November 30, 2022
Former Amite Police Chief, City Councilmember, and Additional Co-Conspirator Sentenced in Vote Buying Conspiracy
Former Amite Police Chief Jerry Trabona (age 73) and former Amite Councilmember Kristian “Kris” Hart (age 50) were each sentenced Tuesday (November 29, 2022) to one year in prison for violating federal election laws as part of a conspiracy to pay, or offer to pay, voters for voting in a federal election. Trabona was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Today (November 30, 2022), Sidney Smith (age 69), an additional co-conspirator, was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in the scheme.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Trabona and Hart agreed with each other and others to pay or offer to pay voters residing in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, for voting during the 2016 Open Primary Election and the 2016 Open General Election, contests in which Trabona and Hart were candidates. Trabona and Hart’s vote buying scheme included the solicitation and hiring of individuals responsible for identifying potential voters, the transportation of those voters to the polls, and payment and offer of payment to the voters for voting. In the 2016 election, co-conspirator Sidney Smith paid voters with money provided by Trabona and Hart.
Two other Louisiana men, who previously pleaded guilty for their involvement in the vote buying scheme, Calvin Batiste and Louis Ruffino, will be sentenced at a later date.
On November 18, 2022, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies accompanied a minor who visited seventeen parish businesses in an attempt to purchase alcohol. Thirteen of the businesses followed state law and refused to sell alcohol to a minor. Four businesses sold whiskey, wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages to the minor female and Clerks at each of the businesses were issued a summons to appear in court.
The four businesses in violation of Louisiana law were
- Highway 10 One Stop in Bogalusa,
- Chevron on Marshall Richardson Road in Bogalusa,
- SP Truck Stop on Highway 10 east of Bogalusa and
- JZ Quick Stop on Highway 21 in Bogalusa.
“I applaud the thirteen businesses which diligently checked identification and then refused to sell to our undercover minor,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “Clerks at these businesses did exactly what the law requires them to do. I remind all store employees that you are never too busy to verify the age of any purchaser of alcohol. We will continue to do random checks on parish business establishments during December and the upcoming holiday season and I hope to be able to report that all businesses were in compliance.”
Ryan Fortenberry (age 25 with Bogalusa, La. address) was booked on the charges of Criminal Damage to Property Under 1000 and Simple Assault by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Released on $2500.00 bond.
Shaun Hobgood (age 43 with Angie, La. address) was booked on the charge of Contempt of Court by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Brandon Parker (age 29 with Picayune, Ms. address) was booked on the charge of Probation Violation by the Bogalusa Police Department. No bond set at this time.
Brooklyn Magee (age 22 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charges of Failure to Appear (2 counts) by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Charles Breaux (age 41 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charge of Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearm by the Wildlife and Fisheries. No bond set at this time.
Joshua McElveen (age 41 with Angie, La. address) was booked on the charge of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Jason Bickham (age 48 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charges of Failure to Appear (2 counts) by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Odell Peters (age 68 with Angie, La. address) was booked on the charges of Contempt of Court (2 counts) by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
November 29, 2022
Update (November 29, 2022): St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston has identified the victim as Ralph Landes, age 19 and of Shannon Dr., Lacombe, Louisiana. Landes "had apparently been shot. Cause and manner of death will be released at a later time.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help following a shooting which occurred late Monday (November 28, 2022) night in the Slidell area.
At approximately midnight Monday night, STPSO deputies responded to the 100 block of Northwood Drive in response to reports of gunshots being heard. Responding deputies located a car which had crashed into a parked pickup truck. The driver of the car had sustained what appeared to be gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead on the scene by medical personnel. The passenger of the car was transported to an area hospital, where he was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the leg and was released.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact detectives with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office by calling (985) 898-2338.
"The BOIL WATER ADVISORY previously issued for the Town of Franklinton has been lifted. Department of Health has notified the Town that the water passed all tests. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you for your patience."
When 7 year-old Abigail, 4 year-old Cecilia, and their golden retriever dog were reported missing yesterday (November 28, 2022) afternoon near Folsom, it was “all hands on deck”. Hundreds of concerned and caring neighbors, friends, and first responders turned out. As a result, the girls and their dog was found safe and were reunited with their parents within a few hours.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith reports that the girls had been last seen at approximately 5:00 PM Monday playing in their front yard with their golden retriever on N. Willie Road near Folsom. Sheriff Smith reports that the “outpouring of support and assistance was overwhelming.” The STPSO had drones, ATVs, K9s, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office helicopter, numerous deputies, and the Louisiana State Police searching the area for the girls and their dog.
“Sheriff Smith wants to take this moment this morning to thank EVERYONE – those that came out to help search, those who shared the many posts to help get the word out, our fellow agencies who answered our call for help and the people from around the world who prayed they would be found. The outpouring of support and assistance was overwhelming.”
Their mother posted the following on her Facebook page:
Our babies are home safe!! We CANNOT thank everyone enough for all the search forces, support, and prayers. We had an army physically and spiritually standing for our family. Our hearts are so so full of love and gratitude for the immediate support from our community and others areas too. We even had other countries lifting our family up in prayer.
We had volunteer search crews, ATV’s, drones, helicopters, dogs, cars, and even a 25-person horse crew was prepared to search. They were found deep in the heavy woods and it was DARK.
Y’all, God is so good. Our 4 year old is pretty shaken (she’s okay though!) but I know the Holy Spirit brought so much peace to our 7 year old. She said she knew they would be found and she knew to just stay put.
Also, so grateful for our hero Artemis, our golden retreiver. The helicopter first spotted some movement and sent a search crew in their direction. And then Artemis heard people coming and started barking making it much easier to find them. He even growled at the police at first because he was protecting our babies.
Every highway in the area was lined with hundreds of people to search. Y’all I have hundreds of calls and messages from people asking how they can help and telling me that they’re praying for us. I can’t get to everyone to say thank you. Friends, family, and even pastors from our church just started showing up at our house to help and pray with us.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! Thank you EVERYONE! God heard everyone’s prayers, protected our babies, and sent them home safely.
The love of Jesus is ruling the hearts of the people of this community.
November 28, 2022
Update (November 29, 2022): St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston has positively identified one of the victims as Otis Young, age 71 and of Covington. Preston has ruled the cause of death was sharp- and blunt-force trauma, and manner of death is homicide. The second victim could not be identified through autopsy, but DNA samples are being processed now at the Coroner’s Office in-house DNA lab. Preston expects to have a conclusive match by the end of the week.
Antonio Donde Tyson, age 49 and of Covington, has been arrested in connection with the double homicide in Covington today (November 28, 2022). Tyson has been charged with First Degree Murder (2 counts), Second Degree Kidnapping (2 counts), Obstruction of Justice (2 counts), Resisting an an Officer, and Illegal Possession of Stolen Things.
Covington Police responded at around 7:00 AM today to the scene of an apparent double homicide where two victims were located burned beyond recognition, in the 500 block of E. Gibson Street, Covington, LA.
During the course of the investigation, the Covington Police Department Tyson was identified as a suspect and taken into custody.
This investigation is still ongoing, and the identification of the victims has not been determined. The St Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office will release that information at a later time.
CPD urges members of the public who may have knowledge of this incident to contact the Covington Police Department at 985-892-8500. Citizens can also submit tips anonymously through our free app called, “Covington PD”. You can download the free app by searching “Covington PD” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Once the app is downloaded, you can submit tips 100% anonymously.
CPD has expressed their thanks to the St Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the St Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.
“This is a very sad day for the City of Covington. We lift up our prayers for the victims, their families, and our community. We like to think our city is immune from these tragedies, but we are not. I would like to commend Chief Michael Ferrell and the Covington PD for their swift and professional action.” - City of Covington Mayor Mark Johnson
On Monday, November 28, 2022, at approximately 7:00 AM, the Covington Police Department responded to the scene of an apparent double homicide where two people were burned beyond recognition, in the 500 block of E. Gibson Street, Covington, LA.
The scene is currently active and there are no details to release.
Rachel Marvin (age 44 with Ponchatoula, La. address) was booked on the charges of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Released on $1000.00 bond.
Jakeithon Smith (age 20 with Bogalusa, La. address) was booked on the charges of Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property, Illegal Use of Weapons or Dangerous Instrumentalities, Aggravated Flight From an Officer, Obstruction of Justice/Evidence Tampering, Aggravated Obstruction of Commerce/Roadway, and Resisting an Officer by the Bogalusa Police Department. No bond set at this time.
Brian Magee (age 29 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charge of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Vinell Wade (age 42 with Poplarville, Ms. address) was booked on the charges of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Schedule II Drugs, Possession of CDS With Weapon Present (2 counts), and No Seat Belt by the Bogalusa Police Department. No bond set at this time.
Robert Wright (age 33 with Kentwood, La. address) was booked on the charges of Battery of a Dating Partner, Battery of a Pregnant Dating Partner, Resisting an Officer, Resisting a Police Officer with Force or Violence, Disarming a Peace Officer, Public Intimidation, and Contempt of Court (2 counts) by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
November 27, 2022
A Boil Water Advisory has been issued for the Town of Franklinton. Public Works Superintendent Reginald McMasters advises that the Advisory is due to power failures at the Town's water wells and resulting low pressure. The Advisory will be in effect until further notice.
Tap water should not be ingested. Please use bottled water or boil tap water before use.
November 26, 2022
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Jimmy Travis reported the shooting death of 22 year-old Christopher Sibley, who was gunned down near his home on White Oak Lane in Fluker, Louisiana around 8:30 PM Wednesday (November 23, 2022) night.
The TPSO received a 911 call in reference to a subject laying in the street with a gunshot wound to the chest. Upon arrival, deputies discovered Sibley to be deceased from his injuries. Sometime later, TPSO was notified of another subject being dropped off at North Oaks Medical Center with apparent gunshot wounds to the arm. The subject, identified as 22 year-old Jywan Jones, was later taken into custody on Obstruction of Justice charges.
At this time, detectives believe Jones to be a suspect in the shooting; however, they believe another subject or subjects to be at large. As such, the investigation is still ongoing and any further information will be forthcoming.
Chief Travis asks anyone with information regarding the incident, to call the Sheriff's Office at 985-345-6150, OR if you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa’s anonymous tip line at 1.800.554.5245 or visit www.tangicrimestoppers.com and click on the P3 Tips icon or Submit A Tip! You may be eligible for a cash reward.
Friday (November 25, 2022) night, shortly after 5:45 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a fatal crash involving a pedestrian on LA Hwy 21 near Quave Road in Washington Parish. The crash claimed the life of 50-year-old Ben Small of Covington.
The preliminary investigation revealed that Small was wearing dark clothing and walking in the roadway on LA Hwy 21. At the same time, a 2012 GMC Acadia was southbound on LA Hwy 21. For reasons still under investigation, Small was struck by the GMC.
Small sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver of the GMC was properly restrained, but sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. As part of the ongoing investigation, toxicology samples were obtained from Small and the driver of the GMC for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
Pedestrians and motorists alike are urged to remain vigilant while on roadways and pay close attention to their surroundings. Crashes involving pedestrians can often be avoided by following some basic safety guidelines. Pedestrians should wear light-colored or reflective clothing and should always avoid walking on the roadway in dark areas. Pedestrians must also assume that approaching motorists cannot see them, especially at night. Crossing roadways only in well-lit, designated areas and always walking facing traffic will enhance the safety for pedestrians.
"In response to the article released on 11/24/22 by The Advocate. Immediately after this incident the Louisiana State Police was contacted. A full investigation into the case and all involved was launched and is still ongoing. The Bogalusa Police Department is fully cooperating with the Louisiana State Police as they continue their investigation into this incident. Any questions or new leads should be directed to the Louisiana State Police Investigative Division. 985-893-6250."
The Press Release is apparently in response to an article published in The Advocate on November 25, 2022 (click here to read The Advocate story) reporting on a federal lawsuit accusing Bogalusa police and Washington Parish deputies of violating the civil rights of 28-year-old Eric L. Nelson of Bogalusa who died late last year in police custody and of lying to cover it up.
On December 19, 2021, the Louisiana State Police reported that “Detectives assigned to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations were requested by the Bogalusa Police Department to investigate an in-custody death occurring within the city limits of Bogalusa.”
On December 20, 2021, the Louisiana State Police provided an update, reporting that “the preliminary investigation revealed that shortly after 11:00 a.m., on December 19, 2021, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a single vehicle crash on Borgne Avenue in Bogalusa. After their arrival, deputies learned that the driver of the vehicle, 28-year-old Eric L. Nelson of Bogalusa, had multiple felony warrants previously issued in Bogalusa. Officers with the Bogalusa Police Department arrived on the scene at the request of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office. Upon their arrival, Nelson attempted to flee on foot. After a brief foot pursuit, Nelson was taken into custody by the Bogalusa Police Department. During the incident, a Taser was utilized. While being transported to the Bogalusa City Jail, Nelson complained of respiratory issues. Bogalusa Police Department Officers called emergency medical services for assistance. After being evaluated by emergency medical services personnel, Nelson was transported to a local hospital. Nelson died while receiving treatment at the local hospital. This is an active investigation and further information will be released when it becomes available.”
November 25, 2022
- To prevent child abuse and neglect before it happens by delivering research based prevention programs.
- To provide child abuse prevention and direct services to victims which includes a variety of programs and services.
- To provide sexual assault prevention and direct services to assault victims which includes: operating a 24/7 crisis hotline; providing hospital and law enforcement victim advocates 24/7; providing sexual assault information, prevention education, professional training, awareness campaigns, inter-agency collaboration, and victim support and counseling.
- To provide prevention and educational services targeting substance abuse.
November 24, 2022
In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'
She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'
The defense attorney nearly died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, 'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair...!
November 23, 2022
Yvonne Abron (age 45 with Hammond, La. address) was booked on the charges of Possession With Intent to Distribute Schedule 1 Drugs and Ran Stop Sign by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Released on $7500.00 bond.
Charles Johnson (age 47 with Poplarville, Ms. address) was booked on the charge of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Marisa Dearth (age 24 with Bogalusa, La. address) was booked on the charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Schedule 1 Drugs, Possession of CDS With Weapon Present, and Contempt of Court (2 counts) by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Keaira Pinter (age 23 with Bogalusa, La. address) was booked on the charge of Failure to Pay Fine by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Bond set at $423.60.
Cody Barber (age 29 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charge of Fugitive Other Jurisdiction by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Released November 22, 2022, no bond information.
November 22, 2022
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Jimmy Travis reports the arrest of 35 year-old Johnathan Calcota and 32 year-old Jackel Moore on numerous drug related offenses, after a two month investigation that ended with the seizure of a large amount of narcotics, cash and a firearm.
Narcotics Agents identified Calcota as the large scale distributor of suspected methamphetamine and marijuana and developed enough information to obtain a search warrant for Calcota's residence. Calcota was on supervised felony probation for a recent narcotics conviction.
On November 17, 2022, agents conducted the search warrant where Calcota and Moore were located inside the home along with their two minor children. The search warrant yielded the discovery of a large quantity of various types of narcotics as well as a loaded pistol. Agents seized approximately 16 pounds of suspected marijuana, approximately 8 ounces of suspected methamphetamine, approximately 71 grams of suspected counterfeit Xanax, and $22,279.00 in cash.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public for its assistance in this case as well as the Louisiana Department of Corrections Office of Probation and Parole.
**All persons accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty.
Sheriff Randy Smith took advantage of the Thanksgiving school break to hold the scenario-based training at Mayfield Elementary, but he stresses such training prepares the deputies for incidents at any business or building in the parish.
Deputies from multiple divisions participated in the training, with some playing the roles of the shooters as well as students and teachers.
"We tried to make this as realistic as possible," Sheriff Smith said.
Following the exercise, a debriefing was held with all involved to discuss what areas could be improved upon.
“We want to make sure we realize where our vulnerabilities are and to correct them now so we are prepared in case we find ourselves dealing with a real-life active-shooter situation in the future," Sheriff Smith said.
Sheriff Smith would like to thank the St. Tammany Parish School System for allowing the Sheriff’s Office the opportunity to use the school facility for this very important training.
District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that on November 17, 2022, Robert John Morrison, age 70 of Carriere, Mississippi, was found guilty in a unanimous 6-person jury of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm.
On May 3, 2020, Morrison and the 55-year-old victim were participating in a pickleball game in Lacombe, Louisiana where they got into a verbal altercation. The victim reported to police that Morrison said “stay right here, I’ve got something for you,” and then went into his truck and pulled out a handgun. He cocked it, pointed it at the victim’s head and said “it’s loaded.” The victim told police that he tried to leave the scene but Morrison said, “you ain’t goin’ nowhere;” and Morrison set down the gun and pulled out a 2x4 board. The victim told the police that Morrison taunted him by telling him to “pick up the firearm so [I] can beat [you] with it.”
On May 20, 2022, law enforcement arrested Morrison at the Henry J. Calamari Memorial Tennis Center in Slidell. Upon his arrest, Morrison admitted to police that he’d “had enough” from the victim. Police arrested him and located a gun in his tennis bag.
At trial, eye witnesses corroborated the chain of events and testified that the victim and Morrison had been in previous verbal disagreements over the sport. Another witness testified, “I really thought he was going to shoot him.” Morrison testified on his own behalf telling the Court that he was told by the victim to leave the pickleball game, and that he was merely “defending his life, liberty and freedom.” Defense counsel stated in closing that the defendant, “had to act in self-defense to save his life.”
During closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Iain Dover addressed the jury, “I don’t want this to become the new normal. This can’t be how we respond to disagreements on the pickleball court.”
District Judge William Burris presided over the trial. Assistant District Attorneys Iain Dover and Christina Fisher prosecuted the case. Detective Katie Ragan of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office handled the investigation.
Sentencing is set for January 31, 2023 where Morrison faces up to 10 years in prison.
Heather Tarver (age 41 with Franklinton, La. address) was booked on the charge of Theft 1000-5000 by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Bond set at $3500.00.
Bendrick Fortenberry (age 29 with Tylertown, Ms. address) was booked on the charge of Probation Violation and Fugitive Other Jurisdiction by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Kristian Stoker (age 30 with Angie, La. address) was booked on the charge of Fugitive Other Juridiction by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. No bond set at this time.
Kevin Burch (age 43 with Mt. Hermon, La. address) was booked on the charge of Bench Warrant Failure to Appear by the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office. Bond set at $340.00.
November 21, 2022
District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that Travis Jhon Clark, age 39 and of Pearl River, pled guilty to felony obscenity on Monday, November 21, 2022 before District Judge Ellen Creel. The sentence range for this crime is 6 months to 3 years in prison. He received a three-year prison sentence which the court suspended and 3 years supervised probation. He was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Clark had been the pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Catholic in Pearl River and was arrested in October of 2020 when witnesses saw two women and him having sex on the altar of the church.
The altar was replaced by the church. A representative of the Archdiocese of New Orleans was present and agreed to the sentence. Clark has paid restitution in the amount of $8,000.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Authement prosecuted the case.
November 19, 2022
Friday (November 18, 2022) night, shortly before 6:30 p.m., Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L began investigating a two-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 22 near Helen Drive in St. Tammany Parish. The crash claimed the life of 51-year-old Petrina Lae of Covington.
The initial investigation revealed that the crash occurred as a 2019 Jeep Cherokee, driven by 35-year-old Roy Keys III of Covington was traveling westbound on LA Hwy 22. At the same time, a 2018 International tow truck was traveling eastbound on LA Hwy 22. The preliminary findings revealed Keys III crossed the centerline into the opposing lane, which resulted in the Jeep striking the front of the International.
Lae was in the front right passenger seat of the Jeep. Despite being properly restrained, she sustained fatal injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased on the scene. The driver of the International was properly restrained and was not injured. The driver of the International was not suspected of being impaired and voluntarily submitted to a chemical breath test, which showed no alcohol detected. At this time, it is unknown whether Keys III was restrained. Keys III was not injured.
Impairment is suspected to be a factor in the crash on the part of Keys III. Troopers arrested and booked Keys III at the St. Tammany Parish Jail for Vehicular Homicide, DWI (2nd Offense), Operating a vehicle while under suspension for certain prior offenses, and Driving Left of Center. A routine toxicology sample was obtained from Keys III and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
Far too often, Troopers see the tragic consequences of preventable motor vehicle crashes. Troopers urge motorists to have a plan in place before consuming alcohol as it can impair visual ability, diminish fine motor skills, and decrease reaction times. Please choose never to drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, and always buckle up. The conversation you have could make all the difference.
November 18, 2022
Christian Myers was recently extradited from Scarborough, Maine to Bogalusa. He was arrested by Bogalusa Detectives on November 8, 2022 for his participation in the August 23, 2022 murder of Veronique Allen. Click here for previous related stories
As the investigation continued, Detectives identified the second suspect in the murder as Aquandre Spencer, 23 years old and of Houston, Texas. Arrest warrants were obtained for Spencer for First Degree Murder, Assault by Drive by Shooting, and Illegal Use of Weapons. Spencer was believed to be in Texas, so Detectives contacted the U.S. Marshall’s Service for assistance in locating him. On Thursday morning, November 17, 2022, the Marshalls located and apprehended Spencer in Houston. Spencer has additional felony charges pending in Texas, so an extradition date has not yet been set. As soon as possible, Spencer will be brought back to Bogalusa.
It is now believed that Myers and Spencer were the only two subjects in the car at the time of the drive by shooting on Main Street that took Allen’s life. The investigation will continue to determine if anyone else assisted the two suspects in any way, in the planning and execution of the crime.
The Bogalusa Police Department commends the U.S. Marshall’s Service for their quick work in locating and apprehending Spencer, as well as BPD Detectives for their tireless efforts to solve this case.
Mayor Wendy Perrette wishes to send her condolences to the Allen family, and let them know that her thoughts are with them as the holiday season approaches. Mayor Perrette also sends her thanks to the Detectives who worked the case, and hopes that the arrests of these two suspects brings some sense of comfort and justice to the Allen family.
An informational meeting was hosted by the Washington Parish Council on November 17, 2022 at the Senior Citizen Center in Bogalusa, Louisiana designed to provide information on obtaining a succession to get clear possession of family heir property. AARP Bogalusa partnered with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services for a presentation on the Wills and Succession Project to assist with the Disaster Project funded by the AARP Foundation in Washington DC.
In the photo left to right are Ms. Leonna Magee, Council on Aging, Bogalusa Senior Center Director; Maureen Morrow, SLLS Managing Attorney, & Project Director, Emma Dixon, President Bogalusa AARP and SLLS Board Member; Janice Pigott, AARP Member, back row L-R, AARP Members Mary Laurent, Lynette Dyson, Donna Alexander, Rebecca Ferrell and Fate Ferrell.
Condemned houses are being torn down in Bogalusa thanks to a coalition funded by the “Neighborhood Health & Wellness through Blight Remediation” grant from International Paper Foundation.
Bogalusa Rebirth was awarded International Paper grant funds to demolish condemned structures. In partnership with the City of Bogalusa, Bogalusa Rebirth helps to identify properties that have already been condemned by the city and has them tested for environmental hazards. Four demolitions have already been completed. The initial demolitions are properties that do not contain asbestos. More complicated demolitions that require environmental remediation are part of the long-term goal.
The City of Bogalusa and Bogalusa Rebirth team to accomplish the demolitions. City Council leaders from each district will assist to identify the next structures to come down. Mayor Perrette stated “One down and many more to go”.
“At International Paper, we know that our mills can’t thrive if our communities aren’t thriving,” said Nakia Cowan, IP Bogalusa Mill manager. “We are proud to support the work of local organizations like Bogalusa Rebirth that are working to make our community safer and more inclusive.”
CenterPoint Energy recently contributed to the blight fund and will help toward our next round of blighted structures to be torn down.
Bogalusa Rebirth is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. Donations are tax-deductible. To contribute to the blight eradication fund, call Wendy Dupont at (985) 516-2005 or email SaveBogalusa@bellsouth.net