Louisiana news briefs
Judge convicts New Iberia man of killing girl, 4
NEW IBERIA (AP) — A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
District Judge Charles Porter recently sentenced 29-year-old Jamal Charles.
Charles was convicted Sept. 15 in a bench trial. Investigators testified that he beat Rayneisha Hudson with a hammer and put the girl and her brother Raymon into a bathtub of 180-degree water.
At the time, the children’s mother was Charles’ girlfriend.
Forensic pathologist Christopher Tape testified that the girl had been hit in many places, and some of the injuries were days old.
Rayneisha Hudson died Jan. 27, 2011.
Police: Houma stabbing suspect booked with murder
HOUMA (AP) — State police say a 29-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing a relative in Houma has been booked with first-degree murder.
Trooper Evan Harrell says Alvaro Fabian Garcia was booked into the Terrebonne Parish jail Tuesday after being released from University Hospital in New Orleans.
Harrell say a Houma police officer shot Garcia in the shoulder after an altercation ensued when the officer tried to arrest Garcia. He says the officer had responded to a report of a burglary Saturday when he witnessed the stabbing. Police have not released the victim’s name.
Garcia’s bond is $1 million.
1,000 job seekers attend Lafayette career fair
LAFAYETTE (AP) — More than 1,000 job seekers pressed into the Cajundome for a Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil & Gas Exposition career fair.
Many of the job seekers expressed confidence that the long-term outlook for industry employment remains bright, despite a recent steep drop in oil prices.
Angela Cring, LAGCOE executive director, says if someone really wants to work, they can find a job in the industry.
Many job seekers reflected that confidence as they made their way through 28 booths of hiring companies that were seeking myriad industry jobs: drivers, safety specialists, mechanics and engineers, among others.
John Fisher, due to graduate the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s engineering program Dec. 15, said he’s optimistic about oil and gas and ready for a job that would focus on drilling.
No prison time in scalded-child case
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — A state district court judge has declined to give prison time to a woman he found guilty of scalding the feet and legs of her 2-year-old foster son.
Saying he felt 29-year-old Lan Huylh Le acted negligently, Judge Ron Ware on Wednesday sentenced Le to a five-year suspended prison term and three years’ supervised probation.
Le wept when Ware said he was not going to sentence her to serve time.
Ware found Le guilty of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile after a six-day trial in May.
Le’s foster son had third-degree burns that rose 5-1/2 to 6 inches up both legs. Both legs required skin grafts.
Le claimed the boy climbed into the tub himself.
Court settlement reached in La. Medicaid case
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state health agency has entered into a settlement in a federal lawsuit over the inadequacy of notices denying Medicaid recipients access to services.
U.S. District Judge Jim Brady approved the settlement, in which the state agrees to do a better job of providing specific information about the reasons for the service denials. He will oversee state compliance for the next five years.
The settlement came in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Department of Health and Hospitals. The lawsuit alleged that the notices were so lacking that an individual would not know on what basis to appeal the denial and what kind of information would be needed to reverse the decision.
The agreement applies to Medicaid-eligible people who are denied prior approval for services.
in fatal crash
AMITE (AP) — An Independence man faces to five years in prison after pleading guilty to several charges, including vehicular homicide.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old Atrell Anderson was driving east on La. 1064 in Tangipahoa Parish on Oct. 12, 2012, when he attempted to pass another vehicle by crossing into a westbound lane.
When Anderson entered the oncoming lane, authorities say he drove onto the shoulder and struck a bicycle ridden by Van Elbert Johnson.
Troopers say Anderson fled the scene but later turned himself in.
While Anderson was out on bond, police say he was involved in a fight.
Anderson was sentenced last week to five years for negligent homicide, hit and run driving resulting in death or serious bodily injury and aggravated assault with a firearm.
Deputies kill man
NATCHITOCHES (AP) — Natchitoches police are investigation a fatal shooting involving two Natchitoches Parish sheriff’s deputies.
Police say 26-year-old Robert Vercher was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon when he exchanged gun fire with deputies, who were trying to serve a protective order.
Vercher was taken to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The names of the deputies involved have not been released. Sheriff Victor Jones says the deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay.
IRS fines Leesville $400,000 over W-2s
LEESVILLE (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service has fined the City of Leesville $400,000 for failing to properly file W-2 forms in 2010.
The the city has asked for more time to respond to the penalty, which it learned about Sept. 1.
City attorney Chuck Dowden says the request for the 60-day extension also asked for copies of any city correspondence with the IRS.
He also says that Sen. David Vitter’s office has agreed to try to negotiate a smaller penalty.
Dowden says officials are working on ways to ensure the city doesn’t have W-2 problems again.
EPA: Agreement for Camp Minden explosives cleanup
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fifteen million pounds of artillery propellant abandoned at Camp Minden will be burned in trays holding shallow layers of the powder instead of an incinerator, The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.
The plan was made under emergency rules because Army munitions disposal experts say the M6 propellant is likely to become much more unstable about a year from now, EPA regional Superfund director Carl Edlund said Wednesday.
“It could accelerate and blow up again,” he said. “We’ve been driven by the idea that this problem really needs to be solved within the next year.”
Louisiana State Police investigating an Oct. 17, 2012, explosion in one of Explo Systems Inc.’s 98 bunkers found that the company had tons of improperly stored explosives on a 110-acre site in northwestern Louisiana leased from the state’s National Guard.
Jerri Ray de Pingre’, president and CEO of the Minden-South Webster Chamber of Commerce, said she was both excited that bunkers where the explosive has been stored will be emptied out and disappointed by the prospect of open burning.
“We are anxious to create economic development at Camp Minden, and that can’t happen until all those bunkers are cleared up,” she said.
But local leaders had wanted an incinerator built on site.
That would take too long — a year or two just to bid out and build, Edlund said.
Open burning won’t mean “huge clouds and big booms,” he said. “These are propellants that if not confined are not going to boom. And they’re smokeless.”
Both EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will check air quality during the burning, he said.
The Louisiana National Guard will manage the disposal contract, said Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak.
The M6 arrived under a multimillion-dollar military contract to dismantle propelling charges used in artillery rounds.
Three other companies are dealing with another 3 million pounds of various explosives, Edlund said.
Seven Explo Systems officials were indicted on charges related to the explosives and three have pleaded guilty. Former contracts manager Clifford Morrison, who was indicted after the others, is cooperating, and charges against the company, owners David Fincher and David Smith, and plant manager Terry Wright are still pending, District Attorney Schyuler Marvin said Wednesday.
The men face 10 charges: unlawful storage of explosives, reckless use of explosives, failure to get a magazine license, failure to properly mark explosive material, failure to keep accurate inventory, and a conspiracy charge linked to each of those.
Thibodaux civil service board upholds suspension
THIBODAUX (AP) — Thibodaux’s civil service board has upheld two suspensions of a police officer.
Chief Scott Silverii suspended Capt. Calvin Cooks without pay for three days last year and seven days this year. Cooks was suspended for violating department’s policies regarding following the chain of command, interfering with an investigation and associating with a suspect.
The suspensions followed an officer’s complaint that Cooks wrote a “return to work” letter for a man police questioned about a double shooting last September. Silverii said Cooks should have asked him before issuing the letter.
Silverii also said he suspended Cooks for failing to search a man arrested April 14.
The suspensions were upheld Tuesday.