ran out of the building, leaving his mother alone.

A judge had issued a warrant for his arrest earlier in the day after he failed to appear for a court hearing last month.

Baker was stabbed Aug. 1, 2013.

Ryan Miner, 25, was convicted Tuesday of second-degree battery in that incident.

Miner is awaiting trial on second-degree murder charges, while Baker was in jail on assault and weapons charges when the stabbing happened.

Baker refused to cooperate with the prosecution of the case after he was released from jail, the District Attorney’s Office said, including refusing to comply with subpoenas. He told prosecutors that the defense said he did not need to appear.

While Baker did finally appear Tuesday for Miner’s trial, a videotaped statement he gave during a Sheriff’s Office investigation had to be played after he tried to recant his earlier claims about his attacker.

In the videotaped statement, Baker identified Miner as the person who stabbed him.

“Mr. Baker should be ashamed of himself,” District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in a statement. “Not only did he refuse to cooperate with my assistant district attorney, but he left his elderly mother alone in the courthouse to avoid arrest.”

Four people wounded in two separate early morning shootings

Four people were wounded in two separate shootings early Wednesday in New Orleans, police said.

The first shooting was reported about 3:20 a.m. near Elysian Fields and North Claiborne Avenues in the St. Roch neighborhood.

Two men were in a Volvo when a passenger inside the car with them opened fire, police said. Both men were shot in the head. One was in critical condition, the other in stable condition.

The second shooting was reported about 3:30 a.m. at Almonaster Avenue and Higgins Boulevard in the Florida neighborhood.

One victim was in critical condition and the other was stable, police said.

NOPD books already jailed man for auto burglaries, thefts

A man already in jail in connection with one auto burglary has been booked with three others and an auto theft.

New Orleans police allege Christopher Tunson, 23, burglarized the cars April 13 in the 5200 block of Camp Street, the 5200 block of Chestnut Street and the 1000 block of Lyons Street. The auto theft happened April 3 in the 4900 block of Prytania Street.

Tunson was initially arrested in connection with an auto burglary April 14 in the 5200 block of Coliseum Street.

Follow-up investigations led him to be rearrested, police said.

Police also arrested Asher Cuthbert, 42, in connection with an unrelated auto burglary April 4 in the 1700 block of Jena Street. Investigators believe the car in that case was unlocked.

Ditched ankle monitor leads to office probe

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who tampered with his ankle monitor last month. Two deputies who failed to notify officials about the matter in a timely manner may be disciplined.

Deputies received an alert about 3 p.m. April 21 that David Francis, 25, had tampered with his monitor. The Sheriff’s Office eventually located the device on the West Bank.

Francis, who faces charges of aggravated burglary, could not be found. A judge has issued a warrant for his arrest.

In a prepared statement, Sheriff Marlin Gusman said a disciplinary investigation has been opened into the late notification.

Anyone with information on Francis’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 827-8505.