A man accused of obstructing the investigation last year into the disappearance and slaying of a Reserve couple pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.
Frank Mike Jr., a convicted felon who has been charged in state court as an accessory to the February 2014 murders of Lekeitha and Kenneth Joseph, faces up to 10 years in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance will sentence him Dec. 16.
The Josephs were bound with rope and drowned in the Intracoastal Waterway in New Orleans East. Their bodies were weighted down by 30-pound kettlebells.
Federal authorities accused Mike, 46, of driving the Josephs’ Dodge Caravan to the Atlanta area after the murders — he was caught on surveillance video there — and trying to wipe the vehicle free of fingerprints before abandoning it.
Investigators found the van, which the Josephs had borrowed from Kenneth Joseph’s sister shortly before they disappeared, after an automatic license plate reader detected it at a motel in College Park, Georgia. The vehicle contained blood that was later determined to match that of the Josephs, according to court documents.
Mike contacted State Police in April and said he wanted to discuss his involvement with the missing van.
He told investigators that he had first seen it in the driveway of a home he was renovating on Beechwood Court in New Orleans.
He said his nephew, Steven Bradley, told him that “we pulled off a little move” in the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.
“Mike believed that a ‘little move’ meant an armed robbery or simply a stolen car,” FBI Special Agent Timothy Denny said.
Mike told detectives that he knew Bradley “had dealt with stolen vehicles before.” He said he asked for permission to drive the van to Atlanta to go shopping for clothing.
Mike admitted driving the van to an apartment complex and wiping it down to get rid of fingerprints, saying he learned after arriving in Georgia, from news accounts, that the vehicle was possibly related to the murders.
Mike’s defense attorney, David Arena, noted that Mike faces several state charges that have not yet been resolved. Mike was indicted, along with several others, last year in Orleans Parish. Charged with murder in the case are Kenneth Joseph’s cousin, Horatio Johnson, 39, and Bradley, 29, both of whom are awaiting trial.
A fourth defendant, Brittany Martin, 26, pleaded guilty in January to obstruction of justice. Martin was caught on a surveillance camera buying two kettlebells, blue utility rope and other materials believed to have been used in the killings.
Johnson and Martin met in a state prison facility while Johnson was serving a 35-year-sentence for manslaughter.
Martin was a guard at the facility.
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