News for Monday 031317
By Dave Graichen
The Orleans Parish Coroner has identified the victims, including children, in a crime that left three dead and one wounded at a home in the Gentilly area of New Orleans early Friday. Authorities report the victims were a 30-year-old woman and her 6 and 10 year old sons. Police Chief Michael Harrison says currently, no one is in custody and urges anyone with information about this crime to come forward.
Jury selection is expected to begin Today in the Derrick Stafford trial. Stafford, a former Marksville ward 2 Marshall’s deputy, faces charges of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the Nov. 3, 2015, shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis and the wounding of Christopher Few. Stafford has pleaded not guilty. Norris Greenhouse Jr., Stafford’s partner that fateful night will go on trial on June 12.
A Loyola law professor releases a report on ways Louisiana can reduce its highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. Professor Bill Quigley says the first step is admitting there’s a problem.
He says Louisiana is one of only two states that allows people to be convicted with less than a unanimous jury. He says sentencing reform is needed as well, particularly for repeat offenders.
Quigley says classifying drug offense as victimless crimes is another step Louisiana could take to reduce prison populations. Governor John Bel Edwards has said criminal justice reform will be a key issue in the upcoming regular session.
Gambling addiction has become a growing problem in Louisiana as it affects an estimated 180-thousand people statewide. Executive Director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling Janet Miller says directly asking if someone has a problem is the best method to tackle the addition. To raise awareness about Louisiana’s services for those experiencing problems with gambling, Governor John Bel Edwards has declared March, “National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.” Miller advises anyone affected by gambling to contact the Problem Gambler’s Helpline at 1-877-770-STOP for free assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says he’s secured indictments against Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa on a bribery scheme in which he allegedly tried to have a candidate drop out of a city council race in exchange for political favors. A businessman is also accused along with Matassa of offering a Gonzales City Council candidate money and a government job if he withdrew from the election.
Early voting for the March 25th elections are underway. Four candidates in northwest Louisiana are on the ballot in the District 8 state House race to fill the seat vacated by US Rep Mike Johnson. There are four judicial elections, and Lake Charles will be choosing a new mayor.
The Louisiana State Troopers Association is reportedly the subject of a federal investigation alleging the nonprofit made illegal campaign contributions. That’s according to Louisiana Voice publisher Tom Aswell, who says the association’s board funneled the money through its executive director David Young.
Community leaders around the state are teaming up with Keep Louisiana Beautiful for the fight against litter. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says Leaders Against Litter are leading the way to a cleaner Louisiana. He says officials gathered Friday for a statewide litter-a-thon to kick off the campaign. Nungesser says litter costs the state money, hurts communities, and even hurts tourism.
Admitted rapist and former Saints star Darren Sharper’s lawyers are arguing that a judge didn’t properly explain the details of a “global” plea agreement which put their client behind bars 18 years. Sharper plead guilty to drugging and raping women in four states. An appeal was filed Friday.
A 500-acre expansion has been announced for a planned liquefied natural gas plant in Cameron Parish. The Baton Rouge-based company announced in October 2015 that it planned to build an $11 billion LNG plant on 766 acres in Cameron. Once the land for the expansion is secured, the facility will cover 1,266 acres on the west side of the Calcasieu Ship Channel. The company’s president, Thomas Hudson, said last week that construction is expected to start in 2018. He said the first delivery of LNG is expected in late 2022.
The project is expected to generate roughly 3,500 construction jobs and more than 250 permanent jobs.
The Lake Charles founded food delivery platform Waitr is expanding thanks to a $10 million investment from an investor group led by Saints Quarterback Drew Brees. President and CEO Chris Meaux says Waitr is currently in 18 cities in four states, and this new funding will allow them to open 24 new markets this year. Meaux says Alexandria and Monroe are next to get Waitr, and maybe Houma after that. He says they hire a lot of people in the state, which is something that attracted Brees to work with them.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office says a 25-year-old Oakdale man died as a result of injuries suffered in a residential fire earlier this month. They say Joey Hampton Jr sustained third-degree burns to 70% of his body and was being treated at a Lafayette hospital where he died. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
Entering this weekend’s series against Wichita State, LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri changed up the top three spots in his order in an attempt to get his offense going.
The early returns were promising as LSU completed a series sweep of the Shockers. Up next, the Tigers Face Louisiana College Tuesday Night.
After 5 seasons, Johnny Jones is no longer the head coach of the LSU men’s basketball team. The Tigers lost a school record 15 in a row in Jones’ final season. All of Jones’ assistants have been fired as well. The coaching search is on for the LSU men’s basketball team and Athletic Director Joe Alleva says he’ll be looking for someone who can put the excitement back into the program.
The Saints have finally made a move with Brandin Cooks. The wide receiver is off to New England as the Saints made a deal with the Patriots for draft picks.