Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. CDT

October 02, 2018 - 12:00 am


Man free after arrest on false shooting accusation

(Information from: The Advocate,

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man who spent nearly two months in jail after being accused of shooting at a Louisiana police officer has been freed, as evidence indicated that only the officer fired a gun.

Twenty-one-year-old Raheem Howard was released early Tuesday. He had faced a charge of attempted murder of a Baton Rouge police officer. But a prosecutor later said there was insufficient evidence for the charge. The Advocate reported that audio from the police car's rear camera and a neighbor's surveillance video supported Howard's claim that only one gunshot was fired after the Aug. 7 traffic stop.

Howard remained in jail until Tuesday because his probation was revoked for earlier convictions.

The officer, Yuseff Hamadeh, was initially placed on paid administrative leave, but later returned to desk duty,



Prosecutor mulls Louisiana trial as Mississippi jury hangs

(Information from: The News-Star,

MONROE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana prosecutor says his office will confer with Mississippi counterparts before trying a man accused of murder.

Assistant District Attorney Geary Aycock tells The News-Star of Monroe that no decision has been made on trying Quinton Tellis there after a Mississippi jury couldn't reach a verdict on separate murder charges.

Tellis is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 death of Ming-Chen Hsiao. The Taiwanese woman had been a university student.

A mistrial was again declared Monday in Tellis' trial on capital murder charges in the 2014 burning death of Jessica Chambers. Another jury in Batesville, Mississippi, told a judge they were deadlocked and couldn't reach a verdict.

Tellis has already pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of Hsiao's debit card. He also faces a drug charge in Monroe.



Sheriff: Someone attempted to burn body of woman found dead

(Information from: American Press,

CAMERON, La. (AP) — A Louisiana sheriff says someone used gasoline to burn the body of a woman found dead alongside a Cameron Parish road.

Sheriff Ron Johnson tells the American Press someone likely tried to set 32-year-old Mitzie B. Galimidi's body on fire to destroy evidence. He says the state fire marshal's office says rain likely prevented the fire from burning the woman's corpse.

A school bus driver spotted Galimidi's body Wednesday morning. Johnson says Galimidi was already dead when she was brought to the scene and her body seems to have been there for less than 24 hours. He says her cause of death is pending toxicology and autopsy results, and it's unclear if her death was a homicide.

He says the illegal dumping of a body is a crime.



Man accused of setting gas pump on fire with stolen lighter

(Information from: The New Orleans Advocate,

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana man is accused of setting a New Orleans gas pump on fire with a lighter stolen from the gas station's convenience store.

Citing a Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal release, The New Orleans Advocate reports 32-year-old Marlon Coleman was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated arson. The release says Coleman put the lit lighter near where the pump's nozzle connected to the fuel tank of his truck.

The pump caught fire and another man put out the blaze. It says Coleman then asked the man to be a witness in a lawsuit Coleman planned to file. It says the man declined and Coleman left the scene. It says Coleman was identified through store surveillance video.

It's unclear if Coleman has a lawyer who can comment.



Louisiana women accused of stealing $1.8 million in metal

(Information from: The News-Star,

MONROE, La. (AP) — Two women have been arrested and charged with stealing nearly $2 million in metals from a plant in Louisiana.

The News-Star reported the metals were taken from Ardagh Glass in Simsboro.

Fifty-year-old Wendi Spillers and her wife, 50-year-old Alicia Spillers, have been charged with burglary and felony theft.

The Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office said it got a report from Ardagh that hundreds of nickel plungers and other "prized metals" used in glass-making were stolen.

Detectives say Wendi Spillers was selling similar items at a recycling plant in Bastrop where Alicia Spillers recently lost her job.

Tickets for sales to the recycling plant go back to November. The total value of the theft is estimated to be in excess of $1.8 million.

It was not known if the women have attorneys.



AP: Firms sell school 'hardening' as mass shooting solution

Security companies are succeeding in their quiet campaign to elevate the fortification of schools over other approaches to prevent mass shootings of students.

Industry pushed the "hardening" of U.S. schools for years, but cost and other concerns slowed sales for products such as bullet-resistant doors and smoke cannons that spew haze to confuse a shooter.

An Associated Press investigation shows how the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, changed that.

Industry representatives saw an opportunity and used an ongoing influence campaign to persuade lawmakers to spend big on upgrades. Since February, Congress has greenlighted $350 million for equipment and other school security. States have approved another $450 million.

Educators and experts say mass school shootings remain uncommon and that mental-health counseling reduces violence more effectively.


State audit: Trumpeter's lavish trips may have broken law

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new state audit says a New Orleans trumpeter and his partner spent nearly $180,000 on trips and entertainment over seven years, and may have broken state laws by using donations and grants for themselves.

News agencies report that the audit of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra adds details to earlier allegations against Irvin Mayfield and pianist Ronald Markham.

Their attorneys call the report reckless and "contrary to known facts."

The two longtime business and musical partners are scheduled for trial next year on federal charges alleging they diverted $1.4 million raised for the New Orleans Public Library system to the jazz orchestra and themselves.

They have pleaded not guilty.


Trooper arrested, charged in use of law enforcement data

BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) — Louisiana State Police say one of their troopers has been arrested.

State police said in a Monday news release that Trooper John C. Kelly of Troop G in northwest Louisiana faces a charge of felony abuse of office. The release says an investigation showed that Kelly used his access to law enforcement databases for unauthorized activities. The release did not provide details.

It said Kelly was placed on leave when the investigation began in August.

Online records show the 34-year-old Kelly was jailed Monday at the Bossier Parish maximum security lockup after turning himself in. His bond was set at $10,000. It was unclear whether he had an attorney who could comment for him.

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