News for Tuesday 040919
Compiled by Dave Graichen
9th Judicial District Judge Greg Beard yesterday granted a motion to recuse the Parish DA from prosecuting the first-degree murder case of Kayla Jean Giles, based on the DA's representation of the victim's father in a 1990 civil case. Giles is accused of shooting and killing her estranged husband, Thomas Coutee Jr., in the Coliseum Boulevard Walmart parking lot in September of last year. Back in 1990, Terrell represented Thomas Coutee Sr. in his separation from his wife, Cathy Coutee. The two were the parents of Thomas Coutee Jr. The Prosecution of the case now should fall to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.
The RPSO responded to a call of a possible gunshot victim in front of Buckeye Junior High in Deville yesterday afternoon. The RPSO and the State Police responded to find the school on lock down. Detectives report contact was made with individuals in the area, but no one could confirm the caller’s allegations of a shooting. After checking with local hospitals, no gunshot victims were reported. Detectives said their investigation is still ongoing.
Governor John Bel Edwards laid out his legislative agenda to lawmakers on the first day of the 2019 legislative session. Edwards spoke for nearly 40 minutes during a joint session of the House and Senate and said his top priority is to give teachers a one-thousand dollar increase in pay. Edwards is also seeking a 500-dollar increase in pay for school support workers and he wants to see more money put into the classroom, increasing the public school education budget for just the second time in the last 10 years.
Back to the legislative session, lawmakers will need to set up the rules for Louisiana residents to participate in online fantasy sports betting. Voters in 47 of the 64 parishes have voted to allow fantasy sports betting in their parish, but River Ridge Representative Kirk Talbot says the legislation that needs approval must include geo fencing, so that players can’t play fantasy online sports in parishes that voted against it. In Cenla, Rapides, Natchitoches, Concordia and Evangeline parish voters voted to allow sports betting, while Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Vernon and Winn voted against it.
It’s been a dozen years since the last term limit purge in the legislature, and now dozens of lawmakers are taking part in what will likely be their last legislative session, as the class of 2007 is set to hit their 12 year limit. Winnfield Senator Gerald Long was a member of that 2007 class, and says the law was well intentioned, but is having unexpected consequences, that being the loss of institutional knowledge. Since the law passed in 1995, every dozen years the Capitol sees a huge wave of turnover, and Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau says this will be the last year for many of the Legislature’s most influential members.
There was no holding back for Congressman Clay Higgins as he released a video message aimed at those responsible for the recent fires that destroyed three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish. The FBI has recently announced they are joining in on the investigation. Higgins says the punishment will be severe. Higgins filmed the video just steps away from the charred remains of the St. Mary Baptist Church.
The state revenue department says they are collecting more revenue from internet sales tax collections as more remote sellers are voluntarily complying. From October to December, the state received one-point-four million dollars in online sales tax collections, double from the previous quarter.
Two pieces of legislation have been filed aimed at reducing the number of billboards in the state. The sentiment of reducing billboards is backed by Louisiana’s trucking industry because truckers feel demonized by the content of accident lawyers’ roadside ads. Jonesboro Rep. Jack McFarland says the goal of his House resolution isn’t aimed at any particular industry that uses the advertisements. McFarland says the ratio of billboards to roads in Louisiana is too far out of balance.
A Houma man is facing one count of second-degree murder and several other charges for allegedly setting fire to a person’s vehicle and the blaze spread to the victim’s home and upstairs unit of a two-story garage. State Fire Marshal spokesperson Ashley Rodrigue says 37-year-old David Mason has been booked for the March 31st incident.
The Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy has broken ground on a $14.2 million expansion in Shreveport. Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says the company works in the next generation of radiopharmaceutical treatment for diseases like cancer. The expansion will add 25 new, highly skilled jobs to the area.
A report from the ACLU of Louisiana lays out a blueprint for cutting the state’s prison population by 50 percent. One of the recommendations is changing the multiple offender statute that substantially ramps up penalties for offenders who’ve committed the same crime previously. President Alanah Hebert says multiple offender statues can result in decades of prison time for people accused of low level crimes. Another fix would be eliminating the ability for judges to sentence someone to life without parole. Hebert says Louisiana is one of two states where the mandatory sentence for second degree murder is life without parole.
Virginia was the big winner last night over Texas Tech in the NCAA Championship game. The final 85 to 77.
LSU starting shortstop Josh Smith has been named SEC Player of the Week. Smith was six for 12 at the plate in a series victory over Texas A-and-M. The Baton Rouge product hit a home run in game one of the series to snap a one-one tie in the 8th inning. For the week, Smith hit three home runs and drove in six runs. LSU is at Southern tonight and then they’ll visit Missouri this weekend.
Louisiana Tech baseball is on a roll. The Bulldogs have won seven straight Conference USA games after sweeping U-T-S-A. Tech will visit the Ragin Cajuns tonight and then next weekend, they have a big series against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. The Owls are 11-and-1 in league play.
ULM also had the brooms out this week as the Warhawks swept Georgia State. ULM has a midweek game against Northwestern State. The game has been moved from today to Wednesday, because of the heavy rain that fell over the weekend.
Saints free agent nose tackle Tyeler Davison is reportedly visiting the Atlanta Falcons. Davison started 12 games for the Black and Gold last season and had a couple of sacks and a forced fumble.
The Pelicans conclude the regular season tonight night as they host Golden State. New Orleans hurt its chances at getting a top five pick in the June draft with a win Sunday night over Sacramento.
On The Air…..
Pelicans vs Golden State 6:30p 94.7 ESPN
LSU Baseball vs Southern 5:30p KSYL 970AM / 104.9FM