May was an exciting month for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, with not only prosecutions, but also with recognitions for work done by the office and numerous opportunities to perform good works for the community.
I am proud to have received from the Louisiana State Police, their Superintendent’s Award, the highest honor that can be afforded to a civilian, for outstanding performance and achievement for 42 years of service to the citizens of Caddo Parish. The award was presented May 23 in Baton Rouge. You can read more about it, at https://www.facebook.com/CaddoDA
Our May 31, our pre-trial diversion department, established under my District Attorney administration to offer non violent defendants with no prior criminal history a chance to address their charges out of court through a program of counseling, rehabilitation, community service, and restitution to the victim , received another award. They received the Good Champion Award from Goodwill Industries of Louisiana at their annual banquet, recognized for placing more people into their Life Launch Program, a free program that provides job placement, occupational training, financial literacy, support assistance, and high school equivalency opportunity, than any other Goodwill jurisdiction.
We also took part in Paint Your Heart Out Shreveport, an annual endeavor from the City of Shreveport’s Community Development Department in which teams spread out across the city and perform repairs and of course, painted homes of citizens who cannot afford such work or for whom it is beyond their ability to perform for themselves.
This has been done for 30 years, and to date more than 1,700 houses have received a complete exterior face-lift.
I really was impressed with the determination and passion that our team, TEAMDA, showed on the targeted Saturday, May 13. Our mostly female team went well beyond the minimum in order that the finished product would be something homeowner Linda Guilbeau and her family would be proud of. We had a wonderful time, painting, gardening, bonding and beautifying her home. Most importantly, Mrs. Guilbeau was pleased with the outcome and according to her, those who have known her for years keep stopping by saying how awesome her house looks.
Readers are invited to visit the DA’s Facebook page to see the team at work. This year, TEAMDA consisted of Ivy Woodard, Britney Arvie, Mrs. Guilbeau, Senae Hall, Malaysia Coleman, Leone Fitzgerald, Kim Sharp, LaShana Harris, Cheyenne Wilson, Michael Anderson, Kodie Smith and Stephanie Mosley. The TEAMDA efforts are at https://www.facebook.com/CaddoDA/posts/pfbid0uhQVWN1CUCPYTaw1FZwfVizwxikXj6quabxjGHAEFpU6kbAF4x4xHFxi9BDjADTtl
Our Caddo Parish Juvenile Court witnessed a bittersweet moment May 11. That was the day Juvenile Court Chief Judge David Matlock held his last official Court hearing, as he has retired after spending almost 30 years looking our for the best interests of our community and the youth of Caddo Parish. I have known Judge Matlock for many decades as we were C.E. Byrd High School classmates, and wish him and his family well in retirement. I look forward to the next chapter in his journey and hope that he , and fellow retired Juvenile Judge Paul Young will continue to use their voices to help guide the community and concerned government leaders as to the needs of the court and the juveniles and families in crisis it serves.
Not so coincidentally with the retirement of a judge who devoted his professional life to the interests of youth, May is National Foster Care Month and thus the right time to acknowledge the 463,000 American children and youth in foster care. A solid home structure and a loving family is a foundation of being a good citizen and avoiding entering into the criminal legal system. This is possible through conscientious family members, foster parents, volunteers, mentors, child welfare professionals such as Judge Matlock and policymakers. Ideally, youths find permanent homes and make connections that last a lifetime.
Still, many children in foster care face an uphill battle achieving their full potential. According to the White House, these challenges are magnified for children of color, who are disproportionately represented: One in nine black children and one in seven Native American children spend part or all of their childhood in foster care. Foster parents are sorely needed in Louisiana . If you are interested in becoming a foster parent please contact www.dcfs.louisiana.gov
Just a few days later, May 18, our office witnessed a milestone seven years in the making, the grand opening of The Harbor. I was proud and pleased to have spoken at the opening of a long dreamed-of one-stop shop for all family services, from truancy to school uniform needs, from mental health counseling to domestic violence counseling, for children and families in need in Northwest Louisiana. The Harbor is a joint effort of Volunteers for Youth Justice, the Caddo Parish DA’s office, Caddo Parish Public Schools, the City of Shreveport and the Shreveport Police Department, among others. Come see us at 3004 Knight Street Building 6.
Being known as a tough taskmaster, I knew that our office has been performing exceedingly well. The Supreme Court of Louisiana confirmed my suspicions in its most recent report on the performance of the state’s Judicial Districts. Caddo Parish and its First Judicial District are a state leader in criminal jury trials, the data covering the years 2020 to 2022 shows.
Caddo is second only to Jefferson Parish but ahead of Orleans and East Baton Rouge parishes in jury trials the last three years. Caddo led the state in jury trials per 10,000 population, with 4.71 trials per capita. Yet the other parishes are substantially ahead of Caddo in terms of both population and the number of judges handling criminal cases.
Caddo Parish, with a population of just under 238,000, conducted 112 jury trials from 2020 to 2022, with only five criminal court judges. Jefferson Parish, the 24th Judicial District, with a population of just under 441,000, conducted 136 jury trials in that period, with 16 criminal court judges. East Baton Rouge Parish, the 19th Judicial District, with a population of just under 457,000 people, conducted 47 jury trials with nine criminal court judges. Orleans Parish, with just under 384,000 people, conducted 86 jury trials with 14 criminal court judges.
In adjacent judicial districts, the numbers show:
• In the 26th Judicial District, comprising Bossier and Webster parishes, there were 22 criminal jury trials in the 2020 to 2022 period, with a served population of 165,713.
• In the 39th Judicial District, Red River Parish, with a population of 7,620, there was one criminal jury trial.
• In the 42nd Judicial District, DeSoto Parish, with a population of 26,812, there were 13 criminal jury trials.
The reports can be viewed at https://www.lasc.org/press_room/annual_reports/reports/2022_Annual_Report.pdf and https://www.lasc.org/press_room/annual_reports/reports/2022_Guide_to_Louisiana_Courts.pdf.
My prosecutors, staff, our Caddo judges, court staff , law enforcement officers, and you citizens who serve on juries are to be applauded for making the criminal justice system work in Caddo Parish.
The Caddo Parish Grand Jury charged one man with a murder, a teen with manslaughter and four other men and one woman with sex crimes in its session that ended May 17.
The three sex crime indictments were issued under seal due to the nature of the crimes.
In the public indictments, Brandon Wayne Lindsey, 33, is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the beating death of Heaven Weed in early March. Weed, 23, died March 10, after she was taken to Ochsner LSU Health hospital by family members who found her battered and unresponsive in her apartment after an apparent altercation with Lindsey.
Another indictment, originally issued as a secret indictment, charged Jace Greenslate, 16, with manslaughter in connection with the February 18 shooting death of Kip Lewis. Lewis, 17, Greenslate and other friends from Texas had gathered in front of Magnolia School of Excellence on Clyde Fant Parkway to watch the Krewe of Gemini parade.
Teens can be tried as adults under provisions of Louisiana Children’s Code Article 305, which allows a District Attorney to have jurisdiction of certain juvenile offenders age 15 or older transferred to District Court.
In the sealed indictments, Shawn Emeliano Betters, 31, of Shreveport, was charged with first-degree rape. Betters was arrested February 4. Devin Devanti Akins, 30, of Shreveport, jailed since January 25; Demarcus Antonio June, 44, of Shreveport, and Tyniceshia McCullough, 42, of Shreveport, both jailed since January 27, were all charged with first-degree rape. Damion Lamont Neal, 49, arrested February 3, was charged with indecent behavior with juveniles. He is listed in official records as a resident of both Shreveport and McKinney, Texas. Again, due to the nature of the charges, no further information is available on these cases.
Here are some May prosecutions of note successfully pursued by our office:
* A Frierson man accused of knifing a romantic rival in 2020 was found guilty of second-degree murder in Caddo District Court May 23.
The six-man, six-woman jury in District Judge Donald E. Hathaway Jr.’s court took 30 minutes to unanimously convict Cortney Fitzgerald Taylor, 37, in the September 7, 2020 slaying of Derrick Taylor, no relation.
When Cortney Taylor entered the Marion Street apartment of a former girlfriend, he found her asleep with the 46-year-old victim, and knifed the latter in the heart as he slept.
The knife punctured the right ventricle of Derrick Taylor’s heart and he bled to death. Although the sleeping former girlfriend did not see the assailant, surveillance video captured him entering and leaving the apartment. Cortney Taylor also made a phone call from jail to the woman in which he implicated himself in the murder by repeatedly stating that she could not testify against him because she was asleep at the time of the attack.
Cortney Taylor fled the murder scene and when U.S. Marshals attempted to arrest him in December 2020, he shot at the officers and evaded capture. However, he was arrested a short time later in Bossier City without incident.
When Cortney Taylor returns to Judge Hathaway’s court June 22, 2023, he faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.
Cortney Taylor was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jason Waltman and Kendra Joseph. He was defended by Elizabeth Gibson and Carter Lawrence.
* A Shreveport man accused of raping a teen-aged girl in 2006, but believed responsible for six additional underage rapes dating back to 1992, pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court May 23. Monte Broadway, 46, admitted the sexual attacks against his 16-year-old 2006 victim, who did not report the attacks until 2020. She, her family and his other victims, located by the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office, looked on as Broadway pleaded guilty.
Jury selection was underway when Broadway decided on his guilty plea.
Broadway will return to District Judge Ramona Emanuel’s court June 8 for sentencing. The sentencing range based on the 2006 forcible rape statute under which Broadway was charged is between five and 40 years, but the sentencing cap in this case was set at 30 years.
Broadway was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Brittany Arvie and Kodie K. Smith. He was defended by Royal Alexander and Evan McMichael.
* A Shreveport man who claimed self-defense to justify a slaying two years ago was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury in Caddo District Court May 12.
Emmanuel Dewayne Johnson, 31, was convicted of shooting Patrick Lynn Goines, 32, on July 21, 2021 at a gas station in the 2800 block of Hilry Huckaby III Drive in north Shreveport. The nine-woman, three-man jury in District Judge Chris Victory’s court deliberated for approximately 50 minutes before returning its unanimous guilty-as-charged determination. The penalty for the crime is mandatory life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
On the date of the slaying, Johnson left the gas station convenience store and opened the passenger door of Goines’ vehicle. He then reentered the store and fidgeted with a firearm in his right pocket. After making a purchase, he exited the station and returned to the vehicle, again opening the passenger door. Goines then left the vehicle with an extended magazine firearm, at which point Johnson immediately opened fire, his bullets striking Goines three times in the head and chest. While running past the fallen Goines, Johnson fired one last time, the bullet piercing Goines’ heart.
Despite Johnson’s claim of self-defense, Goines never discharged his firearm, which was always pointed at the ground. Johnson fled with another passenger in Goines’ vehicle but later surrendered to police. The murder weapon also was turned in to police.
Johnson was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sam Crichton and Christopher Bowman. He was defended by Michael Enright and Dave Knadler.
* A Shreveport man faces decades in prison following his convictions on numerous drug and gun charges in Caddo District Court May 9.
Robert Green, 36, was found guilty of three felony drug charges by the five-man, seven-woman jury in District Judge Erin Leigh Waddell Garrett’s courtroom. The same jury found Green responsively guilty of two lesser felony attempt charges. Deliberations lasted three hours.
The charges Green was found guilty of were possession with intent to distribute the Schedule II controlled dangerous substance methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute the Schedule II controlled dangerous substance cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute the Schedule I controlled dangerous substance marijuana.
For the first conviction, he faces one to 20 years’ imprisonment at hard labor and a fine of up to $50,000 when he returns to Judge Garrett’s court at a future date. For each of the other two convictions he faces one to 10 years in prison with or without hard labor and a fine of up to $50,000.
The responsively guilty determinations were for attempted possession of a firearm or carrying of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon, a Smith and Wesson handgun, and illegal carrying of weapons while in possession of controlled dangerous substances, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.
For the attempted possession of a weapon by a convicted felon he faces up to 10 years at hard labor, without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence and a fine of up to $2,500. For the attempted possession of weapons while in possession of controlled dangerous substances he faces up to five years at hard labor, without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence and a fine of up to $5,000.
On December 9, 2021, Caddo Parish deputies surveilling a dwelling in the 4200 block of Joe Louis Street following Crimestoppers tips observed a Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by a man later identified as Robert Green, pull up. Green left the Tahoe with a multi-colored backpack. Green and a passenger, later identified as Tremaine Foster, walked to the back of the house, coming out front about 10 minutes later with Green wearing the backpack. He put the backpack in the Tahoe and then drove off, which observing deputies radioed to other agents.
Later, deputies conducted a traffic stop on the Tahoe in the 3200 block of Fulton after observing the vehicle speeding and failing to use turn signals. Agents smelled marijuana and conducted a probable-cause search of the vehicle and backpack, during which cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine were found, along with packaging material and digital scales. Agents also recovered a Smith and Wesson handgun.
Green was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Ross Owen, Erica Jefferson and Michael Anderson. He was defended by Lauren Anderson.
* A Keithville man known as “the Watermelon Man” was convicted of aggravated battery May 26 in Caddo District Court.
The two-man, four-woman jury in District Judge Katherine Dorroh’s courtroom deliberated just over an hour before returning its unanimous verdict against Timothy Ray Morrison, 61, in connection with a July 2022 beating that left his victim with a severe head injury and significant hearing loss.
On July 28, 2022, Morrison, a local produce seller, argued with his victim, a potential client, in the 3000 block of Devaughn Street in the Werner Park neighborhood. The victim was struck in the head with a metal table leg, and suffered a three-inch laceration to his head that required stitches and staples. He also lost 60 percent of his hearing.
When Morrison returns to face Judge Dorroh July 18, he faces up to 10 years in prison with or without hard labor and a fine of up to $5,000.
He was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Kendra Joseph and Jason Waltman. He was defended by Carl Henry Franklin.
We are entering into the hot days of summer, with Father’s Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day and Labor Day offering opportunities to spend time with family and friends in parks, at area lakes swimming pools, and at barbecues. Stay safe, use sober drivers in automobiles and boats, if in water please use life preserver jackets on yourselves and especially on your children, and be mindful of others as we work together to make our community a better place to live and work.
At your service as always,
Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr., retired judge.