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May 03, 2024

Slidell Man Found Guilty of Revenge Murder

District Attorney Collin Sims reports that on May 2, 2024, a St. Tammany Parish jury found 34-year-
old Jules “Pop” Johnson of Slidell, guilty of the revenge murder of 43-year-old Melvin Webb. The jury also convicted Johnson of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Assistant District Attorneys Jay Adair and Christina Fisher prosecuted the case. District Judge Richard Swartz presided over the three-day trial. Former St Tammany Sheriff Detective Tim Crabtree, now a Special Agent with Homeland Security, spearheaded the investigation on behalf of the sheriff’s office. In response to the verdict, District Attorney Collin Sims praised his prosecutors and the St Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office for their dedication in ensuring this retaliatory killer was brought to justice. Sims said, “Due to the tireless efforts of our prosecution team and the sheriff’s detectives, this career criminal and killer will no longer be a menace to our community.”

Trial testimony established that on May 19, 2019, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Gloria’s Bayou Lounge on Salmen Street in Slidell in reference to a shooting in the parking lot of the bar. Upon arrival, deputies discovered a black male, identified as Melvin Webb, lying in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to Slidell Memorial Hospital but was pronounced deceased shortly after his arrival.

Investigators reviewed video footage from an exterior camera at the lounge which captured the murder as it unfolded in the lounge’s parking lot. Seconds prior to the shooting, the victim was speaking with a black male when another black male approached them, fired a handgun toward the victim and immediately fled the scene.

Detectives identified several individuals still on the scene who had witnessed the killing. Among those eyewitnesses was the victim’s wife. She identified the shooter as “Pop Johnson.” She told officers that she’d seen him loitering across the street from their home a couple of weeks prior to the murder of her husband. Detectives quickly developed the back story to the murder that suggested Johnson’s motive for killing Webb. On December 9th, 2012, at the very same Gloria’s Bayou Lounge, Webb’s cousin, Dwight Ambo, shot and killed Johnson’s father, Sherman Deas, after Deas was accused of harassing two females at the bar. After Ambo killed Deas, Webb assisted Ambo in eluding authorities. Consequently, Webb was charged with being an accessory to the homicide and served a prison term after being convicted of the charge in 2014.

During the course of this week’s trial, compelling testimony was heard from multiple eyewitnesses who were present at the scene when the murder occurred. They remained adamant in their identification of Johnson as the man they observed shoot and kill Webb. It was established at trial that Johnson was known to drive a brown or tan Cadillac or Lincoln. Detectives identified a Lincoln Town Car registered to Johnson’s grandfather and were able to trace the vehicle’s movements the night of the murder via automated license plate readers (ALPR) positioned in various locations. One ALPR captured the Town Car heading west on I-12 near Covington at 2 a.m., just 30 minutes after the shooting. Another ALPR showed the Lincoln Town Car later heading into Georgia, leading detectives to focus on Georgia in their search for Johnson. On June 11, 2019, detectives found Johnson in a sports bar in Marietta, Georgia and took him into custody.

In closing arguments at the conclusion of the trial, prosecutor Christina Fisher reviewed with the jury the forceful testimony of the various eyewitnesses and the compelling video footage from the lounge’s parking lot camera. In response, defense counsel harped on the lack of physical evidence and how the case relied solely on the credibility of the witnesses, which he called into question.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Jay Adair said, “The defendant is ice cold and revenge is a dish best served cold.” He said, “the defense wants you to disbelieve the victim’s wife. But there is one motive they dare not bring up – that no one wants justice more than she. She has no incentive to identify an innocent man while her husband’s murderer continues to roam free. She fingered the right guy. She did so 5 minutes after the shooting in her 911 call, 5 hours later during her formal police interview and now 5 years later to you the jurors. The fact is, it was Jules Johnson who murdered Melvin Webb.”

Sentencing is scheduled for June 10, 2024. The defendant faces mandatory life in prison on the murder charge. He is a 5-time convicted felon.

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