A Donaldsonville man accused of a role in a jailhouse rape inside an Ascension Parish juvenile dorm more than two years ago was acquitted Thursday after a one-day trial.
Kaglin Green, 20, who still faces a second-degree murder count in an unrelated case, was expected to go free as early as Thursday after the acquittal because he had already been ordered free without bail on the murder count, Green's attorney said.
Green had been accused of being a principal in the first-degree rape of Jacob Westbrook in January 2017 when Green and Westbrook were still 17. Had Green been convicted, he would have faced a mandatory life sentence.
"It feels good to leave court with a client who went this morning facing life in prison, who gets to go home to his family this evening," said Travis Turner, Green's defense attorney.
GONZALES — For a day and a half, prosecutors argued that then 17-year-old Jacob Westbrook, awaiting his second-degree murder trial in an Ascen…
Prosecutors didn't charge Green with raping Westbrook but with assisting another 17-year-old in the first of the two rapes of Westbrook.
But 23rd Judicial District Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. found Green not guilty late Thursday. Defense attorneys did not have to present their case and Green never took the stand as Kliebert found prosecutors didn't meet their burden of proof.
Prosecutors with the Louisiana Attorney General's Office had accused the other then-teen, Tre'Anthony James, of Baton Rouge, of raping Westbrook on Jan. 10 and 11, 2017.
GONZALES — Eight months removed from his acquittal in the October 2015 slaying of a St. Amant High senior, Jacob Westbrook testified Wednesday…
Prosecutors claimed James and Green held down Westbrook and bent him over a day-room table on Jan. 10 and James cut open the rear of his orange prison jump suit with a razor.
The attacks were a part of a gradual assertion of domination by the physically superior James over Westbrook, who had been in jail since late 2015 as a 16-year-old accused in the slaying of a St. Amant High senior, prosecutors said.
In October, an Ascension Parish jury unanimously convicted James, now 20, with single counts of first- and second-degree rape. His sentencing has been set for Jan. 27; he faces a mandatory life sentence. James had claimed the sex acts were consensual.
Westbrook has separately filed a federal lawsuit over the attacks.
GONZALES — Defense attorney Jarrett Ambeau showed Ascension Parish jurors a disturbing photograph of a dying Todd "T.J." Toups Jr. during last…
Green's trial was before Judge Kliebert alone after Green in October waived his right to a jury. Turner, the defense attorney, said a key point in testimony Thursday happened during Westbrook's cross-examination.
When Westbrook was asked if he believed Green knew that James was going to rape Westbrook, Westbrook answered that he didn't, Turner said.
Turner added that Westbrook also acknowledged that he didn't see James get a razor blade — Westbrook's jumpsuit was slashed opened in the rear from mid-back to mid leg — and that though he testified Green did help restrain Westbrook, Green left the day room before the rape occurred.
GONZALES — Prosecutors and defense attorneys spent 3½ days trying to convince an Ascension Parish jury which of the two teens instigated a fat…
"In order to be found guilty of being a principal, he (Green) had to have knowledge and know that Tre'Anthony (James) was about to rape Jacob (Westbrook)," Turner said.
During James' trial in October, Westbrook disclosed that he had also had sex with Green after the first rape by James but didn't realize that incident was a rape also until after he talked to prosecutors. Westbrook hadn't physically resisted.
Prosecutors didn't charge Green over that accusation, however.
Prosecutors with the state Attorney General's Office said Thursday they presented all the facts and evidence and disagreed with Kliebert's ruling Thursday but respect it.
“Our goal has always been to get justice for the victim of the jailhouse rapes in Ascension Parish and all the people of Louisiana,” Pat Magee, criminal director of the Louisiana Department of Justice, said in a statement.
Kliebert also presided over James' trial and offered to recuse himself before Green's trial Thursday but Turner said his client decided to go forward.
The 23rd Judicial District Attorney's Office had recused itself from the prosecution of Green and James because prosecutors in Ascension had handled Westbrook's second-degree murder case.
In February, another Ascension jury acquitted Westbrook, 10-2, in the fatal stabbing of Todd "T.J." Toups Jr., a St. Amant High senior and school choir member. Westbrook claimed self-defense.