Happy early Mardi Gras season! The year 2024 started off in a big and not unexpected way, with lots of rain and cold, some of it icy, but thankfully nowhere near as bad as the “snowmageddon” of two years ago.
Our courts suffered several closure days, but are now back on track, with jury trials, convictions, pleadings and sentencings that have gotten this year off to a good start in our justice system.  Of particular note:
Patrick Delony, convicted January 9 of being a felon in possession of a firearm, was sentenced in Caddo District Court January 24 to serve a decade in prison at hard labor.
District Judge Donald Hathaway Jr. imposed the term following a sentencing hearing on Belcher resident Delony, 38. Delony had been apprehended August 31, 2022, after Caddo Sheriff’s deputies responded to a fight in-progress call at a business on North Market Street in Shreveport. Delony attempted to flee the scene in his truck, but was stopped by deputies, who found three firearms in his possession. Delony has a June 2022 controlled dangerous substances conviction on his record and cannot own or possess a firearm under Louisiana law.
Assistant District Attorneys Christopher Bowman and Briana Spivey prosecuted Delony. He was defended by Walter Gerhardt.
The case was docket No. 391104.
A Bossier Parish man was convicted January 24 of assault and possessing a dangerous weapon while being a felon convicted of domestic abuse.
Jermaine Owens, also known as Jermaine Allen, 40, of Princeton, was convicted by the five-man, seven-woman jury in District Judge Ramona Emanuel’s court after deliberations that lasted about 90 minutes. The jury returned a guilty as-charged verdict on a charge of being in possession of a dangerous weapon, a Taurus 9mm handgun, when he had a previous conviction of domestic abuse battery. The jury heard testimony from the victim, responding officers and a fingerprint expert. The jury returned a responsive verdict of guilty for simple assault. The charges stemmed from an incident April 4, 2023 on Chalmette Drive, when Owens violently pushed to the ground a female family member and threatened her while brandishing the firearm.
When Owens returns to Judge Emanuel’s court for sentencing March 18, he faces up to 90 days in jail for simple assault, but for the concealed weapon charge he faces a prison term of at least one year and up to 20 years without benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence.
Owens was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Fernando Grider and Brittany Arvie. He was defended by Evan McMichael. The case was docket No. 394735.
A Shreveport man who led police on a high-speed chase through Shreveport in late 2022 was found guilty in Caddo District Court of aggravated flight from officers January 23.
James D. Young, 38, was convicted by the four-man, eight-woman jury in District Judge Michael Pitman’s court after deliberations lasting 30 minutes.
Young was arrested September 13, 2022, after a Shreveport Police officer attempted to stop his vehicle for failing to signal for a turn. When the officer turned on his lights and siren, Young accelerated, leading the officer through a residential neighborhood. Young exceeded the posted speed limit by more than 25 MPH, speeding  at more than 66 MPH, running stop signs, crossing into opposing traffic lanes and finally leaving the road, crashing into a residential yard. He then fled on foot but then was captured by officers.
When Young returns for sentencing at a date not yet set, he faces a prison term of up to 10 years at hard labor as a habitual offender.
Young was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Hilary Hileman and Sam Crichton. He was defended by Dave Knadler and Stephen Folk-Cruthirds.
The case was docket No. 391313.
* A Shreveport man who led law officers on a chase from Bossier City to Shreveport and then crashed his car, killing a teenaged girl in May 2022, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and aggravated flight.
Willie Lawrence Player Jr., 24, entered the plea in District Judge Michael Pitman’s court just before the jury was to have been called in January 22.
The pleading was in connection with events of May 21, 2022, when Bossier City police attempted to pull over Player’s Chevy Tahoe for speeding, improper plates and expired tags. Player fled, leading police, including state troopers, into Shreveport, Bossier Parish and back into Shreveport in a pursuit that lasted 25 minutes. Player eventually crashed the Tahoe into a brick retaining wall, causing the vehicle to flip several times. He then fled on foot. One of the passengers in his vehicle, a 13-year-old girl, was trapped under the overturned SUV and was deceased at the scene.
Judge Pitman immediately sentenced Player to the maximum five years in prison for the negligent homicide conviction and to five years in prison at hard labor for the aggravated flight from officers plea, the terms to be served consecutively. The plea and sentences were approved by the victim’s family.
Assistant District Attorneys Victoria Washington and Sam Crichton prosecuted the case, docket No. 389291. Player was defended by Michael Enright.
* A Shreveport man convicted last year of forcing sex acts on an unconscious female relative was sentenced to serve almost 70 years in prison by a Caddo Parish judge.
On January 18, District Judge Chris Victory sentenced Erick Lamond Williams, 47, who was convicted August 23 of the April 24, 2022 attack on the inebriated adult victim.
Williams was charged with third-degree rape, crime against nature, simple escape and resisting an officer with force or violence. He was sentenced to 45 years for the rape, 10 years for the crime against nature, eight years for escape and five years for resisting. The hard-labor terms will be served consecutively, totaling 68 years. Williams was sentenced as a habitual offender and must register as a sex offender for life. His victim and her family were present for the sentencing and were pleased with the outcome.
As Williams committed the criminal acts, a resident in the apartment captured the sex acts in photos and video. After his arrest, Williams fled from police custody and while resisting, broke an arm of one of the police officers involved.
Williams was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Sam Crichton and Victoria Washington. He was defended by Michael Enright and Stephen Folk-Cruthirds.
The case was docket No. 388775.
* A Shreveport man who beat and partially blinded his former girlfriend, broke into her apartment and abandoned his five-year-old son, pleaded guilty to an assortment of domestic violence-related charges January 10, the day before his trial was to have commenced.
Anthony Wayne Bryant, 30, pleaded guilty to home invasion, domestic abuse with serious bodily injury and domestic abuse child endangerment before District Judge Donald E. Hathaway Jr., who will sentence him March 6.
Bryant faces imprisonment of at least one year and up to 30 years on the home invasion conviction. For domestic abuse child endangerment Bryant faces up to three years in prison at hard labor. He faces up to eight years at hard labor for domestic abuse with serious bodily injury. Prior to Bryant’s plea, the Caddo District Attorney’s office retained the right to file a Habitual Offender Bill to enhance any sentence imposed by Judge Hathaway.
In January 2022, Bryant’s victim ended their relationship and asked him to move out. In March and April of 2022, Bryant repeatedly tried to reconcile with the victim despite being told over and over that she was not interested in him.
On May 7, 2022, Bryant snuck into the victim’s apartment with his child from another woman. Bryant shoved the victim, who ran next door and asked her neighbor to call police. Bryant fled, leaving his 5-year-old son behind in his victim’s apartment. Police arrived and took custody of the child. Bryant later returned to the apartment, kicked in the door and repeatedly hit his former girlfriend in the face. After she fell to the floor, he began to stomp her. As a result of the attack, the victim suffered a fractured orbital bone, which eventually resulted in blindness in her right eye.  She also suffered a serious leg injury.
Assistant District Attorneys Jason Waltman and Christopher Bowman prosecuted Bryant. He was defended by Elizabeth Gibson.
The case was docket No. 389011.
* A Bossier City man who exposed himself in a Shreveport public park last May pleaded guilty January 9, a day before a jury was to be selected for his trial.
Richard Collom, 68, had been set for trial January 8, but was placed behind another felony trial and rescheduled for January 10. However, Collom returned to court January 9 to plead guilty-as-charged rather than face trial.
On May 4, 2023, the defendant exposed his genitalia and masturbated in a public park on Stoner Avenue.  His lewd conduct was witnessed by a woman who notified the Shreveport Police Department.
Following the pleading, District Judge Donald Hathaway Jr. ordered a presentence investigation.  Sentencing will be March 11. As a first offender, Collom faces a sentence of at least six months up to three years in prison.
Assistant District Attorneys Christopher Bowman and Briana Spivey prosecuted the case. Edward Mouton defended Collom.
The case was docket No. 395389.
Finally, the Caddo Parish Grand Jury returned five true bills in its session that ended January 24. Two charged area men with homicides in October 2023, and three charged men with sexual assaults and related crimes.
* Jimmy Tillman II, 40, of Shreveport, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the October 19, 2023 slaying of Kevin King. King, 43, was found shot in the head inside his Milton Street residence. The case is docket No. 398387.
* Dewayne Wilkinson, 20, also of Shreveport, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the October 3, 2023 slaying of Laroyce Brown, 26, who was found shot numerous times inside a residence on Anna Street. The case is docket No. 397956.
The remaining three indictments charged two Shreveport men and one Texan with sexual assaults.
* Corey Hall, 44, of Shreveport, was charged with first-degree rape, as was fellow Shreveporter Dewayne Jackson, 59. Hall was booked into Caddo Correctional Center October 17, 2023 in connection with this crime. Jackson was booked into CCC October 19, 2023, in connection with his crime.
* Dawson Jetton, 24, of Lubbock, Texas, was indicted on a charge of first-degree rape, as well as unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. He was booked into CCC November 3, 2023.
Due to the nature of the crimes with which these three men are charged, their indictments are sealed, with no further information available.
Our juvenile court section remained busy as the three juvenile judges announced a switch to — and all other parties affiliated with the court adjusted to – a schedule system where each judge, rather than dividing up subject matter duties, heard all major subject matters of juvenile court.   We have made staff adjustments and the juvenile public defender office chief assured us this morning that they are adequately staffed to handle the spread of cases throughout the three courtrooms, so cases should proceed as scheduled for you, the public and for law enforcement.
I do ask that parents be vigilant on what is in your house and in your child’s backpack, as well as what is in your child’s hiding places, such as closets, drawers and under beds.  Your vigilance can keep your child out of major trouble with guns.   And parents of our young ladies, and young teens, please know where your daughters are at all times and who they are with.  I have seen too many cases recently of 12-year-old girls pregnant by teenage boys.  And parents of teen boys, please know where your sons are as well, and inform your sons that sex with girls over two years younger than them is legally rape, even if the girl is “dating” your son or gives what you consider as consent.
Our juvenile section also reports — and I am happy to inform you — several success cases recently where students have gone from extreme truancy to A-B Honor Roll.  I want to publicly thank our principals and schools, and the juvenile court probation staff, for their hard work in working with our office to help reduce truancy numbers in our parish and affecting positively the lives of children and their families.
Please have a fun and safe Mardi Gras season!  And remember under “Louisiana law,” if you get the baby, you bring the next King Cake!
At your service,
James E. Stewart
Caddo Parish District Attorney