Additional information has been provided in a press release issued by Washington Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Criminal Deputy Mike Haley.
The update identifies Rester as David Rester, Jr., age 51, and that while his drivers license identifies his residence as being in Vidalia, Rester has been living on Madison Street in Bogalusa.
Also, the press release said that Rester was taken into custody after robbing a bank in Waveland on March 4 and then leading law enforcement officers in a pursuit through Harrison County and onto Interstate 10 at speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour and that evidence in Rester’s possession linked him to the murder in Washington Parish.
The press release also added that numerous agencies assisted in the investigation and capture of Rester. Special thanks go out to our own officers, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Waveland Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff's Office, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Office, and the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. The combined effort of officers from each of these fine law enforcement agencies helped to put Rester behind bars.
“We are charging Rester with first degree murder and will be seeking the death penalty upon conviction,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “Circumstances of the murder justify the charge of murder in the first degree and Rester has undeniably earned his date with the executioner. His imprisonment and execution will not return Marl Wayne Smith to his family and friends, but will help bring closure to a senseless and unconscionable cold-blooded murder.”
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office reports that David Rester, age 51 and of Vidalia, is currently incarcerated in Harrison County, MS, where he is being held on charges in connection with a bank robbery which occurred Friday (March 4, 2022) in Waveland.
STPSO further reports that Rester is wanted in connection with a murder, which occurred Thursday (March 3, 2022) in Washington Parish (click here for the related story) and identifies Rester as the individual who robbed and sexually battered a clerk at a Pearl River-area convenience store (click here for the related story).
Detectives with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Major Crime Unit began working with detectives with the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office after they developed information that led them to believe the individual who robbed and physically and sexually battered a clerk at a Pearl River-area convenience store on February 27, 2022 was the same individual who murdered the Bogalusa-area bar owner. Working together, detectives with both agencies were able to identify that individual as Rester, and it did not take them long to locate him.
Detectives learned that Reser was taken into custody in Harrison County, Mississippi, Friday (March 4, 2022) morning following a pursuit. He was interviewed and reportedly confessed to both murdering and robbing the Washington Parish bar owner as well as robbing and battering the Pearl River-area convenience store clerk.
Rester remains in the Harrison County Jail, where he is awaiting extradition to Louisiana.
In addition to the charges he faces in Mississippi and Washington Parish, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office has obtained warrants for Rester’s arrest for armed robbery, aggravated second-degree battery and felony sexual battery.
“Criminals do not care about jurisdictional lines,” Sheriff Randy Smith said, “which is what makes communication and cooperation between agencies imperative in solving crimes and taking dangerous criminals like this one off the street. Thank you to everyone involved for the work they did to identify and arrest this individual.”