Archive for March, 2010

Arrests in drive-by

*published Mar 21, 2010

Six suspects linked to shooting that killed 14-year-old
BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

In announcing arrests in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl, Lake Charles police Sgt. Mark Kraus credited the community for calling in with valuable information.

Joshua Lambert and Sean Bernard Newton, both 18, and a 16-year-old boy were ar–rested in La–fayette on Monday for the March 27 drive-by shooting that killed Alexus Rank–ins, police said.

Three others — Marlin Kelly, Andre Broussard and Jarius Watson, ages not released and all of Lake Charles — were arrested Tuesday in connection with the case.

Each is charged with one count of first-degree murder.

The shooting happened at about 9:30 p.m. near the corner of Dixy Drive and Creole Street.

Nearby residents said Rankins was walking home from the mall when she was caught in the middle of a drive-by shooting and was wounded in the back of the head and neck.

“With the information we received, we learned (Lambert, Newton and the juvenile) had fled to Lafayette,” Kraus said.

They are being held in Lake Charles. There is no bond for a capital murder charge.

Kraus said the victim’s par- ents described Rankins — a seventh-grader at Oak Park Middle School — as a good student who enjoyed participating in drama club.

“She was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Kraus said.

While further complimenting the public on its valuable input, Kraus described one call that he was “saddened” by.

“We got one hushed call from a woman, who said she couldn’t let her husband know she was calling because he felt they needed to stay out of the business of this case,” Kraus said.

He said he was angered by the man’s “cowardly behavior,” that is, his voluntarily keeping important information from the police.

Kraus wouldn’t say if the vehicle and gun used in the shooting were recovered. He said detectives know who the intended victim is, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

Kraus said Lambert has a criminal record.

The lead investigator is detective Frank Fondel.

Anyone with information on the shooting can call police at 491-1311 or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.

link: http://bit.ly/bfcP9R

March 31, 2010 at 4:15 pm

March 30 11 a.m. – KYKZ

Mar 30, 2010 11 a.m. broadcast
(click to listen)

March 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm Leave a comment

Neighbors: Girl in crossfire of Saturday attack

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

A 14-year-old remained in critical condition late Sunday after being shot Saturday evening, according to authorities.

Around 9:30 p.m., police responded to a shooting near the corner of Dixy Drive and Creole Street, said Lake Charles police Sgt. Mark Kraus.

“Our detectives have been working on tips and would like anyone with additional information to call Lake Charles police,” Kraus said.

Neighbors said they believe the teenager was caught in crossfire and was not the intended target.

Kraus said they are still trying to determine the circumstances of the shooting.

The lead investigators are detectives Kevin Thomas and Kevin Kirkum.

Anyone with information can call police at 491-1311 or Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous at 439-2222.

link: http://bit.ly/a7gqXI

March 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Family, activist meet about alleged brutality

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

The family members of a man arrested recently on rape and murder charges rallied against perceived “harassment and brutality from law enforcement in the Lake Charles area.”

About 20 family members and friends of Marlin James Jenkins held a private meeting Monday that they had previously announced would be open to the public.

Jenkins was indicted March 5 on three counts of aggravated rape and one count of second-degree murder.

The American Press was not allowed into the meeting, but spokesmen for the family talked to the newspaper before the session began.

“The Jenkins family contacted us because of an alleged false arrest and abuse during the arrest of Mr. Jenkins,” said George Fisher, chairman of the Louisiana chapter of the National Action Network.

The family reportedly filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department against the Lake Charles Police Department. Jacqualine Sonnier, Jenkins’ aunt, alleges that on the day of his arrest the suspect was beaten and is now blind in one eye.

Sonnier said Jenkins did not receive medical attention until she spoke with an assistant warden at Calcasieu Correctional Center, and there has not been a followup.

Officials at Calcasieu Correctional Center said no “apparent injuries or complaints of injuries” are listed in Jenkin’s health screening, which is performed at intake.

“His medical file has a past history of treatment of eye problems, including a detached retina,” said Darren Boyd, assistant warden at CCC. “The only self-initiated medical request he submitted was for tooth pain.”

Sonnier stated she is concerned about the circumstances of the arrest.

“I spoke with Detective (Frank) Fondel, and those stories are not adding up,” Sonnier said.

“He’s not responding to us, and the information we have gotten is not accurate,” she said.

Sgt. Mark Kraus, a spokesman for the Lake Charles Police Department, said he was not aware of the meeting until contacted by the media for comment.

He released the following statement:
“Chief (Don) Dixon has the utmost respect for the integrity of the investigations that Detective Fondel is involved in. Members of the administration, including myself and Chief Dixon, were at the scene at 333 Mill St. when the defendant was arrested. Chief Dixon personally advised Marlin Jenkins of his Miranda warnings and his entire body, to include his face, was photographed within one minute after his arrest.
‘‘Immediately following the arrest, he (Jenkins) was taken to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital to retrieve a DNA sample, and he never once complained.”

link: http://bit.ly/aiXoCh

March 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Residents skeptical over Bayou d’Inde cleanup proposal

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

About 20 residents expressed their doubts on Tuesday about the state Department of Environmental Quality’s proposed plans to clean up Bayou d’Inde near Sulphur.

Those plans include dredging parts of the bayou and placing “clean sediment in fringe marsh areas,” according to the DEQ site “Draft Decision document.”

Many said they believe the plants and refineries along the bayou and nearby ship channel are trying to cover up years of pollution with a subpar plan.

“I find it remarkable that the people responsible for what has happened don’t have the courage to talk to the public and explain the reasoning (for this),” said Paul Ringo of Lake Charles. “After seven years, this is the best they could come up with?”

The document says the dredging and cover suggestions were formed after a “corrective action study” by the Bayou d’Inde Group, which consists of PPG Industries, Citgo, Occidental Chemical Corp. and Westlake Polymers LP.

“They are basically redistributing sediment they know is toxic,” Ringo said. “There’s no mention of tides or anything showing where it will go.”

Michael Tritico of Longville noted that the plan didn’t cover all bordering marsh areas, which he said were also determined to contain toxic levels of chemicals.

He cited a friend’s property along the bayou that showed high levels of dioxin, a byproduct of chemical manufacturing.

“I don’t understand how that area got left out, or why,” Tritico said.

Jill Hinds of Sulphur recounted a list of cancer deaths in her family that she attributed to living on the property they owned along the bayou.

“Both of my parents, a brother and two sisters died of cancer, and I’ve had cancer twice,” Hinds said.

“I don’t have the same stories of my dad fishing in the bayou. There were no fish in the water, and we would come home to this horrible smell.”

Tom Harris, an administrator with DEQ’s Remediation Services Division, said the plans presented “are just the big picture selection process.”

“We have told the group that a biomonitoring plan will be required, and that’s the next step, to prove their plan will work,” he said.

According to background listed in the draft document, “contaminated sediments of the estuary come from industrial facility discharges, urban and agricultural activities, dredging, storm runoff and accidental releases.”

The “Human Health Risk Evaluation” section of the document says “lifetime cancer risks from the consumption of fish and shellfish from Bayou D’Inde were above acceptable range. The majority of the risk was due to the presence of dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in shellfish tissue.”

The comment period for the remediation project ends at noon April 6. Written comments can be sent to Soumaya Ghosn, LDEQ Public Participation Group, P.O. Box 4313, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4313.

link: http://bit.ly/aMd2vt

March 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Mar 19 noon – KYKZ

Mar. 19, 2010 noon broadcast
(click to listen)

March 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

DeRidder man dies in accident

*published Mar 18, 2010

BY VANESSA C. DEGGINS

A DeRidder man is dead as the result of a Wednesday head-on crash involvingg an 18-wheeler, authorities said.

Stephen E. Curry, 48, was driving west on U.S. 190 just north of Merryville at about 2 p.m. when he entered a curve and crossed into the eastbound lane, said Trooper Stephen Hammons.

Curry’s vehicle struck the 18-wheeler driven by Ricky Young of DeRidder, Ham–mons said. Curry was pronounced dead at the scene.

Young was not injured.

Hammons said officials don’t believe Curry was impaired, but that standard toxicology tests will be run.

link: http://bit.ly/aAd2dx

March 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

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