Archives: July2014

Man booked with attempted murder after firing 10 shots at the car of a man he felt threatened by, hitting him once in the left hip

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases
Chad Davis, booked with attempted murder in St. Bernard Parish

Chad Davis, booked with attempted murder in St. Bernard Parish

home of his girlfriend, where a 9mm gun was found in the back yard. Davis is being held in St. Bernard Parish Prison on bond set Monday at $500,000.

The two men apparently have an ongoing feud involving a personal matter, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

He said Davis claimed after his arrest that Williams rode up as he and another man were standing outside, made threatening comments and said he would be back. When Williams returned in the vehicle a few minutes later, the sheriff said, Davis opened fire on him.

Williams, who lives at 2217 Meraux Lane, drove to a relative’s home in the 3300 block of Shannon Drive in Violet after he was wounded.. When sheriff’s deputies arrived there wasn’t any weapon in William’s vehicle.

Violet man dies in motorcycle accident in Arabi early Sunday morning

Posted: July 14th, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases

A 43-year-old Violet man was killed in Arabi early Sunday morning when he lost control of the motorcycle he was driving and crashed on West St. Bernard Highway at the railroad tracks at Center Street, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

Steve Nettleton was eastbound on the highway when he lost control of the motorcycle, struck a raised median and went to the ground, sliding more than a 100 feet and receiving head trauma, the sheriff said. He was wearing a helmet.

The victim was pronounced dead on the scene just after 2 a.m. No other vehicles were involved. A passing motorist reported the accident to the Sheriff’s Office.

St. Bernard man pleads guilty to manslaughter in 29-year-old murder of a woman who owned a pet cemetery, disappeared, and her body was found tied in chains in the Mississippi River

Posted: July 11th, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases
Dorothy Thompson at her pet cemetery in Toca in 1981. She was murdered in 1985

Dorothy Thompson at her pet cemetery in Toca in 1981. She was murdered in 1985

Sheriff Pohlmann interviewed about the guilty plea by the media. Behind him is Col. John Doran, head of operations for the Sheriff's Office, and Det. Capt. Mark Jackson.

Sheriff Pohlmann interviewed about the guilty plea by the media. Behind him is Col. John Doran, head of operations for the Sheriff’s Office, and Det. Capt. Mark Jackson.

Brandon Nodier, sentenced to 10 years in prison in a Chalmette court Friday in a 29-year-old murder case in which Dorothy Thompson, 61, owner of a pet cemetery in eastern St. Bernard was suffocated. Press release to follow.

Brandon Nodier, sentenced to 10 years in prison in a Chalmette court Friday in a 29-year-old murder case in which Dorothy Thompson, 61, owner of a pet cemetery in eastern St. Bernard was suffocated. Press release to follow.

Justice was delayed for more than 29 years in the murder of Dorothy Thompson, 61, who owned a pet cemetery in eastern St. Bernard Parish. But ultimately justice wasn’t denied when an Arabi man who worked for her as a groundskeeper pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a Chalmette courtroom Friday and received a 10-year prison sentence.

Brandon Nodier, 60, who had been free on bond since his 2012 indictment for second-degree murder, was remanded to St. Bernard Parish Prison by state District Judge Perry Nicosia, who accepted a plea agreement to a reduced charge of manslaughter that was worked out between the District Attorney’s office and defense attorney Patrick Fanning.

Nodier had been out of jail on a $300,000 but was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody after his guilty plea. The state Department of Corrections will determine what prison he is sent to.

Sheriff James Pohlmann said afterward, “I would have liked to see him (Nodier) spend the rest of his life in prison’’ but acknowledged the case had numerous challenges.

It relied almost solely on the testimony of a witness who came forward two years ago and said he saw Nodier kill Thompson at her home and then put her in the Mississippi River.

“There’s always a risk of going to trial’’ with little evidence, the sheriff said.

“It’s an old case.’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said, adding Nodier walked free for almost 30 years after the killing and probably thought he had gotten away with murder.

“I respect the decision’’ to take the manslaughter plea and get the conviction, the sheriff said.

Fanning said he thought it a fair deal considering the facts.

Assistant District Attorney Gregory Noto, who handled the prosecution, said “the record and the facts speak for themselves’’ and added the Sheriff’s Office had done a good job with it.

Nodier was arrested in April 2012 for the 1985 murder of Thompson, whose family owned a pet cemetery in rural eastern St. Bernard Parish which is now abandoned and overgrown with plant growth.

Her body was found May 2, 1985, in the Mississippi River on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish, weighted down in steel chains with a plastic bag tied with wire around her head. She had been smothered to death in the pet cemetery’s main house and dumped in the river.

Nodier, a balding man with white hair and mustache, answered “Yes’’ to Nicosia’s questions about his plea bfore the judge said he was satisfied Nodier was guilty in the murder.

He had become the cemetery groundskeeper in 1980 and had been the prime suspect in Thompson’s murder from the beginning but there was no solid evidence tying him to the death until the witness came forward. Col. John Doran, chief of operations for the Sheriff’s Office, said the key to the investigation was when detectives were trying to develop a cold case investigation of the Thompson murder and a woman whose name hasn’t been released forward.

The witness not only said he had been with Nodier and saw the murder, Doran said, but claimed Nodier had visited him in St. Tammany Prison several years ago and made a veiled threat over the Thompson case.

Doran said the motive for the killing was Nodier had tried toi cheat Thompson out of her land and she had filed a lawsuit against hi, The suit was scheduled for a motion in court when she was killed.Thompson’s heir later won the lawsuit following Thompson’s death.

At 27 years, at the time of the indictment of Nodier, it was one of the most enduring murder mysteries ever in St. Bernard Parish.

The 1985 suffocation death of Thompson, owner of the Azalea Original Pet Cemetery in eastern St. Bernard, was a case engulfed in a quagmire of intrigue, involving even a psychic used by State Police at one point.

There have also been tales that the ghost of the victim has been seen over the years.

Thompson disappeared in mid-April 1985, last seen at a bank in eastern St. Bernard, just several days before she was to appear in court in Chalmette in a lawsuit involving ownership of her property.

Her death was gruesome, with her partly-nude body found by fishermen on May 2, 1985, tied in chains in the Mississippi River on the east bank of in Plaquemines Parish. A plastic garbage bag was tied around her neck with metal wire.

St. Bernard sheriff’s detectives, who had reopened the Thompson murder investigation several years ago as part of a re-examination of several cold murder cases, have been looking for Nodier since the indictment was handed down at mid-day on Tuesday but he hasn’t been found.

Nodier, because of his association with the victim and the fact the two were embroiled in a lawsuit over her property, was considered for years to be the No. 1 suspect in her killing.

Detectives, although working on the Thompson case, didn’t have enough evidence to arrest and seek a murder indictment on him until the last several months, when a witness came forward with evidence involving the killing.

The murder case was a problem for investigators from the beginning because it wasn’t clear whether Dorothy Thoimpson was killed in St. Bernard where she lived or in neighboring Plaquemines Parish, where she was found in the river.

The cemetery had been there since it was opened about 1950 by Thompson’s mother, Grace Thompson, who died in 1978. Several hundred pets were buried there.

S.O responding to complaints of 4-wheelers driven illegally on streets, private property and levee system; Citations are being issued and vehicles are also impounded when riders can’t show proof

Posted: July 10th, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases
An all-terrain vehicle being driven illegally on a public road.

An all-terrain vehicle being driven illegally on a public road.

With summer in full-swing and young people out of school, Sheriff James Pohlmann reminds St. Bernard Parish residents that 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles can’t legally be driven on public highways or streets and are built and intended only for off-road use.

The Sheriff’s Office has been responding to complaints about ATV drivers riding not only illegally on streets and highways but also illegally on private property and levee systems, the sheriff said.

Citations are being issued when riders are found by sheriff’s deputies, sometimes thanks to specific complaints of residents who saw four-wheelers being driven illegally, but also the ATVs are impounded when the rider can’t present proof of ownership.

“Parents should know what the law says: ATVs are not legal on streets,” Sheriff Pohlmann said, and their use by both adults and juveniles is getting out-of-hand at times, prompting complaints from people who don’t want to hit or be hit by one of the vehicles.

“These things can only be driven off-road,’’ the sheriff said. “If you don’t have property for them to be driven on, you probably shouldn’t buy them.’’

“We are getting a number of complaints about 4-wheelers being driven on streets, on private property and on the Mississippi River levee,’’ the sheriff said. “And our deputies are dealing with this in many areas.’’

“There are reasons they can’t be legally driven in the street,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “They are unsafe in many situations, particularly when driven carelessly, and many people across the country have been killed or maimed in accidents in the last 10 years.’’

Also, ATV riders can’t just trespass on other people’s property or drive them on the river levee, as many people do. “People have the right not to have their property used without permission,’’ the sheriff said.

And it is a bad idea to illegally use them on a levee, he said “Obviously, the levee system is there to protect us from flooding from hurricanes and we don’t want them damaged by people riding on them. People simply will not be allowed to drive ATVs on them,’’ he said.

Four-wheel ATVs are popular with hunters, farmers, ranchers and workers at construction sites. They have the ability to haul small loads on attached racks or small dump beds.

But Sheriff Pohlmann said safety issues have been involved in their use since ATVs were introduced in the early 1970s and almost immediately there were alarming injury rates for children and adolescents.

Fortunately, the number of deaths and other accidents related to ATV use have generally dropped in recent years but more than 325 people died in 4-wheeler accidents nationally in 2011, the sheriff said.

More than 50 of those deaths were juveniles, some less than 10 years old, and more than 26,000 injuries were reported. And there is compelling evidence that people under 15 or 16 should never ride them, the sheriff said.

Sometimes, young people are seen driving 4-wheelers in St. Bernard, sometimes doing things like riding on streets with a younger sibling being pulled in a small trailer. “How dangerous is that? But our deputies have seen that,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.

Based on an analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank, ATVs are more dangerous than dirt bikes, possibly due to crush injuries and failure to wear safety gear such as helmets. They are equally as dangerous as motorcycles, based on mortality and injury scores. Also, more children and women are injured on ATVs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended no children under the age of 16 should ride ATVs. National associations of pediatricians, consumer advocates and emergency room doctors have urged the banning of sales of adult-size ATVs for use by children under 16 because the machines are too big and fast for young drivers to control.

Juveniles “are not developmentally capable of operating these heavy, complex machines,’’ said Dr. James Perrin, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics Most ATV manufacturers recommend at least a suitable DOT-approved helmet, protective eyewear, gloves and suitable riding boots for all riding conditions.

According to data just released in April by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also concluded 4-wheelers continue to pose a great danger to young people.

Sheriff warns against leaving young children or pets in vehicles; Violators would be booked with child desertion/ endangerment

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases

As extreme summer temperatures have arrived. Sheriff James Pohlmann warns residents against leaving young children or pets unattended in vehicles, even if they believe it will be for only a short period.

“Don’t risk the lives of your children or pets by leaving them in hot vehicles during the high temperatures of summer,” Sheriff Pohlmann said.

“Even if you believe you will only be a short period of time while running into a store it is illegal to leave young children alone,” the sheriff said. “And if something happens in a store that delays you from getting back to your kids the results could be tragic.”

Numerous children nationally have died of heat effects from being left in vehicles, he said.

It happened in St. Bernard Parish in 1998 when a toddler died in the back seat of a vehicle when his father forgot him there. Sheriff Pohlmann said.

“That is something I never want to see again,” the sheriff said.

Each year, adults in St. Bernard Parish are arrested when young children are found unattended in vehicles.

Any one caught leaving children alone in vehicles will be arrested and booked with child desertion/endangerment. Sheriff Pohlmann said.

Don’t forget that as well the risk of heat exhaustion, leaving children alone in a vehicle leaves open the chance of then being abducted or molested, the sheriff said.

“You could never forgive yourself if you allowed any of those things to happen to your child because you didn’t want to bother bringing them into a store.” Sheriff Pohlmsnn said.

Three men arrested in series of thefts of 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles and possession of stolen property

Posted: July 2nd, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases
tristan-eschette michael-dupuy

It began with an arrest of two men for theft of a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle with major help from a witness. But it soon blossomed into three more vehicle theft counts for one of them and the arrest of a third man on four vehicle theft counts as well as the recovery of a second stolen all-terrain vehicle and a stolen trailer, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

A witness reported seeing what seemed to be suspicious activity last weekend in Meraux, involving two men in a truck which carried a 4-wheeler, the sheriff said. The witness supplied a license plate number for the truck.

On Sunday, a 4-wheeler was reported stolen in the Lexington Place subdivision in Meraux and by Monday, based on the license plate being traced to an address in Meraux, the stolen 4-wheeler was recovered and two men were arrested, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

The stolen vehicle was found at 2424 Judy Drive at the home of Michael Dupuy, 19. Dupuy was booked with theft and possession of stolen property and a second man, Kevin Magee, 19, 2711 LaPlace Drive, Chalmette, was booked with theft.

Further information developed in a follow-up investigation by sheriff’s Detective Ryan Melerine led to Tristan Eschette, 21, 1507 Schnell Drive, Arabi, where a stolen trailer was recovered at his residence.

Eschette agreed to cooperate and admitted being involved in the theft of four-wheelers and the trailer and took detectives to a wooded area near the 40 Arpent Canal at the end of Aycock Street in Arabi where one stolen four-wheeler was found. Other stolen four-wheelers may also be in an area so covered with plant growth they haven’t been located at this time, the sheriff said. The investigation is continuing.

Eschette was arrested and booked with four counts of felony theft and one count of possession of stolen property, which was the trailer at his residence.

Based on information developed, Dupuy was additionally booked with theft of three more vehicles, for a total of four counts of felony theft and one count of possession of stolen property, the four-wheeler found at his residence.

All three arrested suspects were booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison and all have now been released on bond. Eschette was released on a $45,000 property bond, while Dupuy was released on a $7,500 personal surety bond and Magee on a $10,000 personal surety bond.

Violet man arrested after he shot a man in a leg and held him hostage in an apartment Monday night

Posted: July 1st, 2014 | Filed under: News Releases
Brandon Robinson, arrested after shooting a man in a leg and holding him hostage.

Brandon Robinson, arrested after shooting a man in a leg and holding him hostage.

Brandon Robinson, after he surrendered, sits handcuffed on the ground outside an apartment where he held a man hostage.

Brandon Robinson, after he surrendered, sits handcuffed on the ground outside an apartment where he held a man hostage.

A Violet man was booked Monday night with aggravated battery, home invasion. false imprisonment and other counts after he shot another man in the left leg inside an apartment building in Violet, then held him hostage for some two hours before surrendering, Sheriff James Pohlmann said.

Brandon Robinson, 31, 2516 Edgar Drive, Apt. A, shot the victim, Denair Riley, 21, of Violet just before 6 p.m. Monday, then kept Riley hostage in an apartment in the same building where Robinson lived, the sheriff said. Robinson surrendered more than two hours later following negotiations with sheriff’s officials after the sheriff’s SWAT team was called to the scene, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

A witness told investigating sheriff’s detectives that Robinson and Riley had argued in front of the apartment building and that Robinson had pulled a gun and forced Riley into Apt. B at the complex, next door to Robinson’s apartment, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

It was inside the apartment that a shot was fired and Riley was struck in the upper left leg. Robinson then refused to come out after sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene.

Sheriff’s detectives are continuing the investigation into what led to the shooting.

Robinson and Riley walked out of the apartment after Robinson agreed to surrender. Riley was taken to University Hospital in New Orleans, where he was listed in stable condition with no life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Robinson, whose criminal history includes prior arrests on drugs and weapons charges, was later booked into St. Bernard Parish Prison on numerous counts. Besides aggravated battery for the shooting, home invasion for going into someone else’s apartment and false imprisonment of Riley, Robinson was also booked with illegal discharge of a weapon and aggravated assault.