Carter: Release in order

August 18, 2009 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

*published Aug. 18, 2009
Mom’s property pledge frees suspect in attack on deputy


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.



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