District Attorney Keith Stutes’ office has refused first-degree murder charges on two Lafayette teenagers accused in the fatal shooting last year of Tiage Hudson.
Prosecutors on Jan. 10 instead returned felony manslaughter indictments against 19-year-old Rontralon Joseph and 17-year-old D’ivion Francis. Joseph is separately charged with obstruction of justice and possession of a stolen firearm. The offense dates on those charges are the same day that Hudson was killed.
Hudson, 20, was shot to death on the afternoon of Sept. 4 in the 600 block of Edison Street. Police found Hudson’s body in the front yard of a residence with multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and chest.
Lafayette Police booked Joseph and Francis for first-degree murder within two weeks of the shooting. It was not immediately clear Tuesday why prosecutors opted for the lesser charges.
Joseph’s lawyer, Chad Ikerd of the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, declined comment on Tuesday. Francis was not yet represented, according to Clerk of Court records. The assistant district attorney leading the prosecution, Roger Hamilton, did not return a call. A police spokeswoman declined comment.
Joseph and Francis are due in court for arraignment on March 10.