Local and Area News

Honda's Behind In Reporting Claims

November 26,2014

Honda failed to report almost 18-hundred serious accidents resulting in injuries or deaths to U-S safety regulators. An audit revealed the company knew about the accidents that took place between 2003 and 2014 but did not report them. Automakers are required to report any death or injury claims to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration on a quarterly basis. Honda blames data entry and computer programming errors for the mistake. Of the underrported incidents, eight were related to Takata airbags. A nationwide recall is being considered because the bags can malfunction and spray pieces of metal at the driver. Injuries and deaths have been reported.

Fisher Christmas Lights

November 26,2014

The Village of Fisher will turn on Our Christmas Lights on November 28th at 6pm. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served to all at the Friday Night turning on of the lights. A Gospel singing will be at The Opera House by the Gospel singing group "The Faithful Giant Killers," just after the lights are turned on.


November 26,2014

The Jasper Police Department is looking for a man and woman who detectives believe are spending fake $100 bills at southeast Texas businesses. The two are also suspected of doing the same thing in Montgomery County. The pair is believed to be traveling in a white Dodge Challenger with black hood stripes and black rectangular design on the sides. A spokesperson for the Jasper Police Department released photos of the suspects, some of the counterfeit bills and the Dodge Challenger. Anyone with information about the man and woman in the photos is asked to contact the Jasper Police Department.

Veterans Honored at Depot

November 24,2014

A large group of veterans and families attended the First Annual "Honor Our Veterans" event, hosted at The Depot, Saturday, November 8,2014. The event was jointly sponsored by the Town of Many, the Cultural District, and chaired by Mary Beth Brocato and the Sabine Historical Society.

Many Main St. Christmas

November 24,2014

The cultural district in Many is proud to announce a new holiday event, Christmas on Main, to be held durning the towns "Twelve Days of Christmas." All Sabine Parish civic organizations, elected officals, churches, artists, craftspeople and interested persons are invited to participate during this special celebration to be held on Main Street in Many on Friday, Dec. 19th from dusk until 8:30 pm.

Explosion on Gulf Platform

November 21,2014

An explosion has occurred on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico, killing one person and injuring three. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Fieldwood Energy reported the explosion on its Echo Platform just before 3pm. Thursday about 12 miles off Louisiana's coast. A telephone call to the Houston, Texas-based company was not immediately returned. The bureau said in a statement that the platform was not in production at the time of the explosion and damage was limited to the area. The statement said there was no indication that any oil had spilled into the ocean. Bureau spokeswoman Chauntra Rideaux said the injured workers were being treated at a medical facility. She did not say where or have their conditions. She stated the explosion is under investigation.

Natchitoches Teacher arrested for Sexual Conduct

November 21,2014

A Natchitoches Central High School substitute teacher has been arrested in connection with an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student. According to Natchitoches police, 27-year-old Nickol Smith is accused of sending nude photos and sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old male student. The investigation leading to Smith's arrest was reportedly prompted by a tip from a concerned citizen, which led to a search warrant for both the teen's and Smith's cell phones. Police say a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest after investigators obtained sufficient evidence.

Singing at Trinity Baptist Church

November 21,2014

The legendary Dixie Echoes Quartet will be in concert at Trinity Baptist Church, 2826 Natchitoches Hwy, Many, Sunday, December 7th at  6:00pm. For over 50 years, the Dixie Echoes Quartet have been delivering the Gospel message in song across Amercia through their spiritually uplifting musical ministry. Trinity Baptist Church invites you to experience an evening of wonderful Gospel Music with this legendary musical group. Fellowship will follow.

Movies in Many

November 20,2014

Many Mayor Ken Freeman announced that Movies in Many will become a reality on Saturday, November 29th at 7pm with a grand opening ceremony followed by the first movie "Man in the Moon." Freeman said the Many Community Center (the old Sabine Theater) will have a special event for the many generous donors of money, labor and materials to make the grand old theater the location for many special events and movies in 2015.

Turn on the Holidays

November 20,2014

The city of Natchitoches will "Turn on the Holidays" on Saturday, November 22. Turn on the Holidays is a Louisiana Main to Main and Natchitoches Tri-Centennial event that marks the beginning of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival season. The event will feature live musical performances, amusements, food, lights and fireworks. Admission is free and open to the public. Turn on the Holidays, the official start to 45 nights of Christmas lights, is an entire day of family entertainment in downtown Natchitoches. Amusement and food vendors will open at 10am with live entertainment beginning at 11am. The entertainment lineup includes performances by the Hallelujah Chorus and Ukulele Band of Glenview Baptist Chuch; Tri-Centennial Birthday Bash complete with magicians, stilt walkers, hula hoopers and more; performances by the Matthew Davidson Band; and headliner performance by Amanda Shaw. The event will also feature a fireworks show over Cane River Lake at 7pm. The downtown riverbank will be closed to vehicular traffic beginning at 6am on Saturday. In preparation for the fireworks show, the Church Street Bridge and Williams Avenue from Whitfield Drive to Henry Avenue will close at 6:30pm to all traffic. The bridge will reopen after the fireworks show has been completed.

Louisiana Black Bears

November 20,2014

A study of the bear subspecies that inspired teddy bears finds that Louisiana black bears are unlikely to disappear in the next century, as long as conditions remain stable. The head of Louisiana's large predator program, says that could lead to the bears' removal from the list of threatened animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering doing that. If it does, Louisiana could set a hunting season, as it did with alligators. Alligators and brown pelicans both recovered after decades on the endangered list.

Mistaken for Deer

On November 8th Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the 400 block of Twin Bridges Road in reference to a medical emergency involving the accidental shooting of a hunter. Deputies arrived along with Acadian Ambulance personnel and located the hunter, John Michael Haynes,37, of Alexandria, as the victim of a gunshot wound. Medical personnel determined Mr. Haynes was deceased on the scene. Detectives and crime scene unit responded to conduct their investigation. From their investigation, it appears that another hunter with Mr. Haynes mistakenly took him for a deer. "This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved" said Sheriff William Earl Hilton. "We want to remind hunters to be extra careful when hunting deer or any game for that matter. You can never call that bullet back."

The Rapides Sheriff's Office encourages and supports the use of HUNTER ORANGE by hunters.

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

The former Natchitoches police officer accused in the homicide of a Sabine Parish man suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome because of his service in Iraq, and his condition contributed to a decision to change his plea, according to his attorney. Robert Barthelemy, of Natchitoches, appeared Wednesday in Sabine District Court for a pretrial hearing and was allowed to change his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity. The difference is significant when it comes to a verdict.

When a jury finds a defendant not guilty it means prosecutors failed to prove all elements of the crime beyond a resonable doubt. A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity means the defendant committed the crime but was incapable of extinguishing right from wrong in regards to the criminal conduct. The new plea is in response to a evaluation of Barthelemy's PTSD condition. "The diagnosis confirms what we believed from the very beginning," defense attorney Richard Goorley said Thursday. District Judge Stephen Beasley signed an order approving the state's request to have Barthelemy independently examined by a mental health expert, District Attorney Don Burkett said. Burkett has said he will seek the death penalty if Barthelemy is convicted in Procell's death. Barthelemy is charges with first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and home invasion in the Aug. 20, 2013 death of Tony Procell.

Stolen Mudpump

Approxamately at 8pm on Saturday October 18th a GASO Duplex Mudpump was stolen off of the Cook lease on Cook RD in Pleasant Hill. Two vehicles and a 2 wheel drive backhoe were spotted leaving the premises. There is a $5000.00 cash reward for any information leading to the where abouts o fthe mudpump. If you have any information please contact Lynn Montgomery at the Sabine Parish Sheriff Department at 318-315-1512.

Veterans Day

The public is invited to attend Veterans Day Services at the D.A.V. Chapter Home located at The West Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park on Hwy 191, at 11:00 am Tuesday, November 11th. There will be a special program honoring the P.O.W/ and M.I.A. Also there will be a Memorial Service held honoring veterans who have passed away during the last six months. The service will be conducted by State DAV Auxiliary Chaplain, LaFern Ward. We honor all the men and women who served in the military and are asking all our local veterans to attend our program and share their experiences while serving in the military. Refreshments will be served after the ceremonies.

House of Hope Benefit

The Gray Ghosts and Noble Sons will be having a benefit for the house of hope on November 15,2014 at the Zwolle Festival Grounds in Zwolle, LA starting at 11:00am until 4:00pm. All proceeds will go to The House of Hope. Donations accepted. There will be a classic car show sponsored by Toledo Cruisers, a live auction at 1:00pm sponsored by the Noble Sons. Food and drinks will be available, and entertainment by DJ Gordy.

Native Heritage

November is Native American Heritage month, come enjoy the skills and craftsmanship that has been passed down from generation to generation. Saturday November 1st at 9:00 AM join us at the 3rd annual Louisiana Native American Art Fest & Wild Game Cookoff. North Toledo Bend State Park for more information, contact Ione Durr at 318-617-0322

Not Guilty

The former Natchitoches police officer accused in the death of a Sabine Parish man wants to change his plea to not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Attorneys representing Robert Barthelemy made the request Thursday in Sabine District Court during a pretrial hearing. District Judge Stephen Beasley took the request under advisement and is expected to rule on Nov. 5th.

That's also the same day when another motion concerning funding for the defense will be discussed. Since Barthelemey, who is charged with the first-degree murder of Tony Procell, of Many,  is faced with the death penalty if convicted, he is being represented by the Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana, CAPOLA officials are complaining state funding shortfalls will hamper their defense efforts.

The trial date of Jan. 19th previously set by Beasley so far is unaffected by the recent pretrial issues. Barthelemy,35, of Natchitoches, is accused of taking Procell at gunpoint from his Many home on the morning of Aug. 20,2013 and driving him to a wooded area in Winn Parish where he was killed. His body was found five days later.

Barthelemy, who was arrested the day after Procell was reported missing, had previously pleaded not guilty. The men knew each other from their service in the Louisiana Army National Guard. A domestic situation involving the two and a woman reportedly was at the center of their dispute.

Gone With A Friend

Singer teen that went missing Tuesday afternoon has been found alive. The Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office claims Schexnider was with a friend and was not abducted. Her family claims she has no memory of the events.

"Dakota was found in Bancroft," said her sister,Bancroft is a small town in western Beauregard Parish near the Texas-Louisiana border. Kristen said a woman who saw posts on Facebook picked Dakota up and brought her home. Schednider was last seen around 2:15 pm Tuesday at Singer High School.

Missing Singer Teen

Authorities are searching for a 15 year old Singer female who was last seen Tuesday afternoon at school. James Anderson, spokesman for state police Troop D, said the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office has asked for assistance with locating Dakota Schexnider.

Schexnider has been discribed as a white female, 5 foot 5, 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants when she went missing from Singer High.

Anderson said there is reason to believe Schexnider may be in Southwest Louisiana or Southeast Texas.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-463-3281 or Sgt. Stacey Pearson of the Louisiana Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children  at 225-925-4192.

Results for Fall Southern Showdown

Results for Fall Southern Showdown final race for the season, Factory Stock 1st Dewayne Rains, 2nd Heath Redden, 3rd Brian Sanders. Modified 1st Cade Dillard, 2nd Doughie Murphrey, 3rd John O Whittington. Limitied Modified 1st Derick Grigsby, 2nd Adam Willis, 3rd John O Whittington. Southern 1st Brock Williams, 2nd Barbi Rains, 3rd Dewayne Rains.

We will reopen for the 2015 season early March 2015!!

Escaped Inmate

 The Sabine Detention Center Warden Joe Dewil said that the inmate who escaped early Monday morning has turned himself in. Authorities had been looking for 31 year old Mack H. Johnson Jr. since 3:30 am. Dewil says Johnson saw an opportunity to bolt and took it, running out the door past a deputy that was on his way out of the jail.

"He was able to get out of his restraints, somehow" says Dewil. Johnson was being held at the detention center, awaiting trial on theft and forgery charges.

Dewil says Johnson had been "contained" in a wooded area in the southern part of town, not far from Alford Heights. DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office used their helicopter to assist in the search. K-9's and Louisiana State Police also assisted the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office. Dewil said the wooded area is extremely thick and difficult to search through.

Johnson turned himself in to authorities around 5:30 Monday evening. Dewil said  Johnson will now be charged with simple escape, battery of a police officer and negligent injury for his actions. One officer was reportedly injured while in pursuit of the escaped in mate.

Photography Class

Northwestern State University's office of Electronic and Continuing Education will present a basic photography class starting Tuesday, October 21st. The course will be on Tuesday evenings from 6 pm until 8 pm through November 11th in room 106 of South Hall the class fee is $45.

The class will teach the skills and techniques of taking great photographs covering camera models, lenses and filters as well as lighting, shooting techniques and post-processing basics. The course will include hands-on shooting and camera work so you must bring a camera to use. This course is designed with dslr camers in mind, but could help those wanting to break into the field of more dynamic cameras and images.

For more information or to register for the class, e-mail bedgoodm@nsula.edu, visit ece.nsula.edu/non-credit/ or call (800) 376-2422 or 318-357-6355.

Found with Friends

Northwestern State University officials have confirmed that a missing student has been found safe.

Laura Larisey, a student from Baton Rouge, was found Wednesday night. She was reported missing by her parents.

"Law enforcement located Larisey in good spirits and in good health, and she was found with friends," Said Jon Caliste, an officer with University police.

Missing NSU Student

University police at Northwestern State University is seeking the public's help in locating a missing student.

Laura Larisey, a student from Baton Rouge, was reported missing by her parents. University police filed a missing persons report for Larisey, who lives on NSU's campus.

Anyone who has seen Larisey or has information about her whereabouts is urged to contact University police chief Doug Prescott at 318-357-5431.

Jindal For President

Boby Jindal may very well be running for president in the 2016 election. He addressed the question in a news conference Thursday. "Supriya and I are certainly thinking and praying on what we'll do next once I'm done being governor," Jindal said. "It's been a great privilege to be governor of this great state. I've still got more than a year left in this term. I'm obviously term limited. If I stay in politics and in elected office, I've made it clear that I would think about it and I would pray about it if I decide to run for president."

Fiery Crash Calims Two Lives

Sunday morning, two people were killed in a single vehicle crash. The driver has been identified and authorities are currently making arrangements to notify the next of kin. The passenger is still unidentified, due to the severity of the injuries and burns. Authorities are working diligently and an update will be released as soon as more information becomes available.

The accident happened around 2:40 am, on W. Hawthorne near US Hwy 171. The crash involved a 2010 Subaru, which was drove by a 21 year old white male of Fort Polk, LA. The car was eastbound on W. Hawthorne when the driver lost control and exited the right side of the road. After leaving the roadway, the car collided with a tree before becoming fully engulfed in flames. Routine toxicology tests are pending. The accident remains under investigation at this time.

Toddler Asphyxiated by Window

Cause of death of a 19-month-old toddler from Zwolle is positional asphyxiation from being caught between a car window and  the door frame, according to the autopsy results given yesterday.

Robert E. Lynch passed away Sunday after being taken off life support at University Health in Shreveport. The autopsy was done Monday morning. No arrest has taken place due to the case still being under investigation by Zwolle Police Department and Sabine Parish Coroner's office.

Two Vehicle Accident Results In Fatality

On September 17,2014, there was a two vehicle accident at the intersection of Hwy 171 and Hwy 175 resulting in a fatality.

At approximately 6:42 am a loaded log truck was traveling north on Hwy 171 when a pickup truck on Hwy 175 entered the intersection and struck the trailer of the log truck. The driver of the pickup truck was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the driver is being withheld until notification of family members. The driver of the log truck was uninjured.

Natchitoches man Hospitalized

Ronald Hayes, 54, was reported at missing on Sunday has been located. He was hospitalized Tuesday morning after being found on the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Pavie Street with a stab wound to the neck, Natchitoches police Captin Brad Walker said in a news release.

Hayes was treated at the scene by paramedics later being sent to University Health in Shreveport, where he is stable.

Police allege Harold Toussaint, 55, stabbed Hayes after the two got into a argument over a beer. Toussaint was arrested around noon and charged with one count of aggravated second-degree battery.

Deadly Amoeba in Sabine Water

Friday the Department of Health and Hospitals confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the Ebarb Water District located in Sabine Parish. This system serves 5,529 people, at this time there have been no reports of illness. The amoeba was in DeSoto Parish in 2013. There has been an emergency order issued making the water system perform a free-chlorine burn to eliminate the parasite from the local system.

The water is safe to drink but residents on the system are encouraged to take precautions, the parasite can become fatal if inhaled through the nose.

Training Gone Wrong

Wednesday during a training exercise at Ft. Polk an accident occured leaving one soldier injured and another dead. The accident is being investigated by Fort Polk's Directorate of Emergency Services and the U.S. Arm Criminal Investigation Command.

The deceased solider a cannon crew member has been identified as 22-year-old Spc. Silas Jones from Marionville,Missouri. He was part of the 10th Mountain Division stationed with the 5th Battalion, 25th Field Affairs Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

The injured soldier has not yet been identified but has been airlifted to a local hospital for treatment. No other information is being released at this given time.

More charges expected for Cenla bomb threat suspect

Police say 17 year old Reuben David Byon of Fredericksburg, Texas has been charged by the Alexandria Police with three counts of communicating false information of planned bombing on school property.

We're told charges are pendign from Pineville Police once Byon is extradited to Louisiana.

Fredericksburg Police that Byon also threatened a high school in that city, as well as the local school board.

A day after bomb threats were called into four different schools around Aexandria and Pineville, law enforcement officers and school officials are taking a step back to evaluiate how the situations were handled.

"I think the response was effective," said Cheif Loren Lampert of the Alexandria Police Department.

The suspect has ties to Central Louisiana,

According to his Facebook page, he's a former student at Bolton.

Missing Campti man found

Wallace was found by the Lafayette Police and Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Deputies near Lafayette. Wallace, who is uninjured, is being transported to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office while family members accompanied by Campti Police are enroute to pick him and the vehicle up. The NPSO extends thanks and appreciation to the media and public for thei assistance in this matter

Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb

Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb announces that November 1, 2014 is the date for the 3rd Annual Louisiana Native American Art Fest. The event will be held at the Choctaw Apache tribal grounds and begins at 9AM. Vendor/booth space is free to Native American vendors. Native American tribes throughout the state are invited to showcase their Native arts/crafts/foods. All vendors will showcase original native crafts and artwork. Some of the Native foods at the ART FEST will be Indian tacos, turkey legs, Indian fry bread, pulled prok sandwiches, homemade pork tamales, deer chili, pork and deer sausages, etc.

Also there will be a WILD GAME COOK OFF. Entries must be in by noon and trophies will be awarded. Call for more information. Art walk will aslo be help again this year. Native artists are asked to enter drawings, sketches, oil and acrylics paintings, gourds, wood crafts, etc. Call for information.

Lone Procell Durr at 318-617-0322 for more infor or the tribal office 318-645-2588

Soldier death under investigation at Fort Polk

Special Agents from the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, are investigating the death of a Fort Polk soldier that occurred on Friday night when Fort Polk Military Police and Department of the Army Civilian Police were attempting to apprehend a soldier.

Military Police were reportedly called to an address in on-post housing, near the intersection of Moran St. and Riverton Dr where a person was allegedly trying to illegally enter a home that was not his residence.

A responding Military Policeman identified the soldier suspect again and attempted to apprehend him but the soldier allegedly became combative and continued resisting the Military Policeman, as well as two other responding officers.

Motorcycle accident claims life

A motorcycle accident near Milam on Highway 21, Sept. 6, claimed the life of Gerald Price, 68 of Hemphill.

DPS stated, Price was 10 miles east of Hemphill shortly after 9:30 PM when he lost control of the motorcycle, drove off the road and rolled over twice before being ejected. Road conditions were wet when the accident occurred.

Nagin to report to federal prison Posted on 9-8-14

NEW ORLEANS, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has until Noon on September 8th to report to prison, to begin serving a 10 year sentence on corruption charges.

Nagin is expected to head to a minimum security federal prison in Texarkana, Texas.

He was convicted on 21 charges of wire fraud, bribery and money laundering related to bribes from city contractors both before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Nagin was recently granted a public defender to pursue his appeal.

$100,000 bond ordered for teen charged in fellow Natchitoches student's death.

Bond has been set at $100,000 for the Natchitoches teen accused in the death of another teen following an incident at Natchitoches Central High School.

At his arraignment Wednesday morning in Natchitoches Parish District Court, 16 year old Timothy Robinson pleaded not guilty to a charge of manslaughter.

Robinson was initially arrested on a charge of second-degree battery, which upgraded to manslaughter following Smith's death. Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Van Kyzar confirmed on Wednesday that Robinson would be charged as an adult. He will turn 17 in October.

The judge has also ordered that Robinson wear an ankle bracelet if he dows bond out.

Atrial date has not been set and several motions are expected to be filed. Kyzar believes the case could go to trial in early 2015.

Mansfield man jailed for growing pot inside home

The smell of marijuana coming from two teens' backpacks at school led DeSoto detectives to a man who lives at their home-who's now accused of growing weed there.

Jon Ryan Temple, 32 of the 5000 block of Hwy. 191 in Mansfield, is in jail, charged with multiple drug counts.

DeSoto Parish deputies went to the home Wednesday but were unable to get anyone to answer the door. The next morning, they went back and Temply allegedly let them into the home to search it for narcotics.

Temple is charged with possession of schedule I marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacturing/cultivation of schedule I marijuana; possession of schedule II; two counts of unlawful ocontrolledoled dangerous substance in the presence of a person under 17; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

NWS confirms tornado hit Mansfield paper plant, employees describe experience

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down at the Internation Paper Company in Mansfield near the Red River Parish line on Tuesday afternoon.

Bill Parker said he believes the tornado was an EF-0, but he was not able to examine damage on the plant itself, he will have to come back to the property Wednesday to determine an official wind speed. He said the rating could changed and be bumped up.

It happened around 2:19 p.m. at the plant in the 1200 block of Louisiana Highway 509. There was no warning in effect for that area at the time of the damaging winds cme throug. Employees reported the tornado dropped out of the sky without warning, damaging several behicles parked at the facility, which manufactures container board for the production of boxes. The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office and the Office of Emergency Preparedness confirms the event damaged some vehicles at the plant. There were no reported injuries.

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and helped the employees make vehicle damage claims.

Mill manager Kevin Driscoll says most of the damage was minor and he's grafeful noboys was hurt.

According to Driscoll, they will be doing a thorough damage assessment and will come up with a detail repair plan.

Pink Out at Family Farm and Garden

A huge shout to all those who gave on this past Friday and Saturday during Family Farm and Gardens Pink Out Day. It touches so many and that is why it is so important that a cure be found. The total of donations just taken here in the store totaled $1637, chris is keeping his word and kicking in $500 for a grand total of $2137.00. The money is being sent to the Northwest Louisiana Affiliate of Susan G. Kome in memory of Hannah Jackson.

Opening arguments begin in Thomas Steven Sanders trial Posted on 9-3-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- Is he guilty? And, should he face death?

That's what a jury at federal court in Alexandria will now have to decide now, as the trial of the United States v. Thomas Steven Sanders officially began Wednesday.

Sanders is accused of "interstate kidnapping" and the "death of a person through the use of a firearm" stemming from an incident Labor Day weekend 2010.

That incident involved a mother, Suellen Roberts, who sanders had dated. And, her 12-year-old daughter, Lexis, both from Las Vegas.

News Channel 5's Brooke Buford (Twitter: @brookebuford) was in court for opening arguments.


"This is a story of a 12-year-old girl named Lexis Roberts...," said lead prosecutor, Bill Flanagan, at the start of opening arguments.

With that statement, the United States government kicked off its opening arguments Wednesday morning in its federal court case against Thomas Steven Sanders.

Flanagan laid out Lexis Roberts entire story - how she never made it to her 13th birthday, because her life was cut short.

"This will be the story of Lexis Roberts and what Mr. Sanders did to her," he said.

Flanagan told a jury, made equally of men and women, how Lexis' mother, Suellen, met Sanders at a storage facility in Las Vegas and how they dated.

He explained how the three took a holiday trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon.

He also explained how Sanders shot Suellen in the head in Arizona with a rifle at close range, then kidnapped Lexis.

"After having three or four days and deciding what to with this kidnapping, he decided to kill Lexis," said Flanagan.

The prosecution told jurors that Sanders shot Lexis in Catahoula Parish woods once in the back of the head, twice in the front of the head, and once in the heart.

When she didn't die, he slit her throat.

Attorney Cristie Gibbens says the defense agreed to most of the prosecution's facts.

"Back in 2010, a series of events happened that bring us here today," said Gibbens. "They were tragic."

"We agree with the government on most of the facts, but there are crucial facts we do not agree on," she said.

And, "He accepts full responsibility for Lexis Roberts," said Gibbens.


The defense says it plans to present how this case should not be federal, but rather argued locally.

The prosecution did call several witnesses Wednesday, including the hunter who found Lexis' body, the chief deputy of the Catahoula Parish Sheriff's Office, an expert with the FACES forensic lab, and an FBI special agent.

Pictures of Lexis' fractured skull, with hot pink braces still attached, were shown. 

Her blanket and purple unicorn stuffed animal, which were found at the scene, were also shown.

Court continues Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Active shooter drill at Oakdale High School

On Thursday, August 28 starting at 8:30 am the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, the Oakdale Police Department, and the surrounding fire departments will be participating in an active shooter training at Oakdale High School.

The exercise is part of an ongoing mission to make sure that Allen Parish schools are safe as possible. The schools sent notices home with all of the students to inform parents of the exercise.

The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office would like to emphasize this is only a training exercise in order to prevent any undue alarm.

Student who hit Natchiotches Center student to be charged as adult

The 16 year old who hit another Natchiotches Central student who late died will be tried as an adult.

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's Office has filed the proper paperwork through the 10th Judicial Court for the juvenile involved in the Homicide at Natchitoches Central HIgh School to be tried as an adult.

Timmy Robinson, 16, of Natchez, LA, ahs been arrested on once count of Manslaughter and transferred from Ware Juvenile Detention Center in Coushatta, LA to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center in Natchitoches.

He currently is awainting a bond hearing at a future date.

18 year old Johnquaries Smith, a Natchitoches Central High School student, passed away Tuesday, after being hit by a fellow student on school grounds Monday afternoon.

Neighbors say they're "shocked" that couple locked child in cage Posted on 8-27-14

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- There are new details emerging about a husband and wife arrested by Alexandria police for allegedly locking one of their seven children in a cage.

Police say 52-year-old Joseph Chapman and his wife 35-year-old Jennifer Chapman were charged with "cruelty to a juvenile" after acting on a child abuse tip last week.

News Channel 5's Brooke Buford went out to the neighborhood to talk to neighbors about the family and the arrest.

 Neighbors say they knew something was up at a home in the 1300-block of Park Avenue, but they just didn't know what.

"It's something twisted," said Pamela Burns, a neighbor.

"I kind of figured something weird or strange was going on," said Matthew Cross, another neighbor.

Alexandria police say they acted on a tip that Joseph and Jennifer Chapman were keeping one of their seven kids in a cage.

Police say Joseph Chapman admitted to it.

"Once our officers got there, they were informed by child protection services that they were acting on a tip that a child was being held in some type of cage in the residence," said Lt. Bruce Fairbanks of the Alexandria Police Department. "This information was confirmed once contact was made with parents."

Pamela Burns, who lives down the street says her daughter would often try to play with one of the Chapman's sons, but he wasn't allowed to leave the house.

She says she was shocked to hear they were arrested.

"All I saw when i came out of my house was child protection and the police," said Burns. "We were wondering, what? What's going on? Then everything got out and about and I said, what? I just can't believe that! I really couldn't. I couldn't believe it."

Another neighbor, Matthew Cross, says he was surprised as well.

"It's kind of strange that they would do that to kids," he said. "They have a van that they drive that has Bible scriptures on it. It just doesn't make any sense."

Police say whenever you see something suspicious, don't be afraid to speak up. You never know who's life you may be saving.

"Anytime that you feel a child is being abused either sexually or physically, always either contact the police department or child protection services and report it," said Lt. Fairbanks.

Joseph and Jennifer Chapman were booked into the Rapides Parish Jail, but posted $1,500 bond each.

Meanwhile, we're told the seven children were removed from the house by authorities.


We tried to get in touch with the family, but were unable to.

UPDATE: student who hit Natchitoches Central student to be charged as adult Posted on 8-27-14

NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The 16 year-old who hit another Natchitoches Parish Central student whom later died will be tried as an adult.

Timmy Robinson, 16, of Natchez, La. has been arrested on one count of Manslaughter and transferred from the Ware Juvenile Detention Center in Coushatta to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center in Natchitoches. 

 He currently is awaiting a bond hearing at a future date.  

18-year-old Johnquaries Smith, a Natchitoches Central High School student, passed away Tuesday, after being hit by a fellow student on school grounds Monday afternoon. 

News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow spoke with Smith's football coach about how much the teen is already missed. 

"Number 53 will live on," said Chiefs Coach Brandon Helms as practice began Tuesday afternoon. 

It was a tough one for the team, as one of their own is missing. 

Helms said, "the locker room is different, he's the one that kept the locker room loose. It's been quiet and somber in the locker room."

Helms said outside linebacker Johnquaries Smith was someone any coach would be lucky to have on their team. "He's a kid that comes from a background of hard work. Football was important to him, this school was important to him. He was a constant teammate, all the guys loved him."

Officials say Monday during lunch hour, a senseless act occurred.

"A student walked by another student and for whatever reason, he stopped. They looked at each other and then as they were talking, one student hit the other," said Superintendent Dale Skinner.

The incident involved just the two students. The suspect threw one punch and the victim hit his head right on the ground. 

Skinner said, "at NCHS, the halls are concrete, and he hit his head on the concrete."

Detective Brad Walker of Natchitoches Police Department said, "it was not a brawl, it was not a gang fight. This was a battery committed by one individual on another, and they were the only two involved."

Smith spent the night in ICU, and died Tuesday as a result of his injuries. 

"He was a good kid, he wasn't a problem. Very unfortunate situation, we feel for him and his family," said Skinner.

It's a loss that is very tough for those who knew him, to comprehend. 

"You can ask why all you want, and you're not going to get the answer. The thing is though, Johnquaries loved life, he enjoyed life," said Helms.

Though he will no longer play on the field, Coach Helms said he knows Johnquaries will always be looking down on his Chiefs. 

As for the 16-year-old suspect, his charges have been upgraded to manslaughter. 

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney's office has yet to decide whether he will be tried as an adult.

RPSO arrests man for false imprisonment, battery Posted on 8-27-14

DEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - On August 18, 2014, Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office deputies from the Deville Sub-station responded to a complaint of an incident which occurred involving a battery and false imprisonment. 

The victim stated she was held against her will at a residence on Bohannon Road in Deville, and also stated a battery was committed on her. 

The victim eventually got away from the suspect and made it to a nearby home where she was helped by the home owner. Detectives responded and began their investigation. A suspect was identified as Shannon Michael Gillette, 34, of Pineville. 

On August 22, detectives were able to develop enough evidence to obtain arrest warrants on Gillette. 

On August 25, Patrol Deputies located Gillette and he was arrested without incident and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center. He was charged with 2 counts Simple Battery and 1 count False Imprisonment. He was later released on a $1250.00 bond.

Students and parents concerned after batter at Natchitoches High School leaves 18-year old critically injured

An official at University Hospital Shreveport said that Johnquaries Smith, 18, was transferred from the ER to the Pediatric ICU at about 3 or 4 p.m. and said it sounds like the student "may be stabilizing a little bit."

Smith was airlifted to UHS from a Natchitoches hospital Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries. According to police, it happened about 12:30 p.m. at Natchitoches Central High School when Smith, was allegedly "sucker-punched" by a 16 year old student. The hit reportedly cause Smith to fall back and hit his head.

Smith was non-responsive when emergency crews took him to Natchitoches hospital, said Capt. Brad Walker, with the Natchitoches Police Department.

The alleged attacker has been arrested on a charge of second-degree batter, but charges will be upgraded if the victim dies. He is being held at Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.

Walker said the fith was not gang-related and there was no fight before it happened. Officers stayed on the campus along with the school resource officer until the end of the day.

According to the NCHS football roster, Smith is on the 14-15 varsity football team in a linebacker position. He is expected to graduate in 2015.

Fort Polk letter campaign final day

Alexandria, LA- Time is running out for the public to show support for Fort Polk, as the post faces a potential downsizing of more than 6,000 troops. Midnight marks the end of the public commenting phase.

News Channel 5's Noelle Bellow found out where Fort Polk stands now and what comes next.

Michael Reese of Fort Polk Progress said, "what we learned this morning is there are at least 3 bases with more than 10,000 comments received out of the 30 bases, and we know that we're one of those top 3."

"We're very competitive and we want to be number one, so we are working ituntil end of business Monday until we can no longer postmark letters and tell people to go online to click and send that way," said Deborah Randolph of CENLA Chamber of Commerce.

One thing is clear to organizers, the response from CENLA residents has been overwhelming.

Reese said, "just last week we heard reports form Rapides Hospital, England Airpark, the CENLA Chamber of Commerce with literally thousands of written letters. At the same time, the online petition has just been growing and growing and I believe pushing 7,000 is beyond that."

Randolph added,"to know that people support military families who serve at Fort Polk, it's a great feeling."

But this public response is just part one. Once the public comment phase ends, Fort Polk Progress will prepare to challenge the Army's assessment of the post.

Reese explained, "we'll transfer into the military value analysis phase, and Fort Polk stands on its own when it comes to that. We have some of the most exceptional maneuver space, air training space available, and some of the most exceptional deployment facilities. Their training is hands down the best the army receives anywhere in the country and the army tells us that constantly."

Fort Polk Progress says even though things look good, it's important to stay focused.

"we just have to try and keep all that info accurate, keep it in front of the decision makers to make sure it's all take together as the army makes its final analysis," said Reese.

Battery at Natchitoches Central High School

Natchitoches, LA- An 18-year old man is in the hospital and a juvenile has been arrested after an incident at Natchitoches Central High School Monday

The Natchitoches Police Department received several calls and radio traffic from the school resource officers requesting an ambulance at Natchitoches central at 12:31 p.m. Officers, along with medical personal, responded to the school and found an 18-year old male on the ground unresponsive. The victim was transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where he was then air-lifted o University Medical in Shreveport by helicopter.

After investigating the incident, detective arrested a 16-year old juvenile on one count of second degree battery, and placed him in Ware Detention Center in Coushatta.

The victim is listed in critical condition at this time.

According to police, this incident was not a large fight involving multiple people. Police also report that was not a gang fight of any kind.

The statement reads: "The Natchitoches Police Department has two full time officers assigned to Natchitoches Central, and both officers were at the school at the time of the incident. Other officers arrived to assist and some stayed until school was let out but at no time was any specialized units (ie. SWAT) called for assist. This appears to be a random act of violence against one person by another single person."

911, mom found unconscious Posted on 8-22-14

GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a 6-year-old child reporting that her mother was unconscious in her car in the driveway of the family home. 

When a deputy arrived, he discovered an unconscious female in her car with a 6-year-old child.  An ambulance was called and deputies identified the unconscious woman as Keri Silk, 23, of Pollock.  

Deputies also discovered a large number of prescription pills in the vehicle and on Silk.  She was transported to a hospital for medical attention and the prescription pills were sent for analysis.  

The child was released to a family member and the Department of Family and Children Services was notified.  Deputies issued a warrant for Silk's arrest and on August 18, 2014, Silk was arrested for Possession of CDS II (Oxycodone), Possession of CDS IV (Alprazolam), and Illegal Use of CDS in the Presence of a Minor.

Anti-terrorism exercise held at Camp Beauregard Posted on 8-22-14

 ALEXANDRIA, la- (KALB News Channel 5)- An anti-terrorism exercise was held at Camp Beauregard. The exercise is part of the Guard's anti-terrorism plan. Federal, state and local first responders all participated in the event.

The story behind the exercise involves a simulated terrorist attack on the Camp Beauregard base. The attack is perpetrated by a National Guard soldier suffering from PTSD. It involves suspicious packages, a chemical weapon and an explosion with deceased and injured victims.

Many of the first responders said it is important to hold this joint training. 

"It's good because we're about to learn from each other and deploy our tactics and integrate our information with other agencies," said Lieutenant Darrell Basco with the Pineville police department. 

"Anytime we do a drill like this it's a plus for us because we can find out where our problems are and we can iron them out," said Allen Bernheisel, Chief of EMS.

The Louisiana Army National Guard conducts this exercise annually in accordance with the Department of Defense policy.

Collaborative investigative efforts result in child predator arrest Posted on 8-20-14

VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - Investigators from the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Special Victims Unit/Alexandria Field Office arrested Ernest Kickel Jr., 66, of Leesville, on Monday, August 18, 2014 for attempted aggravated rape and for trafficking of children for sexual purposes. 

Earlier in the day, LSP's Special Victims Unit (LSPSVU) received information from the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office Task Force (VPSOTF) in reference to Kickel Jr. They advised that they had received information, through investigative procedures, that Kickel was attempting to buy a 10-year-old child for sexual purposes.  LSPSVU and VPSOTF immediately combined investigative efforts, thus gaining more information regarding these criminal acts.   

Based on information gained, LSPSVU obtained a search warrant for Kickel Jr's residence.  After serving the search warrant, items were located in his residence corroborating Kickel Jr's plan to have sex with a minor child.

“The Louisiana State Police is committed to investigating and arresting those who sexually exploit and victimize our children.  These are atrocious crimes that threaten the most innocent of victims, our children,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “We will take a firm stance against those that choose to engage in this type of hideous illegal activity.  Our investigators will be proactive with investigative procedures and will deploy every resource available to intercept and arrest these types of criminals.”

“This is one of the most disturbing incidents that law enforcement is encountered with,” said Sheriff Sam Craft, Vernon Parish Sheriff.  “The protection of our children will always be handled in a swift and decisive manner and with this type of behavior the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department will always respond accordingly.”

Kickel Jr. was booked into the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Department Detention Center.  Bond was set at 1.5 million dollars.  The investigation remains ongoing.

The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is also available to the public through a convenient and secure reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. Citizens can access the form by visiting www.lsp.org and clicking the Suspicious Activity link. 

Judge rules against Jindal in Common Core lawsuit Posted on 8-20-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge has ruled against Gov. Bobby Jindal in a lawsuit filed by Common Core supporters, lifting a contract suspension Jindal enacted to derail the multi-state education standards.

Judge Todd HernandMGN Onlineez issued a written ruling Tuesday.

He said Jindal's suspension of contracts the education department planned to use to buy testing material aligned with Common Core is causing harm to parents, teachers, administrators and students.

The contract suspension has stalled standardized testing plans for third-grade through eighth-grade students in Louisiana's public schools.

Jindal's attorney Jimmy Faircloth says he will appeal Hernandez's ruling.

Parents, teachers and a charter school organization sued Jindal after he suspended the contracts, alleging he violated constitutional separations of authority over education policy.

Faircloth argued that the governor exercised his legal authority over state contracting.

Pollock Inmate Escapee Posted on 8-20-14

POLLOCK, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -- The Grant Parish Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding an inmate who walked away from the Federal Prison in Pollock. 

26 year old Jose Garza was incarcerated for drug charges and a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Garza is a Hispanic male, standing at 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds. 

He was last seen wearing grey sweats.

Anyone with information is asked to contact to the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office at 318-627-3261.

Imon Jones not seeking re-election

"I would like to take this time to annonce that I am not seeking re-election in the upcoming fall election. I have served the Florien District for the past 16 years and have strived to improve not only the Florien school system but the Parish system as well. As I look back it  has been a pleasure serving with Mr. Dan Leslie, Mr. Dorman Jackson, and currently with Dr. Sara Ebarb, the former and present board members, and most importantly the Principals and staff of Florien High School. I thank those who entrusted me with decisions concerning our children-our future. I ask that as you elect a new board member that you pick the person that you feel will represent and stand up for the betterment of education in Sabine Parish. Thank you again for this honor to serve, it has been rewarding and I feel I have learned a great deal."-Imon Jones

Shreveport Police officer involved in shooting while in Natchitoches Posted on 8-13-14

An on-duty Shreveport Police officer assigned to a federal task force charged with apprehending violent criminals was involved in a shooting this afternoon in Natchitoches Parish.

Just after 5:00 p.m. on August 12, 2014 members of the United Stated Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force were in Natchitoches Parish working to track down a man wanted in connection with a shooting in Texas earlier today. Authorities located the offender and while attempting to take him into custody a Shreveport Police officer fired at least one shot from his department issued service weapon striking the suspect in the lower body. The suspect was subsequently transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The officer, whose name is not being released at this hour as per departmental policy, has been placed on routine paid administrative leave by Chief of Police Willie Shaw.

State Employee Layoffs Posted on 8-13-14

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - After six years of state worker layoffs, no rank-and-file state employees have been targeted for pink slips this budget year.

That's according to the Department of Civil Service, which issued its latest monthly report on layoffs Monday.

Nearly 8,400 classified state employees - those who have civil service job protections and aren't at-will political appointees - have been laid off since 2008, as the state struggled with repeated budget gaps and Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed to shrink the size of state government.

But this year's budget, which took effect July 1, didn't target any classified positions for layoffs, according to the report.

Most of last year's 2,300 layoffs involved workers at LSU hospitals privatized by Jindal. Many were rehired by private hospital managers, though not necessarily at the same salary.







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