A Monroe man was arrested for extortion of a Louisiana state representative. 31-year-old Roy Green sent threatening emails to the lawmaker saying if he didn't support the marijuana reform law he would personally see his office and livelihood were placed in danger. State Police Trooper Albert Paxton says they were alerted to the incident.
"They got that information in evidence, they found out who had sent it, found out where Mr. Green lived, went to Mr. Green and questioned him. Mr. Green admitted to the Facebook post," Paxton says.
Paxton says Green told police he didn't remember sending the email to the representative but only the Facebook post.
"Social media is not something to be used to threaten people. If you have a disagreement with someone you don't need to use social media to threaten, you don't need to threaten people period anyway," Paxton says.
Green has been charged with extortion and booked into the Ouachita Correction Center. Paxton says if convicted, he could face up to 15 years in jail.
"To threaten people or try to extort someone, especially because of their job, that is why he singled this person out was because of their position and title. We are going to arrest you and you are going to face the consequences of your actions," Paxton says.
A Baker Middle School teacher was charged with simple battery after she allegedly yanked a student's shirt because he refused to tuck it in. 47-year- old Deborah Anderson was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps says it is their job to protect everyone and that is why she was arrested.
"Grabbing and jerking that constitutes as simple battery. Any time you put your hands on someone, even if it's pushing, that is simple battery," Knaps says.
Knaps says the only time a teacher has a right to be physical is if a student could harm themselves. others, or the teacher.
"The principle there, he's a new principal, he give it a good effort. He doing the best in a while. They are still not having the structure that they need and I don't know where that interference comes from," Knaps says.
Baker School Superintendent Ulysses Joseph believes the police went too far in this case. But Knaps says teachers are not allowed to touch students. He says things like this wouldn't happen at Baker Middle School if there was a proper discipline structure.
A Galliano women faces more than 10 felony charges after stealing money from an elderly man. Charlene Romero confessed to deputies she went into the man's home on multiple occasions and took money without permission. Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Brennan Matherne says it is unclear if Romero befriended the elderly man just to get access to his money.
"They were able to pinpoint at least ten occasions when Romero took cash from the man's home. She was charged with multiple felony charges including ten counts of Theft's of Assets of an Aged/Disabled Person," Matherne says.
Matherne says the stealing increased after Romero would borrow money from the man and never paid him back. He says detectives are still investigating how much she ended up taking.
"Based on her admission, she never stole more than 400 dollars at a time but detectives are continuing their investigations," Matherne says.
Matherne says several thousand dollars are missing from the man's account. He urges people with elderly family members to stay involved with them and keep tabs on their accounts to make sure this doesn't happen.
"We definitely encourage people to watch out for their elderly relatives and get involved with their lives. Get involved and help them however they can," Matherne says.
So now that Glenn Ford is a free man after being wrongfully incarcerated at Angola for almost three decades, what's next for the Caddo Parish man? Alexandria Rep. Herbert Dixon, who sponsored the state's compensation statute, says Ford can now apply in court to receive $25,000 a year..
...up to $250,000 total.
"The court will then validate him as being innocent and wrongfully convicted," Dixon says. "That petition then will be submitted to the state legislature for consideration in its appropriations budget process."
Dixon says there is no amount of money that would make a person whole and give them back the 20-30 years they lost while sitting innocent in prison.
He says along with the money, Ford will also be considered by the state for dollars to be used on job training and healthcare.
Ford's death sentence was vacated by a judge Tuesday.
Dixon had a bill in 2012 that would have doubled Louisiana's maximum allowable compensation, but it died on the Senate floor. He is now working on a bill that would tax the state court system money specifically dedicated to funds for the wrongfully convicted.
Dixon says $250,000 is not nearly enough for a person to get their life back.
"What they've lost with their families. The productivity they've lost in society," said Dixon. "But what we CAN do as a state, is to try to get those people acclimated back into the general population as best we can. That's going to take some consideration of finance."
Adding to the continuing speculation that he is gearing up for a bid for the White House in 2016, Governor Bobby Jindal will deliver a speech in New Hampshire to the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference.
UL Lafayette political science professor Pearson Cross says this trip is a good indication of Jindal's intentions.
"It's a fairly clear sign he is putting out his name as a potential candidate for president or if that doesn't workout perhaps vice president.
As the first presidential primary on the road to the White House, New Hampshire always attracts possible presidential candidates. Cross says Jindal's attendance at this conference is very important for a number of reasons.
"He needs to be there in order to make sure that the Jindal name is still being tossed around on people's lips. So that they can see him, hear what he has to say, and to make a strong impression."
In a recent straw poll, Jindal finished in 10th place among other potential Republican presidential candidates. According to Cross, the results of this early poll don't appear to discourage the Governor.
"I would suggest he is not deterred at all, obviously he would like it better at the top, but there is always that question of peaking too early".
A flood insurance bill that blocks extremely high premium increases for thousands of Louisiana homeowners has cleared Congress. The Senate vote was 72-22 and the legislation now heads to President Obama's desk. Senator Mary Landrieu has been a huge player in working to get this bill passed. She says this is great news for the people of Louisiana.
"This bill stops the draconian rate increases on over 400-thousand families in Louisiana that would have been subject to very high and unaffordable rates for flood insurance," said Landrieu.
The rate increases were put in place under the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act but under the new compromise, homes that met code when they were built are protected from these huge spikes.
Landrieu says now people don't have to worry about losing their homes and having to turn them over to the bank because they can't pay their insurance bill.
"It was a hard fought bi partisan effort over 2 years but now we're going to send the bill to the President and he's committed to me and many others that he's not going to veto it," said Landrieu. "He says he's going to sign it and it will go into law immediately."
Under the 2012 law, some customers covered under the federal flood insurance program would have seen premium increases higher than 3,000 percent.
Now Landrieu says under the bill approved finally in the Senate Thursday, a much more affordable system would be in place to pay those rates annually.
She says the FEMA program still needs work.
"Getting a national flood insurance program that is affordable to people and available to people that also pays down the debt over time, that work still has to continue," Landrieu said.
The 3rd ranked LSU baseball team begins SEC play with a huge challenge as they visit fourth ranked Vanderbilt. Tonight's SEC opener features one of the best pitching match-ups of the year in college baseball. Vandy's Tyler Beede versus LSU's Aaron Nola. Two future first round picks. Nola says his focus will be on the Commodore hitters.
"It'll be me versus the first in the lineup," Nola said. "It's easier for me to just keep my mind on that and play for myself and play for my team. I'm just gonna go do my job."
Nola has yet to give up a run this season, while Beede has also been solid with an ERA of 1.08 in four starts.
He throws hard and LSU shortstop Alex Bregman says they'll have to be ready to swing away.
"We've faced guys in the past, either at LSU or before, that throw very hard. Well we face Nola and Broussard in scrimmages so you just go about it ready to hit and get ready to hit early and put a good swing on it," said Bregman.
Coach Paul Mainieri says with two great pitchers throwing tonight, he's not expecting a high scoring game.
"The ability to make plays, the ability to take advantage of the limited scoring opportunities that you have and the ability to stay away from giving free passes to the other team is going to be huge," Mainieri said.
Officials in Baton Rouge announce the 2014 Miss USA pageant will be held at the River Center in The Capitol City. Donald Trump operates the show together with NBC Universal. Visit Baton Rouge President Paul Arrigo says it's a huge honor they would select The Red Stick to host the summer event.
"We have a certain culture in this portion of Louisiana that no other area in the country has," Arrigo said. "We've got food, music, great historical sites. I think this is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Baton Rouge to the world as a great American city."
The Miss USA pageant will be on Sunday, June 8th. Bayou Country Superfest in Tiger Stadium will be held just two weekends before.
Arrigo says the word is rapidly spreading that The Red Stick is a great place to come for a great experience.
"I think it sets the record that Baton Rouge can successfully host major events," Arrigo said.
Arrigo says Bayou State residents should know this is a huge opportunity for Baton Rouge and the entire state of Louisiana.
"For the world to see what a great community we are, what great citizens we are, what friendly and helpful folks we are -- and as long as we're going to be that way, let's let everybody know," Arrigo said.
Tickets to the 2014 Miss USA pageant will be available to the public via Ticketmaster.
Another statewide poll has Congressman Bill Cassidy leading democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Hickman Analytics surveyed 400 likely voters last month and found that 46-percent of them plan to vote for Cassidy, while 42-percent say they'll vote for Landrieu. LSU Political Science Professor Kirby Goidel says the G-O-P should be encouraged by these results.
"They are going to see Senator Landrieu as a target and potential knock off for the republican party."
Cassidy is leading in this poll, even though the survey's results show the Baton Rouge republican only has a favorable rating of 25-percent. Goidel says based on this poll, not many people in Louisiana are familiar with Cassidy and he could be susceptible to negative advertising.
A Rasmussen poll in January also showed Cassidy with a four-percentage point lead over Landrieu.
A proposed new law that would create stricter penalties for littering cigarettes, will be discussed during this current legislative session. Marrero Representative Patrick Connick says the idea came up after there would be a monthly roadside clean-up and thousands of cigarette butts had to be scooped up.
"It's unbelievable. These people are littering and throwing their cigarette butts out. They don't think it's litter but it is litter and something needs to be done about it and they need to keep their butts in their cars," Connick says.
Connick says under this proposed law, people who throw their butts on to the ground could face a 300 dollar fine and eight hours of community service. He says other states have even harsher penalties for people tossing their cigarettes.
"In Illinois, it is up to a $ 2,500 fine if you are caught two or three times but the initial fine is $1,500," Connick says,
According to Keep America Beautiful, cigarette butts are the biggest cause of litter in the country. Connick says he wants this bill to make people aware that butts are litter and they need to be more conscious of how they are disposed. He says this bill will hit committee soon.
"They end up in our lakes and streams, lawnmowers hit them. The filters just puff up and don't go away. Something needs to be done and people just need to be aware," Connick says.
A 20-year-old Belle Chasse mother is in jail and faces a charge of first-degree murder in the poisoning death of her 17-month old son. Commander Eric Becnel, with the Plaquemine Parish Sheriff's office, says Erika Wigstrom admitted to using hand sanitizer to kill Lucas Ruiz.
"He had a medical condition that he had a feeding tube and she injected hand sanitizer into that feeding tube."
Lucas died on January 24th. The autopsy report came back last week and it showed his blood alcohol content was approximately .28. The legal limit for an adult is .08.
Authorities say Lucas was also poisoned in October 2012 and his father was arrested. But Becnel says Wigstrom has confessed that it was her who used perfume containing rum to try and kill her child in 2012.
The child reportedly suffered from down syndrome. Becnel says Wigstrom told authorities she didn't want her child to suffer anymore.
The president of the New Orleans nonprofit National Action Now, Rev Raymond Brown, calls for the US Justice Department to investigate the fatal in-custody shooting of Victor White III.
Brown says he has no confidence the State Police will conduct an impartial investigation.
"We really don't believe that the Louisiana State Police are going to be fair and impartial in their investigation.
Authorities say White was arrested on drug charges on March 2nd and while in an Iberia Parish Sheriff's deputy vehicle, he allegedly fatally shot himself while handcuffed. Brown wonders how does a man in handcuffs shoot himself in the back?
"It's sad when you got a murder and you got to cover it up, because it's their life that's at stake now."
While Brown waits on word of potential Justice Department Involvement, the Louisiana State Police Investigation remains open and may take weeks before it is complete. Ultimately Brown, says he just wants to get to the truth.
"That's why this thing has gone viral, has gone national, we're just trying to figure out what happened."
State Representative James Armes of Leesville has co-authored with Representative Frank Howard of Many, a bill that proposes a portion of Louisiana's beer tax go to the Wounded Warriors Fund.
Presently, the taxes collected from beer sales go into the general fund, and while Howard is aware there may be some opposition, he feels that returning this money to our soldiers is appropriate action to take.
"And if we get that through, that will be approximately five million dollars going into that fund for these men and women who have served our great country"
The funds collected from the tax would only benefit veterans of recent conflicts beginning with the Persian Gulf war of the early 90's. Howard moved to reintroduce the bill after having been inspired by the veterans from his own district.
"This bill will help those wounded warriors that served in Desert Storm, Iraq and also Afghanistan and we've got a number of those people who have been deployed from Fort Polk."
Presently, the taxes collected from beer sales go into the general fund, and while Howard is aware there may be some opposition, he feels that returning this money to our soldiers is appropriate action to take.
"I think it's the right thing to do because this money was dedicated many, many years ago and that's what it's dedicated for, for the veterans."
The Saints have agreed with running back running back Pierre Thomas on a two-year contract extension. NFL analyst Mike Detillier says it's a wise move for the Black and Gold. Detillier says not only is Thomas a good rusher, he's an excellent pass catcher and blocker.
"I know one thing, the happiest guy around is #9. The way he was getting knocked around last year, I want Pierre protecting me in the backfield. He is one of the best in the business doing that and as a screen pass receiver he is one of the best to wear the black and gold to do it," Detillier says.
Thomas led the team in rushing last year, he also caught 77 passes for 513 yards.
The Saints also made a big splash in free agency last night with the signing of free safety Jarius Byrd to a six-year contract. Detillier calls it the biggest free-agent acquisition since the signing of Drew Brees prior to the 2006 season. He says Byrd causes problems for opposing quarterbacks.
"He's had twelve interceptions the last three years for Buffalo. Together Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins combined for six over the last three years. He brings a new dimension to the table and he is their new quarterback for the defense," Detillier says.
Legislation banning anyone under the age of 18 from UV tanning passes the House Health & Welfare committee this morning by a vote of 17-1. A melanoma skin cancer survivor, Kristy Reece, spoke during the hearing in support of the bill. She testified to tanning when she was in high school, then being diagnosed with cancer when she was 31.
"A small mole on my left foot was found to have this life threatening disease that could kill me," Reece said. "All because I wanted to have a few shades of darker skin, when I was younger, that would fade in a few weeks. "
Greece says she wants to share how scary melanoma can be and that hopefully her story gives people a different outlook on tanning beds.
Kara Morgan, a 40-year-old mother of two, said during the meeting she has stage 4, incurable melanoma and attributes it to UV tanning.
"The first time I used a UV tanning bed I was 13. The last time I used a tanning bed I was 19," Morgan testified. "So it had been quite a while from the time I'd used tanning beds to when I was diagnosed with melanoma. And that's what they know now...research shows that the most dangerous time to use these machines is when you're a young adult."
Brian Trascher owns a Planet Beach franchise in Metairie and he also spoke in committee to support House Bill 746.
He says he strongly opposes anyone 17 and younger from coming to tan in a bed and he'd like to see it written into law so he doesn't have to argue with disagreeable parents who insist on letting their child UV tan.
"You know you see reality shows with these moms that have young kids in beauty pageants," Trascher said. "I thought it was just TV but it's not. They do come into my store. I've even had parents want to have their 6 or 7 year old come to UV tan."
New Orleans Rep. Helena Moreno's legislation now heads to House floor.
A New Orleans woman, who was once a victim of human trafficking, tells her sad story during a press conference in which Governor Jindal announced his push to crackdown on the horrific criminal activity. Clemmie Greenlee says she was walking to the store when she was 12, then was suddenly snatched up by men who were passing out gifts.
"They immediately put me in this car and pulled off. Then they took me to a house where there were already girls in a basement handcuffed, beaten and bleeding," Greenlee recounts. "Then these men immediately took me, drugged me up and gang raped me."
According to Shared Hope International, Baton Rouge ranks in the top ten cities in the nation for human trafficking. Jindal says there are millions of these women living in slavery who will go to sleep tonight praying for a way out.
He says this legislation would ensure these monsters are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
"Our warning is that you DO NOT want to do this in Louisiana," Jindal said. "You don't want to do this anywhere in the world, but you certainly don't want to do this in the state of Louisiana."
Two bills have been filed for this session that would put very stiff penalties on people who force a victim to provide commercial services, often times sexual, against their will.
The legislation also increases protections and remedies for victims.
Greenlee says the horror she experienced is one that will remain with her the rest of her life.
"I received stab wounds and stitches and I have the scars I can show you guys," said Greenlee. "It is so terrifying that at 12 years old, at 14 years old, 16 years old -- these men took an innocent life and destroyed it. I wanted to be an RN but instead I was labeled a prostitute."
Greenlee says she is grateful this issue is getting the attention it needs.
"Because I know there are still a lot of young girls that are somewhere tied up right now," Greenlee said.
The Saints were not expected to make to a big splash in free agency, because of limited salary cap space. But somehow New Orleans found enough dollars to sign 3-time Pro Bowl safety Jarius Byrd, who will play alongside Kenny Vaccaro in New Orleans secondary.
"Coming to terms with Byrd makes the Saints defense one of the very best in the NFL," NFL analyst Mike Detillier said. "He's the new defensive quarterback and a good one."
Byrd is 27-years-old and former second-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2009 draft.
In 73 games, he has 22 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. Byrd missed the first five games last season, because of a foot injury. His rookie season is the only other time he's missed time due to an injury.
He's considered one of the top players in this free agent market. The former Oregon standout will reportedly receive 28-million dollars in guaranteed money.
Byrd will replace safety Malcolm Jenkins in the Saints backfield. Jenkins signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Legislation has been filed that will allow teachers and principals to bring their guns into classrooms. The bill is by Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo who says this is in response to an increase in gun violence, particularly on school campuses.
Garofalo's bill will no doubt run into resistance from those on the side of the gun control debate who feel guns only create more problems. He feels this legislation will "take up the welcome mat" and send a clear signal to those who would do harm.
"We have to do something to show the criminals and the crazies that we are taking action and they may meet some resistance if they go onto those campuses," Garofalo said.
While the bill has not been scheduled for hearing at this time, Garofalo anticipates a committee hearing date will be set in the near future.
A Caddo Parish man on
death row has been released from Angola after a Caddo Parish District Judge
signed an order vacating Glenn Ford's first degree murder conviction and death
Ford has spent the
last 30 years on death row for the murder of a Shreveport Jewelry store owner,
who was found shot to death in 1983. Ford's attorney Gary Clements was quick to
praise the prosecution for their efforts in this case.
"New evidence has come up to show he is factually innocent. Evidence the prosecution brought to our attention, and to their credit, helped make this day possible," Clements said.
This new evidence
"supports findings that Ford was neither present at, nor a participant in
the robbery and murder of Isadore Rozeman."
Prosecutors, however, were
unwilling to state what the new evidence is, saying this information could
jeopardize a future case against the actual killer. Clements says three other
men were initially arrested at the same time as Ford, but never went to trial,
while went Ford went to jail.
"They put the wrong person on death row, in fact I know they put the wrong person on death row," said Clements.
Clements says Ford,
who did occasional odd jobs and yard work for Rozeman, has always maintained