Archive for August, 2009

Teen tased in Sunday incident

*published Aug. 31, 2009

Episode involves police officers investigating a robbery complaint and a mentally handicapped boy.
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

An altercation involving Lake Charles police officers and a 14-year-old mentally disabled boy resulted in the boy being tased and arrested.

The incident occurred near Knapp and North Prater streets in north Lake Charles on Sunday afternoon as officers had stopped another juvenile during an investigation of a robbery, according to authorities.

“The young man (the robbery victim) said another juvenile approached him, struck him and took his bicycle,” said Sgt. Mark Kraus. “The victim gave the officer a description of the bike and the suspect’s clothing.”

Kraus said the officer stopped a 14-year-old boy near Knapp and N. Prater streets who was wearing clothing fitting that description.

“While two officers detained the juvenile, they heard someone screaming and turned to see another person coming towards them attempting to attack them,” Kraus said. “This person fell on the suspect, and when officers tried to pull him off, he attacked the officers, cutting one’s lip and biting the other on the arm.”

Kraus said the officer tased the individual to stop him from biting.

A woman at the scene identified the robbery suspect and alleged attacker as her twin sons. She said the attacker is mentally disabled and that her daughter tried telling the officer this and saying not to use the Taser on him.

She said that officers should have spoken to people at the scene instead of using what she considered unnecessary force on the boy.

“There were about 10 police cars here, and none of the officers would fully tell me what was going on,” she said.

Kraus said the officer did not recall hearing being told about the juvenile’s condition, saying everything happened very quickly.

“At that point, the officer did not know the person’s age or mental condition,” Kraus said.

Kraus said the suspect in the bicycle case has been charged with robbery and was transported to the Juvenile Detention Center. The young man who was tased was taken to a hospital for evaluation and faces charges of interfering with an investigation and two counts of battery on a police officer.

“We expect our officers to defend themselves,” Kraus said. “When someone, juvenile or otherwise, injures them, we expect them to defend themselves.”

link:http://bit.ly/hqqz8

August 31, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Profile of Killer

*published Aug. 28, 2009 (updated regularly)

Jeff Davis Serial Killer
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To view full map, CLICK HERE.

August 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Law enforcement, District B residents meet to discuss crime issues

*published Aug. 28, 2009

Law enforcers’ interaction with residents was a main topic.

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

District B City Councilwoman Luvertha August held a meeting Thursday for residents and law enforcement officers to address various community issues.

Officers from the Lake Charles Police Department, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and Ward 3 City Marshal’s Office answered questions that ranged from suspected prostitution in an area to police interaction with residents.

At times, officers had to correct misinformation residents were told by other officers.

Shirley Sias said officers had been rude at times or did not say anything to people despite chasing a suspect onto their property.

Calcasieu Chief Deputy Gary “Stitch” Guillory said a resident should always ask for the supervisor, who should be on the scene.

“They are the one’s authorized to talk, and I think it’s common courtesy to knock on a door and tell the homeowner what they can,” he said.

August said some residents were told by city police that they didn’t handle prostitution complaints in residential areas. Lake Charles police Cpl. Marie Daughenbaugh said that is incorrect and that the officer should not have said that.

Lt. Arnold Bellow with the department’s community policing effort explained the timeline when investigating activity.

“We have to gather all the information from (residents) and work on building evidence to take to the district attorney,” Bellow said. “It doesn’t always happen quickly.”

Mayor Randy Roach encouraged residents to call in with as much specific information as they can, saying that everything can be helpful.

“With the computer-generated statistics, something that didn’t seem important at the time may be helpful later,” he said. “Those reports help them pick up patterns, and they have even been able to predict activity and we deploy our officers to this area.”

August explained that some people were concerned about an officer coming to their house after they call about an incident.

Residents can say they don’t want an officer to come to their house and leave just their name and phone number.

“If the officer gets there after the incident is over, they can just call you back to get some follow-up information,” Roach said.

“That specific information is what will help them catch the person afterwards,” he said.

The meeting ending with Cmdr. Eric Authement explaining a home or car owners’ right to use force against another person. All attendees received a copy of the full Louisiana law.

Attendees described the turnout of residents and law officers as “excellent.”

“I think they were very cooperative in answering all the questions,” said Gloria Jefferson.

“This was helpful because now we know their faces,” said Debra Landry.

link: http://bit.ly/mt0Au

August 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

LC police say squatter dies from injuries in beating

*published Aug. 27, 2009

A man who was living illegally in a Lake Charles house has died from injuries he suffered during a fight with the homeowner, police said.

Joseph K. Alexander, 20, was pronounced dead at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, said Sgt. Mark Kraus. The cause of death was blunt-force trauma.

At about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the owner of the house, a rental property at 1118 McNabb St., stopped there after he saw lights on inside it, Kraus said.

“The home was being renovated, so no one was living there,” he said.

Police said the owner encountered Alexander, who was armed with a bat. The owner took the bat from Alexander and used it to beat him, police said.

Kraus did not say whether the owner will face any charges.

VANESSA C. DEGGINS

link: http://bit.ly/15d7wM

August 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

CASH FOR CLUNKERS: Grinding to halt

published Aug. 25, 2009
Dealerships welcome hectic last day of rebates
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

Clunkers traded for new vehicles at Mark Dodge in Lake Charles wait for their demise in a field behind the dealership. BY KAREN WINK

Clunkers traded for new vehicles at Mark Dodge in Lake Charles wait for their demise in a field behind the dealership. BY KAREN WINK

Area car dealers enjoyed a roller-coaster ride on Monday, the final day of the Car Allowance Rebate System, also known as the Cash for Clunkers program.

“It’s been crazy, but a good crazy,” said King Bolton, general manager of Bolton Ford.

Unlike some area dealerships, Bolton Ford accepted customers up to the 7 p.m. deadline.

Billy Navarre Chevrolet and Suzuki Auto Plex also accepted buyers until the deadline.

Most dealerships decided to stop on Saturday or by 2 p.m. Monday because of multiple crashes with the filing system.

The widespread system problems led the Obama administration to extend the filing deadline until noon today.

“This might be an allnighter for us,” said Doug Cosgro, Internet sales manager for Suzuki Auto Plex in Sulphur.

He said the dealership has sold about 20 cars through the Cash for Clunkers program, with the most popular models being the GSX-R crossover and XL7.

 According to sales personnel at Mark Dodge in Lake Charles, the dealership had more than 50 clunkers traded in for new cars under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS. BY KAREN WINK

According to sales personnel at Mark Dodge in Lake Charles, the dealership had more than 50 clunkers traded in for new cars under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS. BY KAREN WINK

At All-Star Pontiac, owner Jack Hebert said the dealership also sold about 20 cars through the program.

“We had some that didn’t qualify and bought cars anyway,” Hebert said. He said the dealership also sold a lot of used cars.

“The publicity of the program has sparked people’s interest and movement in general I think,” Hebert said.

For others, he said, they did appraisals of the vehicles to make sure the owners know the gas mileage and current value.

Bolton said the program also spurred consumer confidence.

“We tend to be conservative down here, so if your neighbor or friend is buying a new car, you might be more inclined to,” Bolton said.

All of the dealerships said things were only a little slow before the program started.

“We were doing OK in February and March, but this will definitely keep us from having excess inventory,” said Phillip Tarver, general manager for Lake Charles Toyota.

The next big step for dealers: waiting for government reimbursement and trashing the clunkers.

“We drain all the fluids and pour sodium silicate (also known as liquid glass) into the engine, and we run it until the motor locks up,” said Marsh Buice, general sales manager with Mark Dodge.

He said the dealership has sold about 60 vehicles through the program.

Most of the dealers said they have only been reimbursed for a few cars or none at all, but said they don’t expect that to be a problem.

“You know, we’ve done everything right and trust the government will follow through,” Bolton said.

link:http://bit.ly/3EGVxT

August 25, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Virtual Tour: Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab

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To go on a virtual tour of the lab, CLICK HERE.

link: http://bit.ly/QdypL

August 20, 2009 at 7:36 pm

CPSO: DNA links Sulphur man to Moss Bluff burglary

*published Aug. 19, 2009
Authorities believe blood at scene result of cut suffered by intruder.
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office says another old case has been solved through DNA testing by the recently certified Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab.

Last week, Catlin C. Richard, 21, of Sulphur, was arrested for a June 2005 burglary in Moss Bluff. He was charged with burglary, theft and criminal property damage.

Judge Kent Savoie set his bond at $51,000.

Officials in 2005 collected samples of blood from several rooms in the burglarized house and determined the burglar had cut himself when he broke a window to get inside, authorities said.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said last week that state and FBI crime labs give priority to violent crime cases, leaving samples from other cases to languish on long waiting lists.

The area lab was certified to be a part of the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, two months ago.

On July 31, the 2005 samples were matched to Richard, and he was charged Aug. 13. At the time, he was being held in the Calcasieu Correctional Center on other charges.

The Southwest Louisiana Crime Lab reportedly has 50 to 60 backlogged crime scene samples to input and analyze.

When a sample is matched to a person in the database, it has to be rerun within 30 days by another analyst to confirm the match, said Cmdr. Matt Viator.

Viator said that before the area lab was nationally certified, officers here had to contract with other CODIS-certified labs if they needed a national search.

Samples that are backlogged in state and federal labs can be recalled by local law enforcement agencies to be submitted to the area lab.

CODIS is funded by the FBI and was created as a searchable national database for local DNA labs.

In addition to this latest case, CODIS hits have led to arrests for 13 other crimes: two burglaries and four rapes for the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office; one rape and five burglaries for Lake Charles police; and one burglary for the Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On the Net: http://www.dna.gov.

link: http://bit.ly/goaob

August 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Carter: Release in order

*published Aug. 18, 2009
Mom’s property pledge frees suspect in attack on deputy
BY VINCENT LUPO AND VANESSA C. DEGGINS

TULLOS

State court Judge Wilford Carter said Monday that he allowed the release of a suspect in the attack of an off-duty Calcasieu sheriff’s deputy after the suspect’s mother signed a sworn document saying she owns $3 million in property.

Jake Tullos, 22, was released from jail Friday, Aug. 14. He was one of two people arrested for their alleged roles in the attack.

Tullos and Anthony Chaumont, 22, are accused of attacking Deputy Logan Armistead on Aug. 7 outside a local nightclub. Armistead, who was off duty at the time, works in corrections at the Sheriff’s Office.

He remains in a coma in a Lafayette hospital. The Lake Charles Police Department is investigating the case.

Carter told the American Press on Monday that he checked out assessment records to ensure that Geneva Guidry of Many, Tullos’ mother, had property worth $3 million.

The judge said the assessments were presented to him by local attorney Glen Vamvoras. Carter said he checked into all issues before setting the bond and allowing Tullos’ release.

If the 22-year-old Tullos fails to appear for any of his required court appearances, his mother will have to forfeit $500,000. Carter originally set Tullos’ bond at $500,000.

Police Chief Don Dixon said the bond amount was appropriate, but that it didn’t matter because a surety bond doesn’t require any money down.

“It’s very frustrating if you take the totality of the circumstances,” Dixon said. “We had to find them; no one turned themselves in.”

Carter said a judge usually only has the benefit of a police report in setting bond and that those can be “self-serving” and present only one side of the case.

Tullos was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center on attempted manslaughter charges after the alleged attack on Armistead.

He was released Friday after his mother paid a $30 administrative fee and signed for the $500,000 surety bond.

“It’s unfortunate that Logan is in a coma and unresponsive and cannot enjoy life, yet Jake Tullos is free,” said Sheriff Tony Mancuso. “The judge is within his powers to take that action. I may not have to agree with it, but it is our system.”

Carter said he also checked into the deputy’s condition before he allowed Tullos’ release. He said he was told the deputy is still in a coma but is breathing on his own.

Also, in allowing Tullos’ release, Carter said he checked the law Tullos is accused of violating.

He said the attempted manslaughter statute requires a specific intent to kill in a situation when the offender acts in the heat of passion and his blood has not had time to cool.

Carter said prosecutors may have difficulty proving intent to kill, although there has been some speculation that Tullos believed the deputy might have given him “a hard time” while he was incarcerated in the parish jail.

The judge suggested the case might better fit the second-degree battery law — the intentional use of force or violence when the offender inflicts serious bodily harm such as unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or disfigurement, or loss or impairment of a bodily organ.

Louisiana law also defines attempted manslaughter as an attempted homicide when the offender is engaged in the commission of a felony or attempted felony not listed in the first- or second-degree murder laws or the commission of an intentional misdemeanor directly affecting the person.

Simple battery could be such a misdemeanor.

Chaumont, the other suspect in the attack, was also arrested on charges of attempted manslaughter. His bond, too, was set by Carter at $500,000. But Chaumont remains in custody on a probation hold.

Police have said Chaumont was released on probation from the parish jail two months ago as part of a sentence for simple robbery.

link: http://bit.ly/lMzqv

August 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm

School Board to wait on flu program

*published Aug. 17, 2009
Students won’t be vaccinated unless necessary
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

While hundreds of schools are setting up for what could be the most widespread school vaccination program since the days of polio, Calcasieu Parish School Board officials said they will wait and see in regards to swine flu.

“This is something we would do only if absolutely necessary,” said Calcasieu Parish School Board Superintendent Wayne Savoy.

He said any action the system takes would be dictated by recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

A vaccination program in the parish schools “would be a massive undertaking,” said Charlene Chaisson, information officer for the school board.

Chaisson said the biggest step would be getting permission from the parents of the more than 30,000 students in the parish.

“We definitely can’t just start vaccinating every student without parents’ permission,” Chaisson said.

She said there is no specific plan in place for the parish.

Last week, the National Association of County and City Health officials hosted an online seminar for about 700 officials on school flu vaccinations.

No parish school board in Louisiana has announced plans to close schools or start parishwide vaccinations.

Last spring, about 100 schools nationwide closed because of swine flu cases. There are 346 CDC-confirmed cases of swine flu in Louisiana, which includes 22 Central High School football players.

“We know (parents) are concerned because they love their children more than anything in the world,” Chaisson said. “But we just don’t want them to panic.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

link: http://bit.ly/lBQFj

August 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Arrest made in assault of deputy

published Aug. 12, 20009
Police seek two more suspects
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

chaumont

Lake Charles police announced the arrest of a Sulphur man in connection with the Aug. 7 assault of an off-duty Calcasieu Parish corrections officer, who remains in critical condition.

At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, officers arrested Anthony Chaumont, 22, and charged him with attempted manslaughter in the attack on Deputy Logan Armistead, 26, of Sulphur.

Judge Wilford Carter set Chaumont’s bond at $50,000, but the man remains in custody on a probation hold. Police Chief Don Dixon said Chaumont was released on probation from the parish jail two months ago as part of a sentence for simple robbery.

Police have arranged for Chaumont to be housed at the Sulphur city jail.

“It appears (Armistead) was sucker-punched and was not part of the argument that was going on,” Dixon said.

After the incident, Chaumont reportedly left with two other white males, whom police are looking for.

“We know there are other people involved,” Dixon said, and he urged the two men “to come forward now because we are going to find you.”

At about 3:30 a.m. last Friday, Armistead was found unconscious in the parking lot of a West College Street bar, police said. He was taken to a Lafayette hospital with serious head trauma.

“He is still unresponsive and in a very serious condition,” said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

Dixon said investigators are not sure who in the group hit Armistead and are not sure if Chaumont was housed in an area where the deputy worked.

“We are looking at whether or not he knew Armistead was a deputy, but right now we don’t think he did,” Dixon said.

There are no security cameras in or around the bar. Dixon said he is looking into proposing a city ordinance that requires bars to have security cameras.

link: http://bit.ly/3kEZCW

August 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm

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