Local and Area News

Man executed for killing 3 members of Texas family Posted on 4-17-14

A man convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, her young son and her mother 13 years ago at a Corpus Christi home has been executed by Texas prison authorities.

Jose Villegas was lethally injected Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty.

The 39-year-old was pronounced dead at 7:04 p.m. CDT, 11 minutes after being given a lethal dose of pentobarbital.

He was put to death for fatally stabbing Erida Salazar, her 3-year-old son Jacob and her 51-year-old mother Alma Perez in January 2001.

He became the seventh Texas inmate executed this year, and the third put to death with a new stock of pentobarbital from a provider corrections officials won't identify.

Texas is the nation's most active death penalty state.

Accused McAllister video leaker resigns Posted on 4-17-14

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The woman accused of leaking a video of Vance McAllister kissing a congressional aide has resigned.

Leah Gordon had been the congressman's Monroe District Office manager and was one of three people with access to Vance McAllister's security video in his Monroe office.

Last week, we reported that a local pastor had accused Gordon of leaking the video.

Also, the owner of the building that houses McAllister's office and his employee denied involvement.

McAllister's chief of staff, Adam terry, says that Gordon resigned yesterday. Terry also said that the House Employment Counsel and an independent firm are conducting an investigation into the video leak.

Terry said, "when this investigation started, we had no intention of taking any employee disciplinary action until we gathered all of the facts.  Clearly, all of the facts are yet to surface and we will not comment further."

McAllister is planning to return to Washington D.C. after the Easter recess.

There's no word on whether he will seek reelection.

"Turning around" Alexandria Middle Magnet Posted on 4-17-14

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Rapides Parish school district officials are working on a plan to turn around one failing school. 

Alexandria Middle Magnet School received a failing grade from the state.  

Now Superintendent Tony Authement has put together a plan that he hopes will help the school perform better. He explained the plan at a school board meeting Tuesday night. 

Some teachers from the school attended to hear about the plan and voice their concerns.  

Part of the plan calls for hiring a new principal who will also have the option of making personnel changes at the school. Authement says those teachers who are not retained by the new principal will still have a job with the district.

 "Any teacher who is performing adequately, satisfactorily, and they're certified, then they are going to be retained in a teaching position in this district," Authement said. "It may not be at AMMS, but we'll be placing them somewhere in the district."

Leona Venson with the Rapides Federation of Teachers gave this statement:

"That is based on the evaluation process that is now in place. Every district has that policy. That's what is going to determine their job. One key part, the superintendent has all authority to change staff. I admire the fact that the teachers at that school came to voice their concerns. Whenever you have dialogue, I think you can be more successful at change. Hopefully, they will be turned around."

Two arrested on attempted murder charges in DeQuincy Posted on 4-16-14


Two DeQuincy residents are facing attempted murder charges in connection with a weekend shooting, authorities said.

DeQuincy Police Detective Tom Threet said a 15-year-old juvenile and Damonte Davon Gillespie, 17, are in custody and more arrests are possible.

Threet said authorities were contacted by DeQuincy Memorial Hospital early Sunday morning.

"We responded to a report of a gunshot victim," Threet said. "In the process of investigating the shooting, we have arrested Mr. Gillespie and the 15-year-old, who is believed to be the shooter."

The victim was treated and released from DeQuincy Memorial, Threet said.

The juvenile is facing charges of attempted second-degree murder, armed robbery, burglary, possession of a firearm in a gun-free zone, drug possession, criminal conspiracy and introducing contraband into a penal institution. No bond was set.

Gillespie is facing charges of attempted second-degree murder, armed robbery, theft over $500 and criminal conspiracy. His bond was set at $305,000.

Threet said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information on the shooting should contact DeQuincy Police at 337-786-4000.

Speed trap labeling bill dies in the La. House Posted on 4-16-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana won't have any officially labeled "speed traps."

Rep. Steve Pylant's effort to brand tiny towns that get more than half their annual income from speeding tickets with the moniker has failed to get the backing of the state House.

Even after a list of changes, Pylant could only get 47 votes for the bill Tuesday, six votes short of what was needed for passage.

The issue had become a contentious one for House members.

Pylant, a former Franklin Parish sheriff, said more than a dozen towns in Louisiana were using excessive enforcement of speed limits to drum up cash. He said law enforcement should be about public safety, not generating revenue.

Opponents argued that people should obey the speed limit and the towns shouldn't be penalized for law enforcement.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Former LSU player shot, in serious condition Posted on 4-14-14

SULPHUR, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- A former LSU linebacker is in serious condition after police say he was shot by another former player last night in Sulphur.

Sulphur Police say 36-year-old, Brandon Winey, is charged with attempted second degree murder after shooting 24-year-old, Tahj Jones, at an apartment complex.

Police say Jones went to the apartment complex to visit a female friend. Shortly after, Winey showed up and the two started arguing. That's when police say Winey shot Jones in the abdomen.

Police say Winey fled the scene and was arrested shortly after.

Jones was transferred to Alexandria from Lake Charles late last night.

Many Woman Killed In Sabine Parish Crash Posted on 4-14-14

SABINE PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5)--A Sunday afternoon crash in Sabine Parish involving a pedestrian has left one woman dead.

State troopers say the crash happened around 1:40 p.m. Allison Lynn Alford was driving westbound on Highway 474 when her Toyota SUV hit Shelli Bozeman, who was walking near the edge of the roadway.

Bozeman was pronounced dead at the scene. Alford was not injured.

The crash is under investigation.


Phillip B. McHenry, 37, of Powhatan, was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center on April 10, 2014, for dogfighting, aggravated cruelty to animals, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of juveniles.

The arrest is a result of an ongoing investigation that stems from a raid conducted by Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with deputies from DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, at an organized dogfighting event near Hicks Lane off of Hwy 175 on March 22, 2014.  More arrests are pending.

Deputies seized five vehicles, a quantity of cash, and two dogs in the raid.

The penalty for dogfighting is a fine of $1,000 to $25,000 or imprisonment with or without hard labor for not less than one year nor more than ten years, or both.  Aggravated cruelty to animals is punishable by a fine of $5,000 to $25,000 or imprisonment with or without hard labor not less than one year nor more than ten years, or both.  In addition, an offender shall be ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and subsequently recommended psychological treatment and be banned from owning or keeping animals for a period of time deemed appropriate by the court.  Any costs associated with evaluation or treatment shall be the responsibility of the defendant.  The penalty for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile is a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment with or without hard labor for not more than two years, or both.

McAllister backs off on FBI probe Posted on 4-10-14

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - In an emailed statement, officials in Congressman Vance McAllister's office have announced the lawmaker will not pursue an FBI investigation at this time regarding the distribution of a video filmed in leased federal office space. 

The short statement adds, Congressman McAllister is focused on earning back the trust of those he has disappointed, and he reiterates his request for privacy for his family during this difficult period.

Earlier this week the Congressman asked for forgiveness from his wife, family and constituents after a video was leaked showing McAllister kissing a woman other than his wife.

That woman is a former McAllister staffer. In the days after, focus has centered on who was responsible for the leak and what charges that individual could face as a result. A Monroe pastor has accused McAllister's office manager as being the person who leaked the video to the Ouachita Citizen Newspaper.

KNOE 8 News is working on the latest developments in this story and will have more this afternoon and evening here at KNOE.COM and on KNOE 8 News. To read and see all of our previous stories you'll find links to our complete coverage on our homepage.

DNA link leads to Baton Rouge man's arrest in 2008 slaying Posted on 4-10-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Armed with new DNA evidence obtained from a previously untested 6-year-old beer can, Baton Rouge police cold-case detectives arrested a man in the April 2008 shooting death of 55-year-old Willie Mitchell.

Cpl. Don Coppola tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1hrJ00m ) Theodis Guillory was booked into Parish Prison on one count of second-degree murder.

Police did not have to look far to find Guillory.

He was already in Parish Prison awaiting trial for a June 2011 attempted second-degree murder - a case in which he was accused of beating a 51-year-old man with a board, stabbing him, shooting him twice, then setting him on fire.

It was unclear whether Guillory has an attorney in the new case. 

UPDATE: McAllister to request for investigation Posted on 4-9-14

MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - UPDATE: Fifth District Congressman Vance McAllister will formally request for an investigation Wednesday into who leaked a video of him kissing a woman on surveillance video.

Chief of Staff Adam Terry confirms that McAllister will reach out to the Justice Department and to the FBI to formally request an investigation.

KNOE 8 News was first to report that the FBI could be involved in the case, after KNOE 8 News talked with Bob Noel, a Monroe lawyer who said that the video could have violated wiretapping laws.

KNOE 8 News reached out to the FBI's New Orleans office earlier on Tuesday and was told that no investigation had begun.

Also, a local pastor is speaking out, not in favor of McAllister's actions, but in favor of doing things the "right way."

Danny Chance confirmed with KNOE 8 News that he believes that Leah Gordon, the local District 5 Office Manager, is the one who leaked a video of Vance McAllister kissing Melissa Peacock.

"I know who had a zip drive of that surveillance video, and that's all I have to testify of. Her name is Leah Gordon. She's the manager of the Monroe office, " Chance said in a phone interview with KNOE 8 News.

Chance, who pastors Christian Life Church in Monroe, said that Gordon was a member of Christian Life Church several years ago. When asked why she was not a member or attending the church currently, he responded, "You'll have to ask her that."

Chance wouldn't elaborate why or how he knew Gordon had a zip drive with the video, but reiterated that she did have the video.

When asked about whether or not he knew if Gordon actually took the video with a cell phone Chance said, "I don't know who filmed it. I wasn't there. I know she had a zip drive of and showed it to people."

Earlier reports about Chance's accusations, suggested that State Senator Mike Walsworth may have seen the video before it's release yesterday.

"I have never accused Mike Walsworth of seeing that. I've never said that," Chance said.

He went on, "I do know that Leah planned to take that video to Sen. Mike Walsworth. I have had a conversation with Mike. He and I ironed out our differences.

When asked if he believed anyone else may have seen the video before its release he was unsure.

In our conversation with Chance, he reiterated, "I want to be very careful.  I don't want people to think that I am condoning sin or wrongdoing.  I just believe in doing things the right way.  If you are going to accuse somebody, then go out and say 'it was me.'"

2 Rapides deputies arrested, fired after alleged sexual misconduct Posted on 4-8-14

Two Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputies were arrested and then fired Thursday after alleged sexual misconduct and bringing contraband into the jail, while two other unidentified deputies were fired, according to a release.

Deputies John William Benjamin, 56, and Donald Emeche Weston, 51, were charged after an investigation into a complaint made by an inmate.

Benjamin was charged with malfeasance in office-sexual conduct prohibited and introducing contraband into a correctional institution. Weston was charged with malfeasance in office-sexual conduct.

The other two deputies were fired for violating the office's policy and procedure in the case, although details were not included. The names of those deputies were not released "due to it being an Internal Affairs investigation," according to the release.

Both Benjamin and Weston were assigned to the corrections division. Benjamin had been employed since 2008; Weston, since 2013.

“We hold our employees to a very high standard and we will not tolerate this type of behavior," said Sheriff William Earl Hilton. "When a deputy decides to abuse the responsibility and authority that comes with being a Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, they will be dismissed for their actions and in this case arrested. The majority of our deputies take this job and the trust the public has placed on them very seriously and act accordingly.”

Benjamin was released on a $10,000 bond, and Weston was released on a $5,000 bond.

*UPDATE* 3 year-old missing after falling into creek in Winn Parish Posted on 4-8-14

**UPDATE 4-8-14** The search for the 3 year old boy who fell into a swollen creek in Winn Parish is over.

Winn Parish Sheriff Cranford Jordan told us the toddler's body was found about 10:50 a.m. this morning. 

Boats and dive teams from several parishes in the state also assisted today after suspending an overnight search. The searchers also used a cadaver dog, "Nitro", in the search. 

According to Sheriff Jordan, the search started yesterday morning at the site on Spillway Road.

The boy and his mother were fishing near the culvert when he fell into the water. The swift current swept him into the culvert and under the roadway. 

Missing at risk juveniles in St. Landry Parish Posted on 4-7-14

ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department is asking for the community's help in locating 2 missing juveniles, 12 year old Ariel Blaze Robin and 15 year old Henry Bieber, Jr.

Ariel Robin was last seen on April 6, 2014 running from her residence and getting into a white 2001 Mercury Sable.

This vehicle is believed to be driven by missing juvenile Henry Bieber, Jr.

Both juveniles are believed to be at risk since they both suffer from severe depression.

More information will be released as it becomes available.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ariel and Henry are asked to contact St. Landry Crime Stoppers at (337) 948-TIPS or St. Landry Sheriff's Office at 337-948-6516. 

Fort Hood shooter had Fort Polk ties Posted on 4-7-14

 ST. PETERS, Mo. (KTVI) A St. Peters man is still stunned days after learning his friend and fellow soldier, Ivan Lopez, is being blamed for a deadly shooting at Fort Hood.

On Friday, investigators said Lopez got into an argument with soldiers in his unit hours before the shooting. Also, that his mental condition was not the direct precipitating factor in the attack.

During this attack, Lopez killed three soldiers and injured 16 others before taking his own life.

It's hard for 28 year-old Luke Huelskamp to grasp that this is the same Lopez that was texting him less than 24 hours earlier. Now, he's struggling to come to grips, not only with the fact that his friend is gone, but what he did.

Huelskamp joined the Army in 2009. He and Lopez became friends about two years later, at Fort Polk in Louisiana. Huelskamp says, "That's where we really got close. He slept one bunk over."

While at Fort Polk, and then for four months in Iraq, the two bonded over heavy metal rock music and their sense of humor. That was back in 2011, but their friendship continued.

"I got out January 5th, 2013, but we still talked once a week, at least." explains Huelskamp.

Huelskamp says they texted each other on Tuesday, the last conversation they would ever have. "I told him about my promotion, and we made a couple Army jokes and that's the last I heard of him."

Until the next day, when a friend stationed at Fort Hood called Huelskamp to tell him what Lopez had just done.

"I didn't believe him at first until I looked it up," recalls Huelskamp, "My heart sank. It's like man, that's Lopez up there. You never think anybody could do this.

It's tough to grasp, since the man some call a monster was Huelskamp's friend. He says, "It may never sink in. I called back after the incident, and his phone had already been disconnected."

The shocking news has caused him to reflect on previous conversations, searching for warning signs. He says Lopez seemed angrier within the past few months, after his mother and grandfather died, and he wasn't granted leave immediately.

"He was angry, he was very angry about not getting leave. I guess you never think, until it's someone you know, that you should have taken it serious."

Huelskamp tells FOX 2 that his friend didn't used to be angry like this. Back when they trained at Fort Polk, Lopez was reserved and laid back, even when he got in trouble. He was very angry about not getting leave. I guess you never think, until it's someone you know, that you should have taken it serious."

Huelskamp tells FOX 2 that his friend didn't used to be angry like this. Back when they trained at Fort Polk, Lopez was reserved and laid back, even when he got in trouble.

Police: Alexandria officer arrives at scene, witnesses stabbing Posted on 4-7-14

An Alexandria Police officer arrived at the scene of a disturbance call Sunday afternoon to see a suspect stab a man "three or four Larry Darnell Greentimes," according to a release.

The officer arrived at the scene in the 2900 block of Third Street around 3 p.m. Sunday and saw the suspect, 53-year-old Larry Darnell Green of Alexandria, stab the victim, according to Alexandria Police.

The officer detained Green and retrieved a weapon. The unidentified victim was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, according to the release.

Green was charged with aggravated second-degree battery. An investigation continues, according to the release.







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