As the school year begins this Tuesday August 2, I want to wish our partners the Caddo Parish Schools, all principals, teachers, coaches, and staff, Volunteers for Youth Justice, parents, and students a great school year. I want to advise drivers to be aware of and slow down in school zones, and I advise you all that speeding in school zone tickets will be prosecuted and are never reduced in my administration as your District Attorney.
Appropriately, July began with a search for truant parents. Our office announced that the custodial parents of four Caddo Parish public school students were being sought for failing to appear in juvenile court to answer for the actions of their truant children. Juvenile Judge Natalie Howell issued bench warrants for the parents July 6 when they failed to appear for a Contempt of Court hearing before her.
On July 11, a man facing trial in Caddo District Court for vehicular homicide and first degree negligent injuring pleaded guilty unconditionally just as proceedings were about to begin. Jaiden Augustus Seth Kephart, 22, of Shreveport, pleaded guilty to causing an accident that killed the front-seat passenger, his girlfriend, and seriously injured his roommate, the back-seat passenger, early September 13, 2018, at 1600 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop at Millicent Way, in front of Pizza Hut.
His guilty plea leaves his sentencing on September 28entirely at the discretion of Caddo District Judge Donald Hathaway Jr. Kephart faces up to 30 years imprisonment for vehicular homicide of the female passenger and up to five years in prison for the first-degree negligent injuring of the male passenger.
Kephart was driving his girlfriend and his male roommate to work in a borrowed Toyota Camry, and had turned right onto Bert Kouns from the intersection at Millicent Way. He drove toward Pizza Hut and had entered the middle turn lane from the inside eastbound lane. Kephart attempted a left turn into the Pizza Hut parking lot; however, he turned into the path of an oncoming Ford F550 that was pulling a trailer. The impact of the collision on the passenger side of the Camry killed Kephart’s girlfriend and seriously injured the male back seat passenger.
Kephart’s blood, drawn for forensic testing, contained the active ingredients of two controlled dangerous substances, marijuana and alprazolam, as well as cocaine metabolites. Kephart, who suffered no lasting injuries, admitted to medical personnel that he would test “dirty,” and also took a selfie in the hospital bed with the notation “took 8 bars and wreck my girl.”
During the guilty plea, prosecutors introduced the toxicology report, the death certificate of the female victim and the defendant’s selfie into evidence.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jason Waltman and Courtney Ray.
Also earlier in the month, a Shreveport man who terrorized a local hospital one year ago pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court and was sentenced to the maximum prison term allowed by law, 15 years at hard labor. Johnathan Watson, 34, pleaded guilty to the charge before District Judge Donald Hathaway Jr. Friday, July 8, three days before the scheduled start of his trial, July 11.
Watson also pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and received a 15-year hard-labor prison term, to be served concurrently.
Watson reported to work on a cleaning crew at Highland Clinic/Highland Hospital in the 1400 block of East Bert Kouns Industrial Loop July 29, 2021. Once inside, he encountered a woman working on another cleaning crew and told her that as many as four men were inside with guns. He was armed, and the woman noticed this. His statements and actions with his gun caused the cleanup crew to call hospital security. Watson briefly interacted with hospital security but fled before Shreveport Police arrived. Due to Watson’s statements and actions, the hospital went to an active-shooter status, restricting access to and from the parking lot during a hospital shift change, and causing a partial evacuation so a search could be conducted. This resulted in serious disruption to Highland Hospital’s ability to provide services.
Watson was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Courtney N. Ray and Jason W. Waltman.
A Shreveport man accused of robbing a gas station cashier at gunpoint on Christmas Eve 2019 was found guilty of first-degree robbery July 13.
The six-man, six-woman jury in District Judge Ramona Emanuel’s court unanimously convicted Jerol Leo Ewell, 24, of the robbery of the Shell Station in the 4700 block of North Market Street. His trial commenced July 11.
Cashier Sadi Awawdah was working at the Shell station at 4749 N. Market St. when a masked man entered around 9:25 p.m., held a gun to his head and demanded money and the victim’s cell phone. After the robber left, Awawdah called police, who tracked his stolen iPhone to a nearby field, where a ski mask was found by a police K9. The mask was analyzed at the North Louisiana Criminalistics Lab and the DNA was found to match Ewell.
When Ewell returns to Judge Emanuel’s court August 17, he faces a sentence of at least three and up to 40 years in prison at hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.
Ewell was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Senae D. Hall and Fernando Grider.
On July 14, District Judge Chris Victory ruled that a Shreveport man convicted in May for a 2020 crossbow slaying in Broadmoor must serve 70 years in prison. Daniel Ralph Haire, 26, was found guilty May 12, for manslaughter in the February 29, 2020 death of Rodney Christopher Nordby, 33. Under habitual-offender guidelines, Haire had faced up to 80 years. He also was sentenced to 15 years, to be served concurrently, for possession of a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon by a convicted felon. Both sentences are to be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
The body of Mr. Nordby, who had suffered a penetrating and fatal wound from a broad-head crossbow arrow, was found wrapped in bed comforters at Milton James “Hookie” Cameron Memorial Park, at the end of Wallace Lake Road in south Caddo Parish. A passerby had found the body and called 911. Investigators canvassed known associates of the victim and upon searching Haire’s residence in the 100 block of Swedes Avenue found bedding that matched the comforters and other evidence linking to the slaying. Haire was arrested following a traffic stop, and a crossbow and a rifle were found in the vehicle he occupied. During a recorded interview, Haire stated he invited the victim to his home and shot him with the crossbow. He also admitted to wrapping the body in a comforter, placing it in a trashcan and, with the assistance of a friend placed it first in a Dumpster on River Bend Road and finally at the lakeside park.
Haire was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Kodie K. Smith and Victoria Washington.
And a Haughton man who confessed to the sexual assault of a child received the maximum sentence for his crime in a hearing July 20, in Caddo District Court.
Oscar Abraham Gonzalez, 21, was sentenced to 40 years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence by District Judge Chris Victory. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to second-degree rape June 27, just before his trial was to start. Gonzalez also must register as a sex offender for life upon his release.
The victim and her family were present in court. Gonzalez was accused of sexually assaulting the then-7-year-old victim on April 27, 2020. The victim’s mother walked in to see the victim pulling her pants up and Gonzalez kneeling in front of the child. Gonzalez admitted he had performed numerous inappropriate acts on her since she was a toddler.
Gonzalez was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Treneisha Hill.
On July 27, a Shreveport man accused of sexual abuse of two tender-age victims almost a decade ago was found guilty in Caddo District Court. The seven-woman, five-man jury in District Judge Chris Victory’s court unanimously found Jeremy Walker, 36, guilty as charged of two counts of first-degree rape. Walker returns to Judge Victory’s court August 8, and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison at hard labor without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.
On or about December 24, 2014 through December 14, 2015, Walker had anal and oral sex with one child, who was 7 at the time, on occasions when he was at the babysitter. The child told his aunt what had happened to him when he was 13. Investigation into the assaults began in late April 2021. During his Gingerbread interview the first victim disclosed that he also had seen the babysitter’s son forced to perform oral sex on Walker. That child disclosed to his mother that Walker had oral and anal sex with him when he was age 5.
Walker was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Kodie K. Smith and Brittany Arvie.
On July 28, a Shreveport man charged with attempted second-degree murder, possession of a weapon and criminal property damage, was convicted on all counts. The nine-man, three-woman jury in District Judge John D. Mosely Jr.’s court deliberated just over 20 minutes to find Davario Cole, 23, also known as “Nucci,” guilty of shooting up his estranged girlfriend’s house and threatening her, her family and others.
In the morning hours of June 16, 2020, the victim’s bedroom was shot multiple times from the street. The victim and her family suspected Cole, who had been sending threatening messages that he would kill the victim’s daughter, who was his estranged girlfriend. Later that morning, Cole returned to the residence brandishing a firearm with an extended magazine and confronted the victim’s brother. The brother and his family were afraid they would be shot and retreated into the residence, at which point Cole made a U-turn and shot at the home at least one more time. Cole had a prior conviction for unauthorized entry of the victim’s home, which prohibited him from being there or owning or possessing a firearm. While incarcerated, Cole sent messages in which he threatened to kill every member of his estranged girlfriend’s family and anyone that got in between them. He also stated on a recorded line that anyone that talked about him also would die.
Cole returns to Judge Mosely’s court August 18, and faces up to 49 years in prison for the attempted second-degree murder, at least five and up to 20 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and one to 15 years for aggravated criminal property damage.
Cole was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sam Crichton and Cheyenne Wilson.
The Caddo Parish Grand Jury continued its work, returning four indictments, all naming Shreveport men, July 19.
Two were returned in connection with recent homicides, and charge the men named with second-degree murder. Two other indictments, issued under seal, were returned in connection with sexual assaults.
Treylin Loren Dillard, 19, was charged with second-degree murder, in connection with the April 17 slaying of Sha’kyra Gray. Ms. Gray, 16, was shot in her right cheek at a residence in the 100 block of East Gregg Street in the Waterside neighborhood in central Shreveport. She later died at Ochsner LSU Health hospital.
Zacorius Dewayne Williams, 21, was charged with second-degree murder, in connection with the March 29 slaying of Kamar Woods. Mr. Woods, 25, was shot while sitting in his car parked at an apartment complex on Pines Road. He was found dead in his car.
Jeffery Lee Terrell II, 31, was charged with aggravated rape. Jonathan Tyrone Cooper, 42, was charged with first-degree rape.
James E. Stewart, Sr.
Caddo Parish District Attorney
Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office | July 2022