News for Monday 032017
By Dave Graichen
Opening arguments in the Derrick Stafford trial are set for 9 a.m. in Marksville. The former deputy marshal faces murder and attempted murder charges after he and another officer allegedly shot at a vehicle killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring his father. Loyola University Law Professor Dane Ciolino says the main issue is whether the shooting was justified. The defense is expected to argue there was another shooter involved, possibly with testimony from experts and video simulation. Legal analyst Bryan Jeansonne says how it’s presented will make a difference.
A veteran East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy who served high-risk warrants and earned accolades in his career became the fourth law enforcement officer to die here in the line of duty over the last eight months after he was fatally shot Saturday night at a strip-mall hair salon while trying to question a rape suspect. 43 year old Sgt. Shawn Thomas Anderson a father of two and an East Baton Rouge Parish deputy for 18 years, died after being rushed to a nearby hospital. The rape suspect, who hasn't been identified, was also shot during the struggle. He remained hospitalized Sunday evening.
A Rapides Parish man will spend 21 months behind bars after authorities say he stole more than $100-thousand in Veterans Affairs benefits. 51-year-old Tracy Marler of Ball withdrew more than $100-thousand from a deceased woman’s account between 2008 and 2014. He was sentenced for one count of theft of government property. The judge also sentenced Marler to two years supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution.
As Gov. John Bel Edwards looks for his next State Police superintendent, his options are limited by a little-known statute that precludes external candidates for the job, requiring that the next chief be chosen "from the ranks of sworn, commissioned State Police officers who have graduated from the State Police training academy." The law has drawn scrutiny in law enforcement and state government circles following Edmonson's announcement last week that he will step down at the end of this week after nine years at the helm of his agency.
As federal lawmakers work to repeal and replace the affordable care act, US Senator John Kennedy says he’ll vote for anything that’s better than Obamacare, even if it’s not perfect. He says one change he’d like to see in the House bill is more healthcare assistance for those that need it. Kennedy says he also wants more flexibility for states to run Medicaid.
Despite a national focus on the individual insurance markets, the Republican health plan being debated in Washington could have far more sweeping impact in Louisiana for other provisions that curb federal spending on Medicaid. That redesign is estimated to come with deep spending cuts. The implications would be major for Louisiana, where more than one-third of residents get health services through the Medicaid program, financed jointly by the state and federal government.
The Office of Community Development is seeking new offers from companies that want to oversee the homeowner assistance program for flood victims. The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Julie Baxter Payer, says there won’t be any delay in getting assistance to those who need it. She says they’re reopening the bidding process because they weren’t pleased with the initial offers. They expect a contractor to be in place within a month. As of right now, the federal government has yet to give the state access to the federal dollars made available for homeowners, so the only delay is in Washington.
There are 12 confirmed cases of the mumps and it will likely keep rising, according to Dr. Frank Welch with the state Department of Health. He says the viral infection and is spread by saliva. So, kissing, coughing and sneezing are how it is usually spread. He says know the symptoms, such as headache, fever, fatigue, and jaw swelling just below your ear.
Three arrests have been made after a noose was hung at the baseball field of Westminster Christian Academy following an argument between three black boys and three white boys. Maj. Eddie Thibodaux with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office says even though it was meant as a joke, a noose is humiliating and hateful. Two juveniles and one 18-year-old are charged with public display of a noose with intent to intimidate. The school says all three students are no longer enrolled at Westminster.
20-year-old Armande Stephen Tart faces four counts of first degree murder. Jefferson Parish investigators believe he’s the man who killed four people at a Metairie apartment complex last week. Three of the victims were fatally shot and the fourth victim was reportedly stabbed over 40 times. Sheriff Newell Normand calls Tart a cold-blooded killer, who murdered these people over drugs.
Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana expands their KIDLINE services to 24 hours a day. The hotline services parents, victims of child abuse, and others who need a listening ear. PCA Louisiana Executive Director Amanda Brunson says a grant from the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement provided dollars to have counselors available around the clock. Brunson says the KIDLINE also connects families to local counselors and community services. She says that includes help meeting basic needs with resources like food banks and local shelters. The 24 hour hotline is 1-800-CHILDREN
An effort to recall Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni has unsuccessfully ended. Attorney Robert Evans the Third had six-months to get 90-thousand signatures to force a recall and three weeks before the deadline he only had 55-thousand signatures. Evans sought a recall after Yenni reportedly sent sexually explicit texts to a 17-year-old boy.
A Washington Parish man is behind bars after police say he shot and killed five abandoned puppies. Chief Deputy Mike Haley with the Sheriff’s Office says a concerned citizen contacted the Humane Society after seeing the abandoned puppies on the side of the road.
25-year-old Shawn Jones faces animal cruelty charges.
Governor John Bel Edwards is seeking to give the Louisiana tax system a facelift during the upcoming legislative session. Port Allen Senator Rick Ward supports the effort to repeal many business tax exemptions, so that large companies are paying taxes to the state, instead of getting a big refund. Ward says the plan to eliminate more corporate tax breaks is a much more fair approach. But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh is skeptical. He says if the state cuts exemptions and credits that businesses currently benefit from, then that will hurt economic development efforts.
In a span of three innings Sunday, the LSU baseball team scored six runs on just two hits. The Tigers rode those innings to a 7-6 win against Georgia, clinching a series sweep at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers have a few days off returning to action on Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana.
It was a good weekend for the New Orleans Pelicans. Starting with a 128 to 112 whooping of the Houston Rockets on Friday night and finishing up with a 123 to 109 win over the Timberwolves Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow night the Pelicans will face the Memphis Grizzlies a the nest.
LSU women fell 55-52 to Cal in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night ending their season.