NEW ORLEANS – Today, District Attorney Williams, joined by Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Forrest Ladd and members of the Ricou Family, discussed the conviction of defendant James Patton for the fatal shooting of Russel Ricou, Jr., which took place in the French Quarter in January of 2022; the defendant received the maximum penalty for each charge: 40 years for manslaughter, 20 years for obstruction of justice, and 20 years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Additionally, DA Williams stood with French Quarter community and business leaders including Councilmember Freddie King, ProjectNOLA Executive Director Bryan LaGarde, NOPD Eigth District Captain LeJon Roberts and Business Council Criminal Justice Task Force Chair Jim Cook to take a stand against violence in the French Quarter and across New Orleans.
“With the current crime surge we are facing, we must be innovative and pull on every resource we have to create change in our city. It is truly about recognizing that this is about a community lift and that no single agency or solution alone will be sufficient enough to tackle the senseless violence plaguing our community. We must all think outside the box, utilizing new tools and new partnerships. The conviction of James Patton and sentencing is proof positive of this work as well as the need for continued criminal legal system and community partnership to ensure that violent offenders are held accountable,” said DA Williams. “Having tried this case personally, I critically understand how essential the video evidence was to the successful prosecution of this case. The jury was able to actually see what took place. I am extremely grateful for ProjectNOLA, French Quarter community and business leaders as well as all of the other force multipliers who support the work of the DA’s Office and criminal legal system at large. Today, we take a stand refusing to accept crime in the French Quarter or anywhere else in New Orleans. Together, we are committed to turning the tide of violence.”
According to police reports, Patton fatally shot Ricou in the head during a physical altercation. Last month, a jury unanimously found him guilty of manslaughter. Today, he received the maximum penalty for each charge: 40 years for manslaughter, 20 years for obstruction of justice, and 20 years for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Victim’s Brother Denis Ricou said, “On behalf of the family of Russel Ricou, Jr., I want to thank the NOPD for their hard work in apprehending the criminal, Project NOLA for being the eye-in-the-sky witness, and the Orleans DA’s Office and judge for their quick deliberate moves to ensure justice was served. I implore the citizens and businesses of New Orleans to take back their city in the name of my brother and to take back control of their lives by preventing violent crimes and prosecuting to the fullest anyone that doesn’t follow the rule of law.”
As part of the investigation, the DA’s Office was able to use camera footage supplied by local businesses as evidence to support the prosecution. It played a critical role in proving guilty to the jury.
DA Williams, in partnership with Project NOLA Executive Director Bryan Lagarde, encourages residents in the French Quarter and across New Orleans to invest in surveillance systems to support the work of the criminal legal system in holding violent offenders accountable. Project NOLA’s extensive crime camera network, high-quality video, stills, and other pertinent information have proven to be an essential tool to fight the rising crime surge. Their assistance has bolstered law enforcement efforts. Earlier this year, DA Williams and Executive Director LaGarde stood together to announce the arraignment of a defendant in a brazen Mid-City New Orleans roadway shooting in September 2022.
Project NOLA Executive Director Bryan LaGarde said, “We’re very thankful to Tim Blake, owner of the Three Legged Dog, for hosting the Project NOLA Crime Cameras that helped the Ricou family and the DA’s Office find justice for Russell. Over the past ten years, Project NOLA Crime Cameras on the Three Legged Dog have helped the NOPD investigate a large number of major crimes that regrettably occurred in the French Quarter, leading to a large number of arrests, which has very significantly benefited public safety.”
In addition to being home to a strong business community, the French Quarter also has a thriving residential community. DA Williams was joined by a number of French Quarter stakeholders committed to maintaining a safe community.
District C Councilmember Freddie King said, “I stand firmly behind District Attorney Williams in the successful conviction of the individual responsible for the tragic killing of Russell Ricou in the French Quarter. The DA’s unwavering commitment to justice sends a clear message to all those who engage in criminal activity in our community. Together, we will continue working diligently to reclaim our streets and make the city of New Orleans a safe and vibrant place for all residents and visitors alike.”
NOPD Eighth District Captain LeJon Roberts said, “The NOPD wants to send a loud message to everyone who has the ill intent of coming to the French Quarter or anywhere in the city of New Orleans to commit a crime. That message is clear and simple: if you commit a crime, you will be identified, arrested, and our partners at the DA’s Office will prosecute you to the fullest!”
For more information on the DA’s Office, please visit orleansda.com.