Two days after Ronnie Kato allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend's stepfather and a Baton Rouge police officer in April 2020, the woman told Kato she was standing by him even though authorities were portraying him as a "monster," according to court documents filed Friday.

Prosecutor Dana Cummings filed the new documents in support of a motion she filed in July to try Kato separately in the killings of Lt. Glenn Dale Hutto Jr. and Curtis Richardson, Kato's girlfriend's stepfather.

Cummings said in that motion that the woman and her mother, who was Richardson's wife, will not cooperate with the state, so she wants to try Kato first in the killing of Hutto.

Kato's attorneys have objected to the motion.

The documents Cummings filed Friday say that in a jail call between Kato and his girlfriend on April 28, 2020, two days after the killings, the woman said she is on Kato's side and said, "They're making you out to be a monster."

In another jail call that same day under another inmate's identification number, the prosecutor wrote, Kato's girlfriend admitted telling police in 2017 that Kato threatened to go "Gavin Long" on officers "but tells Kato that when interviewed by law enforcement after the murders, she claimed to have made that up."

Long traveled from Kansas City, Missouri, to Baton Rouge in 2016 and ambushed local law enforcement outside an Airline Highway convenience store, killing three officers and wounding three more. He was eventually killed by police. The ambush occurred a few weeks after the Alton Sterling shooting in Baton Rouge.

East Baton Rouge authorities have disclosed previously that in 2017, two years before Kato allegedly killed Richardson and Hutto in what began as a domestic dispute, he reportedly threatened his girlfriend by invoking Long's name.

Kato told his girlfriend he would "Gavin Long the police" if she summoned law enforcement during an argument over a child he had with another woman, according to a previous complaint against him. 

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Prosecutors want to use that remark at Kato's first-degree murder trial.

In response to Cummings' motion to try Kato separately in the slayings of Richardson and Hutto, his lawyers say prosecutors are wrongly trying to relieve themselves of their burden of proof and shift that burden to Kato. They say the killing of Richardson is an integral part of the chain of events which led to Hutto's killing several hours later.

Kato, 37, of Baton Rouge, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Richardson, 58, and Hutto, 45, and faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Authorities say Kato killed Richardson during a domestic dispute on North Pamela Drive. He’s believed to have fatally shot Hutto several hours later while police were searching for Kato at a home on Conrad Drive.

Richardson's wife, the mother of Kato's girlfriend, was also at the Pamela Drive scene.

Cummings stated in July that Kato's girlfriend and her mother "have exhibited hostility to members of the District Attorney's Office and have indicated that they will not cooperate with the prosecution in the cases." The prosecutor said the state would be prejudiced at Kato's trial for the killing of Hutto if forced to prosecute the two murder counts together.

Kato also allegedly shot Cpl. Derrick Maglone in the April 26, 2020, police encounter. Maglone was critically injured but released from the hospital May 7, 2020.

A detective previously testified that Kato ambushed the officers with an assault-style rifle as they searched for him in the backyard of a Conrad Drive home. The same rifle was used to kill Hutto and Richardson, the detective said.

Hutto, a 21-year veteran of the police force and a sergeant at the time of his death, received the rank of lieutenant posthumously.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.