Police have arrested three suspects and are looking for a fourth in the brutal stabbing death of the young manager of a Raising Cane’s restaurant in Kenner on Wednesday.
Authorities said Thursday they were questioning the man who committed the stabbing, another man who helped corner the manager and a third who drove the getaway car. They were still looking for an unidentified woman who may have somehow aided in the botched robbery, they said.
Police said Mark Crocklen Jr., 24, of LaPlace, surrendered to a sheriff’s deputy in St. John the Baptist Parish not long after the arrest Wednesday of Joshua Every, 23, a former Cane’s employee who is accused of organizing the robbery attempt and fatally stabbing 21-year-old Taylor Friloux eight times.
Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser said Crocklen drove the other two suspects but was also booked on first-degree murder, which is punishable by either life imprisonment or death.
The dangers lurking in the night were never far from Taylor Friloux’s mind when she closed t…
The third suspect had not been named as of Thursday evening, but Glaser described him as another former Cane’s employee.
The level of violence involved had police groping for a motive beyond simple robbery. Glaser even suggested the suspects could be charged under hate crime statutes if the attack had something to do with the victim’s race or gender, and he said he had contacted U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office about the possibility. Friloux was a white woman, while Every and Crocklen are black.
Personal animosity may also have played a role, given that Every had worked at the restaurant with Friloux until about eight months ago.
Glaser said former co-workers told police that Every has a dislike of “certain people,” adding, “I don’t know if it was the white race, the female race.”
“To stop and stab someone motionless on her back, there’s something more to it,” Glaser said. “But we have to prove that first. That’s what we’re actively trying to prove now ... it’s yet to be seen.”
Police believe that Every recruited his accomplices and organized the robbery over the past month. Authorities said he wore a Raising Cane’s uniform to avoid suspicion and cased the restaurant the night before the crime.
Glaser said Every and a second suspect who is in custody initially cornered Friloux and another Cane’s employee outside the restaurant as they were taking out the trash just after 1 a.m. Wednesday.
When Friloux refused to open the back door of the restaurant, police said, Every stabbed her once. At that point, police said, she let him and the other man inside the store, where they forced her to open the safe and took about $1,000.
While his accomplice fled, Every paused and repeatedly stabbed Friloux, who had collapsed, police said. One wound pierced her aorta, according to Glaser.
Friloux’s boyfriend, Mack Keys, said Wednesday that he believes Every may have resented Friloux from their time working together. It was the only reason he could conceive of for the stabbing.
“He never said anything to me to make it seem like he hated women (or white people),” said Keys, who worked with Every at the restaurant. “I honestly don’t know if he hated women or white people, but he probably just hated (Friloux).”
Meanwhile, as they were making funeral arrangements at Garden of Memories in Metairie, Friloux’s loved ones recalled how driven she was.
She had recently flown up to Minnesota to open another Raising Cane’s restaurant there, said her older sister, Terri Morgan. She was being taught to train future managers. She had plans to enroll in a business management program so she could keep climbing the ranks of the company.
“It’s hard to find someone so young who is that motivated,” said Timothy Morgan, her brother-in-law. “She always wanted to be the best at everything, and she kind of was.”
Friloux spent some of the limited time she was away from work every year with close relatives on camping trips to a national forest in north Louisiana, typically during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“She didn’t take vacation,” said Suzi Guerin, Friloux’s stepmother. “She would be called in on her day off. She would be jumping out of a pool, putting clothes on and heading into work whenever someone called in sick.”
Guerin said she was at Friloux’s side during her final hours at the hospital, begging her stepdaughter to cling to life.
“I told her that she was my baby, and I loved her with all my heart, and to fight with every fiber of her body — because I wanted to bring her home,” Guerin said. “I told her, ‘Just keep fighting.’ ”
Friloux was pronounced dead at 8:41 a.m. Wednesday, Guerin said.
A little more than a day later, Friloux’s mother, Jamie Reavis, said she would support the death penalty for her daughter’s killer.
“As much as I hate to say it, because enough lives have been lost, I feel it’s necessary,” she said, holding back tears. “He shouldn’t have been allowed to do this to my daughter, so I have to say yes.”
Investigators said they had recovered extensive evidence in the form of video surveillance, testimony from six witnesses inside the store and confessions from at least two of the robbers.
After stabbing Friloux, Glaser said, Every hopped into a waiting Toyota SUV driven by Crocklen. Police said the four suspects had made extensive plans, revealed in text messages recovered by detectives, even taking care to burn clothes and get rid of evidence.
“They had very detailed plans of how they were going to escape, where they were going,” Glaser said, without elaborating.
But police said Every’s former co-workers quickly identified him as a suspect. When detectives arrived at his family’s home in LaPlace on Thursday morning, police said, they spotted property from Cane’s as well as coins from the robbery in plain view inside his car.
Every at first refused to cooperate with detectives. But after hearing that his mother had told the news media she was aiding authorities, he offered a partial confession, police said, though he has not admitted to stabbing Friloux.
Crocklen heard about Every’s arrest through news reports. St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said Crocklen’s father contacted one of his deputies and offered to turn his son in, but “only to that officer.”
“Those arrangements were made, and his son turned himself in and confessed,” Tregre said. “I appreciate the suspect’s father — even though his son did this horrific crime — he knew enough between right and wrong.”
Every and Crocklen committed at least one previous crime together, according to court records.
Crocklen was arrested alongside Every as well as a woman in a November 2012 break-in attempt at a GameStop store in Kenner. Crocklen told police at the time that he “did it for the thrill” and would miss seeing his children for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
Every and Crocklen pleaded guilty to attempted unauthorized entry of a business, served two years of probation and in March received first-offender pardons, which gave them back some basic rights, such as voting. The woman implicated in that case pleaded guilty to the same offense and received three years of probation.
Glaser said investigators were still wrapping up loose ends in the Cane’s investigation Thursday. The Toyota SUV used in the robbery had not been recovered, nor had the knife used in the stabbing.
Police were also still searching for a woman they allege was inside the getaway vehicle with Crocklen. Glaser said he did not know whether that woman was the same one involved in the bungled GameStop break-in.
“We’re still actively trying to identify the female involved,” Glaser said. “We have a bunch of street names.”
Kenner police said they expected to release further details Thursday night, including the name of the third man they believe was involved in the robbery.
Police said they will not release the surveillance video that captured the stabbing. “The video is a piece of evidence now,” Glaser said.