Grand jury indicts 2 in cabbie slaying, and other area police news _lowres

William J. Cox

Grand jury indicts two in slaying of cabbie

A Jefferson Parish grand jury has charged two teenagers with second-degree murder in the April shooting of cab driver Blake Helmer in Gretna.

Jonah “Poppa” Brown, 17, of Westwego, and Ivory “Shotta” Warren, 18, of New Orleans, are being held in Jefferson Parish Prison on $750,000 bail each.

They were arrested hours after the April 29 shooting of Helmer, who was found shot in his cab near Franklin and Rupp streets in Gretna. He died shortly afterward.

The Gretna Police Department said at the time that Helmer, 55, was shot from the back seat and robbed a block from where he picked up his passengers.

A third teenager was arrested in relation to the shooting but has not been charged and is no longer in custody.

Belle Chasse man, 51, guilty of sex crimes

A 51-year-old Belle Chasse man was found guilty this week of various sex crimes against juveniles.

The Plaquemines Parish District Attorney’s Office said a jury found William J. Cox guilty of 10 of 12 charges, including two counts of oral sexual battery, one count of sexual battery, one count of aggravated sex crimes, two counts of indecent behavior with juveniles and four counts of molestation of a juvenile.

Cox committed the crimes against four girls between 1986 and 2005, District Attorney Charles Ballay said.

One of the victims reported one of the incidents in July 2013 to the Plaquemines Sheriff’s Office.

Cox will be sentenced Oct. 29.

Man shot in back early Friday in Gentilly

A man was shot in the back early Friday morning in Gentilly, New Orleans police said.

The shooting happened about 4:30 a.m. in the 6000 block of Marigny Street.

The 20-year-old victim drove himself to Tulane Medical Center after the shooting and at first gave inconsistent reports about where the shooting happened, police said.

Police have not identified a suspect or motive in the case.

Teacher booked on various drug charges

A Plaquemines Parish teacher and his roommate were arrested Wednesday in New Orleans on drug charges, police said.

Booked were William West, 29, and Scott Hirsch, 36.

The New Orleans Police Department received an anonymous tip alleging that West, who lives in the city but works at a Plaquemines Parish school, was involved with illegal drug activity.

West, who is on probation in Mississippi until September 2016 for possession of amphetamines, was found to have bags of marijuana, mushrooms and heroin at his home in the 2800 block of Upperline Street, police said. They said they also found LSD in his bedroom.

West and Hirsch were each booked with possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of LSD and possession of psilocybin mushrooms.

Buras man killed in hit-and-run accident

A 39-year-old Buras man was killed early Friday in a hit-and-run accident near Empire, Louisiana State Police said.

Michael Czolowski was walking south on La. 11 near East Buccaran Road when a vehicle hit him at about 4 a.m. and sped away.

State Police said they believe Czolowski was impaired at the time.

Investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating the vehicle that struck him, but they have no information on its make or model.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Troop B at (504) 471-2775.

Fake salesman steals wallet of man, 93

A man who posed as an insurance salesman stole a 93-year-old man’s wallet and might be targeting other elderly people, New Orleans police said.

About 9 p.m. Aug. 6, the victim answered a knock on the door of his home in the 2400 block of Laharpe Street.

The victim let the suspect in after he said he was selling insurance, police said.

The victim’s wallet was missing after the man left, police said.

The burglar is described as a black man, about 5-foot-11, 150 pounds with a short gray and silver afro. He wore gray pants and a gray shirt. The victim was not able to provide police with any other description.

First District Detective Shawn Jenkins is in charge of the investigation and can be contacted at (504) 658-6010.

Woman steals cash during phone sale

A woman is behind bars, accused of robbing a man who thought he was meeting her to buy a cellphone posted on a Craigslist ad, New Orleans police said.

Courtney Ashley Smalls, 25, a transgender woman whose legal name is Brandon, was booked with simple robbery after the incident that took place about 6:35 p.m. Monday in the 5100 block of Bundy Road.

The victim contacted Smalls after reading a post on Craigslist about a mobile phone for sale. The two met, and after ensuring the phone worked, the victim returned it to Smalls while he took out his money. At that point, Smalls grabbed the money and ran away, police said.

The victim called police, who spotted her vehicle in the 8100 block of Bullard Avenue.

Smalls was arrested without incident.

Smalls was wanted on three separate counts of simple robbery and one count of theft of things valued over $500.