As I write this, I hope you and your family are well, as we enter this Spring season of graduations and outdoor events. Congratulations to the Class of 2024!   You have overcome the Covid year disruption and the resulting changes in the world that we are all still digesting and adjusting.   I look forward every year to the many invites from and pictures of our amazing young people in their prom outfits, and graduation colors, caps,  and gowns.


We also are keeping  an eye of the goings on in Baton Rouge as the Louisiana Legislature makes important decisions regarding this area’s representation on the Louisiana Supreme Court and in Congress.    One important decision the Legislature has recently made is in effect now, for crimes committed on or after April 19, 2024, that 17-year-olds are now considered adults in all criminal cases, and thus will be prosecuted solely in adult criminal court and housed solely in adult jails and prisons.


Our district attorney’s office was busy in April.  Here are some highlights:


* A Shreveport man was found guilty April 11 in Caddo District Court of sex crimes committed against a minor child over the course of several years.


The 10-woman, two-man jury in District Judge John D. Mosely Jr.’s court deliberated more then three hours before returning a responsive verdict of guilty of third-degree rape against Rory Chevalier Pipkin, 35.


From January 2017 through early June 2019, Pipkin lived with his girlfriend and her minor daughter in an apartment in Shreveport. Pipkin would be left alone to watch the minor child when the girlfriend would go to work, during which intervals Pipkin forced the child into sex acts. During a summer vacation away from Pipkin, the child told her grandmother what was happening to her.  Shreveport police investigated the case and the child was examined at the Gingerbread House and the CARA Center, leading to Pipkin’s arrest.


Jurors heard from the victim, her grandmother, experts in the field of child abuse pediatrics and forensic examination, the gingerbread house examiner and the case detective.


When Pipkin returns to court May 14, he faces up to 25 years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. He also must register as a sex offender for life upon his release from prison.  However, the defendant is subject to enhanced penalties as a habitual offender, which prosecutors plan to pursue.


Assistant District Attorneys Courtney N. Ray and Kendra Joseph prosecuted for the state. Pipkin was defended by Casey Simpson, Harry Johnson and Hilary Hileman.


The case was docket No. 386967.


* A Shreveport man found guilty of domestic violence crimes in April must serve almost 15 years in prison, a Caddo District Court judge has ordered.


Darnell Caldwell, 37, was sentenced to 13 years at hard labor April 30 by ad hoc District Judge John Robinson for domestic abuse battery with a dangerous weapon and causing serious bodily injury. Judge Robinson decided Caldwell’s guilt in a bench trial April 17. Judge Robinson also ordered Caldwell to 18 months in prison on each of two instances of domestic abuse battery with child endangerment. The sentences involving the children are to be served concurrent with each other but consecutive to the bodily injury sentence.


On December 15, 2021, Caldwell  threw an aerosol can through a car window, striking his victim, a woman with whom he had a five-year relationship and shared three children. The woman suffered a broken nose, a broken eye socket and a broken sinus cavity. Two of their children, a 4-year-old girl and a newborn baby girl, were inside the vehicle when Caldwell threw the can.


Judge Robinson noted that Caldwell had attacked the victim during an incident three months earlier. He also noted the victim’s children had witnessed the attack, and he spoke to how witnessing such acts can damage children’s mental well-being..


Caldwell was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Britney A. Green and Ron Christopher Stamps of the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit. He was defended by Royal Alexander and David Knadler.


The case was docket No. 386768.


* A Shreveport man facing trial for several domestic violence crimes pleaded guilty April 22 in Caddo District Court.


Christopher Dewon Kemp, 36, had been charged with fourth-offense domestic abuse battery and domestic abuse child endangerment. He pleaded guilty as charged to fourth-offense domestic abuse battery and was sentenced by District Judge Ramona Emanuel to 10 years at hard labor with the first three years to be served without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.


On October 15, 2022, Kemp pushed the victim, his girlfriend at the time, down to the ground, and while she was on the ground he kicked her in the face, causing a laceration and swelling. The attack occurred in the presence of a minor child aged 13 or younger. Shreveport Police officers were called to the scene where they then arrested him. Kemp had three prior convictions for Domestic Abuse Battery, two in Shreveport City Court and one in Caddo Parish District Court, providing the basis for the fourth-offense conviction.


Kemp was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Fernando Grider. He was defended by Royal Alexander and Dave Knadler.


The case was docket No. 391947.


* A Shreveport man convicted in March of shooting and critically injuring a casual acquaintance five years ago must serve 40 years in prison, a Caddo district judge has ordered.


District Judge John D. Mosely Jr. sentenced Stevie Norris Henderson, 46, to 20 years for each count on which he was found guilty, attempted second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The terms are to be served consecutively, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.


On February 21, 2019, the victim heard a knock at his door and saw Henderson, who he previously met through a mutual friend. Henderson asked to use the phone and when the victim turned around and reached down to pick up his phone, he was shot in the head by Henderson, who fled after taking an undisclosed amount of money from the victim s pockets.


Henderson was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Kendra Joseph and Courtney Ray. He was defended by Sean Landry.


The case was docket No.  365097.


* A Shreveport man charged with beating a female acquaintance to death over an argument regarding a gun was found guilty in Caddo District Court April 24.


Carlos Demond Ary, 34, was found guilty as charged of second-degree murder by the 11-woman, one-man jury in District Judge Donald E. Hathaway Jr.’s court, after deliberations lasting approximately one hour.


Witness and expert testimony and evidence proved that Ary beat Wendy Akins on the third floor of the Knights Inn hotel in the 4900 block of Monkhouse Drive on September 25, 2021. Ary, who would sometimes share a room at the hotel with Ms. Akins, accused her of stealing his firearm. An argument ensued, with Ary going to the parking lot and arming himself with a metal pipe. Returning to the room, the argument resumed, and when Ms. Akins threatened to have Ary removed from the hotel, he beat her in the head with the pipe. The victim was transported to Ochsner LSU Health hospital where on Oct. 1, 2021, she succumbed to her injuries.


When Ary returns to Judge Hathaway’s court May 9, he faces a mandatory life sentence without possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.


Assistant District Attorneys Jason Waltman and Christopher Bowman prosecuted Ary. Katie Ferguson and Evan McMichael defended him.


The case was docket No. 385451.


* A Sabine Parish man was found guilty of murdering a romantic rival and using a gun he was prohibited from possessing, in court action April 25.


Joshua Cornell Palmer, a 36-year-old Many resident, was found guilty as charged of second-degree murder by a seven-woman, five-man jury in District Judge Ramona Emanuel’s court after deliberations lasting just under a half-hour. He also was judged guilty as charged of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


Witness testimony, as well as Facebook and text messages, cell phone GPS and surveillance footage demonstrated that Palmer shot and killed Dominique Roland, 32, in the 5000 block of Westwood Park Drive early May 31, 2021, after Roland left the apartment of Palmer’s ex-girlfriend. Palmer got the firearm used in the slaying from his ex-girlfriend prior to Roland’s arrival and texted the woman to let her know he had the weapon. Once Palmer saw Roland enter the apartment, he began sending threatening messages to his ex-girlfriend counting down the time Roland had to leave the apartment. Once Roland left the apartment Palmer approached him and walked with him down the street, shooting him three times, once in the face and twice in the chest. Surveillance footage from local motels in the area showed Palmer prior to the shooting, running immediately after the shooting, and a few hours later in a motel lobby wearing similar clothing.


When Palmer returns to Judge Emanuel’s court May 9 for sentencing, he faces a mandatory life sentence for the murder conviction and from five to 20 years in prison without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


Palmer was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Brittany Arvie and Senae Hall. He was defended by Royal Alexander and Dave Knadler.


The case was docket No. 385761.


* A Texas woman who shot and critically wounded a man who got into a fight with her former boyfriend was found guilty April 25 in Caddo District Court.


Jessica Leigh Griffith, 37, had originally been charged with aggravated second-degree battery, but the six-woman jury in District Judge Donald E. Hathaway Jr.’s court took just over an hour to return a responsively guilty verdict of aggravated battery.


Through evidence and testimony, the jury determined that on February 12, 2021, Griffith shot James Cole Giles in the parking lot of the Raymond James building in downtown Shreveport.  Prior to the shooting, a fight occurred between Giles and Griffith’s then-boyfriend. The  ex-boyfriend pointed Griffith’s firearm at Giles, causing Giles to knock it away and the fight ensued.  Griffith then retrieved the firearm and fired a single shot that penetrated Giles’s abdomen, lodging in his spine and causing the loss of a kidney and his spleen,  severing his spine resulting in permanent paralysis.


When Griffith returns to court for sentencing June 27, she faces up to 10 years in prison with or without hard labor and a fine of up to $5,000.


Griffith was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Cheyenne Wilson and Jason Waltman. She was defended by Mark Rogers.


The case was docket No. 381608.


* The Caddo Parish Grand Jury returned six indictments in its session ending April 24.


Three indictments charged Shreveporters with separate murders committed earlier this year. A separate indictment charged one of those individuals with six separate felonies in connection with one of those murders. Two other Shreveporters were charged with first-degree rapes.


Donald Dewayne White II, 30, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in connection with the January 14 shooting deaths of Jasmine Johnson, 29, and Joan Johnson, 70, and the attempted second-degree murder that same day of a third individual. A second indictment charged White with domestic abuse battery of a pregnant victim, domestic abuse battery with a dangerous weapon, domestic abuse aggravated assault, two counts of domestic abuse aggravated assault with child endangerment aggravated criminal damage to property.


Shagail Raysell Marie Wynn, 26, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the February 12 stabbing death of Aaron Paris, 37.


Rictaveon Oneal Perry, 20, was charged with the January 14 shooting death of Hortencia Demming, 26.


Tyler Isaiah Ford Sr., 27, and Noah Xavier Matthews, 25, were charged with first-degree rapes. Ford was booked into Caddo Correctional Center March 29. Matthews was booked into CCC January 24. Due to the nature of the charges against them, the indictments were issued under seal, with no further information available.


Our juvenile section continues their important work in dealing juveniles that have found themselves in trouble.  The number of school threats have increased and we continue to prosecute those fully.  At the same time, I am happy to report, the juvenile judges are requiring a mental health evaluation of any child arrested for the offense.  Many times the threat made by a child – even if explained by the child as a “joke” – is a mask for other deeper issues going on with the child that needs to be addressed.      We also continue our actions begun under my administrated to directly inform every week the juvenile court probation supervisor and the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice of any arrests of their probationers and parolees, so those violators may be reported and prosecuted.


In other news, we welcomed  a new Assistant District Attorney, Stephen Folk-Cruthirds, a native of Ruston, who is prosecuting in the courtroom of Judge Don Hathaway, Jr.  And we say goodbye to one of our longtime Victim Assistance Coordinators Lesley Lacy, who is retiring from our office and headed to new adventures as an International Flight Attendant!   To you we say thank you for your years of service to this community, and safe travels and lots of fun as you see the world.


At your service,


Hon. James E. Stewart, Sr

Caddo Parish District Attorney .