NEW ORLEANS – Last week, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA) secured the indictment of four defendants for Second Degree Murders committed across neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. The Orleans Parish Grand Jury charged defendants Bokio B. Johnson, Joshua Taylor, James Patton, and Eugene Weathers for murders that took place in the Gentilly, New Orleans East, French Quarter, and Algiers neighborhoods.
“We purposefully convene the New Orleans Grand Jury each week to secure indictments against serious offenders and for justice to be delivered to the families and victims of violent crime in our city,” said District Attorney Jason Williams. “The top priority of this District Attorney’s Office is to increase safety in New Orleans. Every day, our prosecutors are laser-focused on successfully prosecuting violent crimes, like these murders that took place across our community. The people of this city can rest assured that the DA’s Office is doing everything possible to ensure that our neighborhoods are safer and that our streets are rid of those looking to cause harm.”
Indictment Secured in Murder of Hollis Carter
Defendant Bokio B. Johnson was indicted for the Second Degree Murder with a Firearm of Hollis Carter, which occurred in March 2022 near the intersection of Chef Menteur Highway and Providence Place in Gentilly.
The defendant was also charged with one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder with a Firearm and one count of Obstruction of Justice in a Second Degree Murder Investigation.
Indictment Secured in Murder of Raynell Hughes, Jr.
Defendant Joshua Taylor was indicted for the Second Degree Murder with a Firearm of Raynell Hughes, Jr., which occurred in March 2022 near the 4700 block of West Adams Court in New Orleans East.
The defendant was also charged with one count of Aggravated Flight from an Officer.
Indictment Secured in Murder of Russell Ricou
Defendant James Patton was indicted for the Second Degree Murder with a Firearm of Russell Ricou, which occurred in January 2022 in the 900 block of Conti Street in the French Quarter.
The defendant was also charged with Obstruction of Justice in a Homicide Investigation and being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
Indictment Secured in Murder of Jonathan Simmons
Defendant Eugene Weathers was indicted for the Second Degree Murder of Jonathan Simmons, which occurred on April 2019 in the 1600 block of Newton Street in Algiers.
The defendant was also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
These indictments build on the success of DA Williams and OPDA prosecutors to secure convictions in court since the resumption of jury trials in March. When cases come to OPDA with the required evidence, the District Attorney’s Office has vigorously fought for victims and families of violent crimes. Guilty jury trial verdicts secured since March include:
- DA Williams, along with OPDA Trials Division Chief Matthew Derbes, secured the conviction of defendant Samuel Hunter for the Second Degree Murder of Anthony Bridges in the 1700 block of Monroe Street on Christmas Day 2020.
- ADAs Liz Strauss and Adele Krieger secured the conviction of Demeccio Caston for the Second Degree Murder of Patrick Lamar in New Orleans East in August 2019.
- ADAs Samantha Stagias and Carmen Gealogo secured the conviction of Trae Williams for the manslaughter of his uncle Eddie Salvant III in Algiers in April 2014.
- Chief Derbes and ADA Joe Zanetti secured the conviction of Harrison Bethley for the murder of his cousin, Darnell Thomas, in the 1800 block of Treasure Street in February 2020.
- ADAs Corbin Bates and Carmen Gealogo secured the conviction of Justyn Garrett for Domestic Abuse stemming from an incident in 2020.
- DA Williams, along with OPDA Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Division Chief Mary Glass and ADA Naomi Jones, secured the conviction of defendant William McDonough for the rape of a victim in the 900 block of Poeyfarre Street in September 2016.
- ADA/Narcotics Chief Gaudin and First Asst. McGowan secured the conviction of Christopher Alexander for the murder of Idrick Brister in New Orleans East in 2018.
- ADAs Simone Levine and Brad Scott secured the conviction of defendant Gerald “Frog” West for the murder of Marion Brit Hutson, Jr. in New Orleans East in February 2018.
- SAKI Chief Mary Glass and ADA Naomi Jones secured the cold case conviction of defendant Roland Butler for kidnapping, robbery and sexual assault in 1996.
- ADA Samantha Stagias secured the conviction of defendant Tremaine Williams for Aggravated Battery and Felon with a Firearm.
- DA Williams, along with ADAs Christian Hebert-Pryor and Narcotics Chief Andre Gaudin, secured the conviction of defendant Garret Ward for the killing of 60-year-old Arnold Jackson in the 2000 block of Saint Charles Avenue in January 2018.
- Deputy Chief of Trials Lilian Hangartner and Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Samantha Stagias, secured a unanimous guilty verdict in a Third Degree Rape that took place in the French Quarter in July 2019.
ADAs Alex Calenda and Katherine Messina secured the conviction of defendant Michael Robinson for the Second Degree Murders of Leroy Benn, Jr., Gavonte Lampkin, and Shantrell Parker in July 2018.
DESPITE SUCCESS BY PROSECUTORS IN COURT, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ARE STILL NEEDED FROM THE CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THIS CRIME SURGE AND TO HELP INCREASE SAFETY IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
Since November 2021, the DA’s Office has argued that as the caseload increases due to the crime surge and COVID-19 backlog, OPDA is in need of additional staff, funding and resources. District Attorney Williams continues to double down on his request to the New Orleans City Council and Mayor LaToya Cantrell to fund our requests for additional lawyers, more DNA testing analysts, and Cold Case funding to improve OPDA’s capacity and help prosecutors build stronger cases.
The City of New Orleans has millions of dollars from the federal government that are earmarked for this exact need that are not being spent. The District Attorney’s Office needs immediate action to hire more people to handle this increased workload.
“We are prosecutors. Trying cases in front of a jury is what we do, so we are excited to be back in court presenting cases with strong evidence in pursuit of justice and increased safety. However, we are faced with some of the most unprecedented challenges this office has ever seen. From an increased case load to a large DNA backlog, our office needs support and resources from City leadership,” said District Attorney Williams. “These times are absolutely the most challenging we’ve faced in recent history, but we are holding those who commit violent offenses accountable and securing justice for the victims and families. This office will be steadfast in restoring trust in our criminal legal system by securing convictions in some of the most difficult cases as well as addressing decades of indifference to the concerns of community.”