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The alleged shooter of the former Saints player Will Smith has been indicted on charges of second degree murder and attempted murder. Legal analyst Tim Meche says it looks like the Orleans Parish District Attorney is handling the case against Cardell Hayes cautiously.

“He could’ve returned a first-degree murder indictment, which would’ve called for capital punishment, and the fact that he didn’t do so tells me he’s decided to treat this case cautiously,” Meche said.

The indictment came down during the middle of a preliminary hearing that was called to establish probable cause against Hayes. Meche says he’s not surprised the DA’s office was able to get an indictment, before the defense was able to call witnesses to the stand during today’s preliminary hearing.

“It was always predictable that Leon Cannizzaro would return an indictment to prevent the defense from having the opportunity to question the witnesses,” Meche said.

Hayes’ Attorney John Fuller said in court today that the prosecution is trying to jam an indictment down. Meche says the DA is just going through the procedure according to the law.

“The District Attorney has the ability to circumvent a preliminary exam by obtaining an indictment, and that’s the law of Louisiana,” Meche said.

After the indictment, Hayes plead not guilty to four charges. Hayes was also indicted on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated damage to property to go along with the murder and attempted murder charge. His bond has been set at 1.75 million dollars and a motion date has been set for June 3rd.

 
 
 
 

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Michelle Southern & Emelie Gunn reporting.

Governor John Bel Edwards says the special interest group that’s running attack ads accusing him of breaking his promise about keeping existing school vouchers is not telling the truth. He told reporters Thursday that no student currently receiving a voucher, would lost it.

“I have consistently said I was not going to end the voucher program, nor would I propose taking away vouchers from students who already receive them.”

Edwards says he’s been told by the Department of Education that there is no plan to take a voucher away from a student, and that he is disingenuously being called a liar. He told a pro-voucher man at the news conference that he never said he was going to zero out funding for vouchers.

“Find where I said I was going to zero out vouchers, find where that happened because you’re not going to find it.”

Edwards says there are cuts coming to several areas of the state due to the shortfall, and the voucher special interests are upset they aren’t getting preferential treatment. Before the governor spoke, the Louisiana Federation for Children held a press conference featuring parents whose children benefit from the voucher program. New Orleans single mother Corrine Celestine is upset over the proposed cuts.

“Don’t take that opportunity away from me as a parent, don’t take that opportunity away from us and our children because they’re our future, they’re the next generation.”

Baton Rouge mother Pamela Gauthier says her son Joseph has Down syndrome and struggled in public school because teachers didn’t have adequate resources. But she says thanks to the voucher program, Joseph is now excelling at a private school that teachers developmentally disabled children.

“He has shown great improvement academically, as well as, socially. His report card in the public school system was Fs and Ds.”

 
 
 

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A Senate committee has approved the bill to prevent members of the LGBT community from being fired or turned down for jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. New Orleans Senator Troy Carter authored the legislation. He says we need to protect people from discrimination.

“As a black man, I might still be caught in the trap of discrimination that is still there but at least I’ve got recourse,” Carter said.

Carter says discrimination is still alive, and lawmakers need to do what they can to protect people from it in the workplace.

“There are people day in and day out in this country, in this state, in this city, in this building that are discriminated against for whatever reason,” Carter said.

Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns voted against the proposal. He says it could pose problems for business owners in the state.

“There are some problems with the bill from a practical standpoint of owning a business. I own a business, and there are no discriminatory policies in my business, I can assure you of that,” Johns said.

The measure passed on a 4-2 vote and now heads to the Senate floor for more debate.

 
 
 

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Two people are dead after a shootout involving a police officer in the small southwest Louisiana town of Carlylss. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso says his officers were responding to a 911 call for an armed robbery when they got another call from a man saying people were running through his field close to the location of the burglary. Mancuso says deputies met the individuals in the field.

“When deputies got out of their cars to confront them, the male subject started shooting at the deputies. Deputies returned fire, and the subject drops,” Mancuso said.

Mancuso says the suspect, identified as Cody McAdams, fired several shots at the deputies before the officers returned fire. The sheriff says when police approached the suspect, they found another victim.

“We also had a female victim that was deceased in the field. Deputies only fired one shot, so we assume that he shot and killed her. Obviously we’re still investigating,” Mancuso said.

Mancuso says the female victim is Brandy McAdams, Cody's estranged wife. Mancuso says their 5-year-old child was also there in the field, and she is unharmed. He says two investigations are ongoing.

“Basically we, the Sheriff’s Office, are conducting the investigation on the murder of the female victim, and the State Police is investigating the officer-involved shooting,” Mancuso said.

 
 
 

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The recreational red snapper season in Gulf federal waters will only last 9 days this year, from June 1 through June 9. US Representative Garret Graves of Baton Rouge says is not happy about NOAA Fisheries’ announcement. But Graves says Louisiana’s control of red snapper fishing has been extended nine miles off the coast, which gives fishermen more opportunity to fish red snapper.

“That’s a longer season. As I recall, I believe they’re doing it 66 days this year,” Graves said.

Graves says the shorter fishing season is probably because the federal government has done an inferior job of calculating how many red snapper are actually in the Gulf.

“They don’t count fish around reef structures like our oil and gas platforms, our rigs. Unfortunately the red snapper is a reef fish, so that is its actual habitat,” Graves said.

Graves says he doesn’t want to rely on bureaucrats in Washington to tell us when and where we can fish. He says when he was a kid, you could go fishing with parents and grandparents year-round.

“Three hundred sixty five days when we were growing up, just to as short as nine days this year in federal waters,” Graves said.

Anglers this year will be limited to two red snapper per person a day, provided they are at least 16 inches.

 
 
 

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A Louisiana mother, who moved to Colorado so her daughter can receive medical marijuana to treat her epilepsy, tells her story to state legislators. Lawmakers are conflicted over how many different illnesses should be allowed to use medical marijuana once it becomes available in Louisiana.

Michele Hall of Vernon Parish says her daughter, Ella, is doing much better since starting her cannabis medication. She says when her daughter takes the marijuana-derived medication, she is by no means “high.”
 
“If I gave what I give her to a junkie, they would be very pissed off,” Hall said.

Hall says the medical marijuana works better for Ella than any other medication they have tried in the past four years. She pleaded with lawmakers to approve the legislation so she can bring her children home.

“I’m begging you to please pass this law, so we can come home to my family,” Hall said.

Hall told the House Health and Welfare Committee that the medication is not a drug that gets her child high. She says it’s just a medication that actually works. Hall says there are other families from Louisiana that use the same dispensary, Hailey’s Hope, in Colorado.

“I want to come home to my family. I shouldn’t have to live in another state, and I’m not the only parent. I asked them how many other families are from Louisiana, and she said, ‘I know we have a dozen just using Hailey’s Hope,’” Hall said.


 
 
 

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A bill to require cursive to be taught in public elementary schools passes through the full Senate. Bossier City Sen. Ryan Gatti spoke in favor of the legislation and says many historic documents were written in cursive. He says our children need to be able to read and write in script, not just from their iPads or iPhones.

“Because cursive is the way we connect great ideas to paper.”

Gatti says Abraham Lincoln didn’t use his iPad or Siri, he took out his quill pen and wrote the Gettysburg Address on a train.

“If they would’ve had a typewriter and a computer and a quill pen, they would’ve chose a quill pen.”

Gatti says men and women chose to write the Articles of Confederate, the Constitution and the Louisiana Purchase in cursive not print or any other method.

“1215, June 15th 1215, the Magna Carta written in, Wikipedia says cursive.”

 
 
 

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The 2016 NFL Draft begins Thursday in Chicago at 7 P.M. on ESPN and NFL Network. The New Orleans Saints are expected to draft defensive players early and often as the team finished 31st in total yards given up in the NFL.
 
When asked about his team's draftboard based on the depth of certain positions on this draft class, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis says it varies.
 
"Right now we probably have more defensive players on our board than offensive and yet the strength of the draft is going to be determined two and three years from now when we look back as opposed to today, just looking at the numbers on the board. Look, it's going to be a different viewpoint for every team."
 
In addition to defensive help, the Saints are also looking at options on the other side of the ball. Loomis says the team has looked into this quarterback class similarly to previous drafts.
 
"I think we look into the quarterbacks every year. We have for the last few years. We've got to have an eye toward the future and yet we're happy with our quarterback situation as well so I think that it is just part of the process every year."

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Latest campaign finance numbers show Republican Senate candidates Charles Boustany and John Fleming each have around $2 million in their campaign war chest. GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy has about $700,000. UL-Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says the November 1st primary is about six months away, and the numbers reflect an expensive race.

“It looks like it’s going to be a very heavily spent race. There’s going to be lots of money around. If the people who don’t have money don’t start raising it soon, they’re going to be left out,” Cross said.

Other republican candidates include Rob Maness, who has $213,000 on hand, while former Congressman Joseph Cao reported raising zero dollars during the first quarter. Democrats Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell each have about $250,000 as of March 31st. Cross expects Democrats will continue to lag behind the Republican favorites.

“It’s going to be very difficult for these Democrats to compete with the Republicans statewide,” Cross said.

Cross says the candidate who is in the best position for fundraising is Boustany, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and that gives him better connections.

“He will have a better success raising money from PACS, political action committees, and from leadership PACS in the House. Se he has a source of money that the other candidates don’t,” Cross said.

 
 
 

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The FBI is reopening the case of a 2-year-old that went missing in Clinton 15 years ago. Avery Davidson is a former WAFB reporter who covered Wesley Morgan’s disappearance in 2001. Davidson says the child was playing on the front porch when his mother went inside and came back outside to find the little boy was gone.

He says there was a huge search after his disappearance.

“Sheriff Talmadge Bunch, there in East Feliciana Parish, believed little Wesley Dale Morgan was alive. He also believed, the mother, Ruby Renee Havard, knew where he was.”

Davidson spoke with Sheriff Bunch a few years ago and Bunch still believes the mother had something to do with the boy’s disappearance even though nothing ever turned up during the investigation. He says there must be a reason the FBI has reopened the case and released an age progression picture of Wesley Morgan.

“There must be some kind of information they have to possibility bring this case to a close and find out what happened to little Wesley Dale.”

The FBI is offering up to a $10,000 reward for information that leads to Morgan’s location. Davidson says everyone is eager to find out what happened to Wesley Dale Morgan.

“It was just so emotional and without any kind of ending. Not a sad ending, not a happy ending, just a cliffhanger that we’ve been on for the last 15 years.”

 
 
 

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A bill to extend the waiting period for getting an abortion to 72 hours has been approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Sancha Smith, the State Director for Concerned Women for America, spoke in favor of the measure and sharing her experience getting an abortion at 16-years-old.

“Had I been given enough time, I may have opted to reach out to a family member or share my heart with someone, and maybe someone could have come alongside and helped me make a better decision,” Smith said.

Smith says women need more time to consider all of their options, before making this decision.

“Twenty-four hours is not enough time to make a thoughtful judgement, a thoughtful consideration, to ending a life,” Smith said.

Angela Adkins with the Louisiana Organization for Women opposes the bill. She shared stories of women who died or suffered complications from illegal abortions and attempts to self-abort, because of restrictions to abortions.

“Restricting abortion access, like this bill does by raising wait times, only makes abortion unsafe, and women more desperate,” Adkins said.

Amy Irvin of the New Orleans Abortion Fund also spoke in opposition. She says although the waiting period is currently 24 hours, women can take as much time as they need after the consultation before having the procedure.

“They can take 48, 72, four days, five days, a week. No one is rushing them back to the clinic,” Irvin said.

The House-approved measure passed on a five to two vote and heads to the Senate floor.

 
 
 

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A bill that would require movie theaters to use metal detectors was shot down in a House committee today. Prairieville Rep. Tony Bacala says this legislation creates a false sense of security. He says if someone wants to shoot up a movie theater, the first person to be killed is the 18-year-old minimum wage worker manning the metal detector.

“He’s not a security officer, he’s not an armed guard. The security features that you went through, the people who are manning those are men with guns who are trained to be law enforcement officers and trained to react.”

Author of the legislation, Shreveport Rep. Barbara Norton, says this bill is about protecting the lives of our loved ones. She was upset that many of her colleagues voted against the measure.

“Thank you members and thank you Mr. Bacala for not saving our children.”

The vote was 6-5 against the legislation. Bacala says the people who would work the metal detectors are not trained law enforcement officers and probably would work the concession stand the day before.

“I think it’s a false sense of security you’re putting. Just simply having a piece of mechanical device there doesn’t do anything.”

 
 
 

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A horrifying display of animal abuse is breaking hearts across the state. A small dog was brutally beaten and thrown into a fire in New Orleans’ City Park. That’s according to Jeff Dorson, Executive Director of the Louisiana Humane Society, who says this is one of the most tragic cases of abuse he’s ever seen. He says the dog was beaten around the head, the muzzle and the jaw.

“The jaw was split. It was broken. It had previously been broken and healed, so it tells us a horrible story that this dog had probably been subject to a number of beatings, and then finally tossed into the pit,” Dorson said.

The unnamed dog is being affectionately referred to as the City Park Dog. Dorson says they are still trying to find the people responsible for this gruesome crime, because they are clearly dangerous.

“People who commit heinous crimes against animals usually will do the same against people. It’s just a matter of time,” Dorson said.

Dorson says the Humane Society is asking people to be vigilant for signs of animal abuse. He says the society has issued the first ever city-wide animal abuse alert in the hopes of bringing those responsible to justice. Until then, he’s asking the public to keep the memory of the City Park Dog in their hearts.

“Go out of their way to do something extra nice for animals in memory of this wonderful dog that suffered so much during its short life,” Dorson said.

 
 
 

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An Amite man has been arrested following a fatal hit and run on highway 443 near Hammond early Tuesday morning. State Police Trooper Dustin Dwight says 32-year old Brandon Fowler hit 30-year-old bicyclist Anand Asi of Hammond with his truck.

“Mr. Fowler was travelling southbound and struck a Cannondale Quick CX bicycle, as it was also travelling southbound. He hit it in the rear and then fled the scene,” Dwight said.

Dwight says there were witnesses of the incident, but initially troopers did not have much information to go on. He says through the help of witnesses, other agencies, and local media, they were able to locate Fowler on Tuesday afternoon

“We worked with our detectives and other agencies to make an arrest in this case very quickly, and it also helped that the local news media did a great job in covering the story,” Dwight said.

Asi was reportedly wearing an approved helmet and had both front and rear lamps on his bike. Dwight says Fowler’s Chevy pick-up damage has damage on the passenger side as the head light is busted out.

“Once the investigation is complete, we’re going to forward our findings to the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney’s office to consult with them on any additional charges. Right now he’s been booked with felony hit and run and illegal passing of a bicycle,” Dwight said.

Troopers are reminding motorists that passing vehicles are required to allow at least three feet when passing a bicycle travelling in the same direction.

 
 
 

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This year’s National Health Security Preparedness Index finds Louisiana is the least prepared state to respond to a major health emergency. The state scores 5.6 out of 10 on the index. Bob Johannessen with the Department of Health and Hospitals says the survey is somewhat misleading. But he says some aspects used to determine this ranking are true.

“Our medical infrastructure throughout the state is just not as robust as found in other states. We have very good health care systems in our larger communities but access to care is still an issue.”

The national average on the index is 6.7. Johannessen says emergency preparedness in the state has greatly improved since Hurricane Katrina. He says different measures were asked to determine preparedness, like if Louisiana uses an electronic surveillance system to monitor diseases and reported and the answer was yes.

“Another one looks at do we have the ability to rapidly communicate with laboratories throughout the state in case of an emergency so we can fully coordinate and the answer is yes.”

Johannessen says this report does show that we have access to care issues and there are more areas than not in Louisiana that have health care shortages. He also says the report penalizes Louisiana for using state agencies to man emergency shelters when other states can hire private contractors.

“Based on the resources that are available, other states that maybe have more resources can do it differently. We’re going to get the same outcome but we’re relying on state employees to do that type of work.”

 
 
 

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State legislators are dealing with the repercussions of a Supreme Court ruling that says juveniles cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny’s would ensure that underage criminals with life sentences would become eligible for parole after 35 years behind bars. But Nathan Allbritton of Natchitoches Parish doesn’t think they should ever get parole. His wife and son were murdered by a 15-year-old, and he spoke in opposition to the bill.

“I’d like for you to think about my 11-year-old child and the horror that he went through before he died. Seeing his mother being blown apart. Seeing this cold-blooded killer who happened to be 15 come in his room and blow him apart,” Allbritton said.

Allbritton says if dangerous criminals are released from jail, other people will get hurt. He says it’s important that these juveniles realize that actions have consequences, because it’s not a game.

“Those people were just not targets at an arcade. They were real people, people who had dreams and their whole lives in front of em,” Allbritton said.

Allbritton’s niece, Andrea Pickett, also testified against the bill. She says not all of these cases are kids making bad judgement calls.

“This was not a situation where a young man made a bad decision. This was intentional. He knew before he put his foot on the porch that he was going to kill someone,” Pickett said.

Martiny’s bill also mandates that the juvenile maintain a good behavioral record and participate in educational programs to qualify. He says the purpose of the bill is not to get criminals out of jail, but lawmakers have to do something because of the court ruling.

“The Supreme Court has dictated to us that we have to do something, and if we do nothing, then they’re either going to tell us what we’ve got to do, or we’re going to spend a whole ton of money trying to figure out what the right remedy is,” Martiny said.

 
 
 

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A Senate committee has approved legislation dealing with police body cameras and what footage should be exempted from Louisiana’s public record laws. Author of the bill, Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns, says there needs to be some privacy safeguards but,

“The law enforcement community fully embraces the use of body cameras. We see the value to not only law enforcement also the value to the public to have real transparency.”

New Orleans Senator J.P Morrell says it causes a lot of financial strain on police departments to save these body cam videos for three years, which is currently required by law. He says this is a very complicated scenario.

“I think it’s important for the public to know that there are challenges with body cameras that people don’t really comprehend.”

 
 
 

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A pro-voucher group, the Louisiana Federation for Children, releases an ad today that features parents accusing Governor John Bel Edwards of breaking campaign promises by cutting the Louisiana Scholarship Program. LFC President Ann Duplessis says fewer children will receive vouchers to attend private or parochial schools based on the governor’s proposed budget.

“This is about families and parents. It’s their voices. It’s not LFC’s voice. It’s about their children and their children’s future,” Duplessis said.

Duplessis says the governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year cuts the program’s budget by 14%. She says currently 7,100 students receive vouchers, but not all of them will get one next year, if the governor has his way.

“If that funding is cut, that means over a thousand families’ children will not be placed this upcoming school year,” Duplessis said.

The governor has responded by saying the LFC’s accusations are blatantly false. John Bel Edwards also says that every student who is currently receiving a scholarship will continue to get one. Duplessis maintains that a cut to the state’s voucher program will not save the state any money.

“It is not going to be a cost savings. It is only going to be very detrimental to those families who are now impacted,” Duplessis said.

 
 
 

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Michelle Southern reporting.
One of the largest employers in central Louisiana announces mass layoffs are coming. Houston-based Union Tank Car Company (UTLX) said it expects to lay off about 224 employees beginning June 24th at its Alexandria facility. Jim Clinton is the CEO of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.



He says they've known for some time that this cutback was coming.

"Because they serve a market that, in the long haul, is always affected by oil and related commodities."

Clinton says the manufacturing company announced it would cut its production in half due to market conditions and poor demand outlook for railroad tank cars to plants.

He says UTLX is a strong company that shouldn't have a problem adding staff once the economy rebounds.

"We expect that as the price of oil normalizes, which it always ultimately does, that they will be back at a full workforce again," said Clinton.

UTLX said they will continue to employ about 350 people. The Louisiana Workforce Commission says it will conduct orientation sessions for affected employees next week. Clinton says they hate to see anyone in their region out of work.

"Local and regional agencies will be working with UTLX and its employees to try to find them as many good jobs as possible," said Clinton.
 
 
 

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A 17-year-old is under arrest after making threats online involving the Alexandria Senior High School prom. Rapides Parish Lt. Tommy Carnline says investigators believed an incident could take place at the prom and discovered a fake internet social media account. Carline says evidence found led them to arrest Adrian Ray of Alexandria at his home.

“Evidence that we got from the internet and from the home implicated the subject in the crimes of which he was arrested, which was terrorizing, stalking, and obstruction of justice.”

The prom was held on Saturday night. Carnline says Ray is currently being held in the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a $21,000 bond. He says anytime they have threats of this kind, they take them very seriously.

“They were basically veiled threats but they eluded to the fact that something was going to happen at the prom. The Ray subject is a senior at the Alexandria Senior High School.”

Authorities believe Ray is the only person involved with the threats. Carnline says Ray is charged with Terrorizing, Stalking, and Obstruction of Justice.

“It is still an ongoing investigation but there is enough evidence there for us to charge him with those charges.”

(photo courtesy of Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office
 
 

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