District Attorney Collin Sims (Interim) reports that Jo’Andre Lecasso Dawson, age 24 and from Angie, Louisiana, pled guilty on January 8, 2024 to manslaughter and obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence. He was sentenced by District Judge Ellen Creel to 40 years in prison.
In January of 2020, the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call regarding a dead body found on property located near Military Road in Angie, Louisiana. Authorities identified the victim as 17 year-old Jaquarius Taylor and determined he had been shot in the head multiple times. Several spent shell casings were found near the victim’s body. Just an hour prior to the discovery of his body, Taylor’s mother had reported him missing.
During the course of their investigation, detectives were able to determine Taylor’s last contact prior to his murder was with his second-cousin, the defendant, Jo’Andre Dawson.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for Dawson’s residence and recovered several shell casings on the property. When questioned by police, Dawson admitted he had previously discharged a pistol on his property, but he no longer had the pistol because someone had since stolen it. A ballistics expert examined the shell casings recovered from the murder scene and those recovered from the defendant’s property and determined they were all fired from the same weapon. After receiving this information, detectives conducted another interview of the defendant. During that interview, the defendant eventually admitted to shooting the victim. He told police that he had picked up the victim earlier in the night, and they drove to the area where the victim’s body was later discovered. He said an altercation ensued between the victim and him, leading him to shoot the victim multiple times. He admitted that he then threw the victim’s phone into a pond and disposed of his gun in the Pearl River.
Assistant District Attorney Luke Lancaster prosecuted the case and the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Family members were present in the courtroom and agreed with the terms of the sentence. A letter written by the victim’s mother describing how her son’s murder had devastated her and her family was read aloud in court immediately prior to Judge Creel sentencing the defendant.
Interim DA Sims stated, “Our office will continue to focus on prosecuting violent criminals to keep our community safe.”