Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. CDT

October 01, 2018 - 12:00 am

TROOPER ACCUSED

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.

INDICTED TRUMPETER-AUDIT

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.

SCHOOL SAFETY GRANT

Louisiana gets $3.6M federal grant for school safety work

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is receiving a $3.6 million, five-year federal grant to help schools develop emergency operation plans and perform school safety training.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' office announced the grant Monday. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Education.

The governor's office says Louisiana's education department and Louisiana State University's counter-terrorist education academy will use the money to offer schools technical assistance and training on how to respond to disasters and emergencies.

Edwards says the LSU academy has a history of working with national experts to help devise emergency response plans.

UNANIMOUS JURY

Koch network pushing passage of Louisiana unanimous jury law

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A conservative organization funded by the Koch network has launched a digital ad aimed at ending Louisiana's law allowing split juries to convict people of serious felony crimes.

Americans for Prosperity-Louisiana announced Monday the online advertising campaign will be combined with direct mail and other outreach in support of the constitutional change on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Currently, some serious felony trials in Louisiana can be resolved when 10 out of 12 jurors agree on a person's guilt. Amendment 2 would require jury verdicts to be unanimous in all felony cases.

Americans for Prosperity's ad says current law makes it too easy to send innocent people to prison.

Support of the amendment has put the organization at odds with some high-profile conservatives in Louisiana, including Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry.

BURNED WOMAN-MISSISSIPPI-THE LATEST

The Latest: Prosecutor unsure on third trial in burning case

BATESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi prosecutor says he isn't sure yet whether he will seek to try a man a third time on charges that he set a woman on fire in 2014.

Panola County District Attorney John Champion told reporters Monday that Quinton Tellis will be sent to Louisiana to face charges there after a second mistrial on capital murder charges in north Mississippi.

A judge declared the mistrial Monday after jurors told him they were deadlocked. Jurors also couldn't reach a verdict in Tellis' first trial last year.

In Louisiana, the 29-year-old Tellis has been indicted on a murder charge in the stabbing death of Meing-Chen Hsiao, a Taiwanese former graduate student, in the city of Monroe. Tellis has pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of Hsiao's debit card.

Defense attorney Darla Palmer tells reporters that the second trial "feels like a 'not guilty' to me."

LSU HOSPITALS

New manager takes over north Louisiana safety-net hospitals

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The state-owned safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana have a new manager.

A new company jointly controlled by Louisiana State University and Ochsner Health System took control Monday of the hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe.

The facilities care for the poor and uninsured and help train LSU medical students.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration brokered the new oversight deal, to replace BRF, which managed the hospitals since 2013 under a privatization deal crafted by former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.

BRF repeatedly clashed with LSU and state officials over money and contract terms. BRF leaders released a letter Monday defending their tenure and supporting the transition.

The management contract with Ochsner runs for 10 years, with two possible extensions of five years each and costs more than BRF was paid.

FATAL BEATING

Sheriff: Suspect in Louisiana slaying arrested in Panama

(Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com)

GRETNA, La. (AP) — A Louisiana sheriff says a slaying suspect who fled the country has been arrested in Panama.

The New Orleans Advocate reported Saturday that Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto says 40-year-old Saleh Omar, of Terrytown, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Officials say Omar fled the country this month following the September death of a 29-year-old man who was found suffering blunt force trauma. Another suspect, a 17-year-old boy, also has been arrested in connection with the slaying and charged with second-degree murder.

Omar was arrested in Panama City, Panama and extradited to Miami, Florida. He's awaiting further extradition to Jefferson Parish. It's unclear if the suspects have lawyers.

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LEAD-SCHOOLS

No unsafe drinking water lead levels found at 12 schools

(Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Health officials found no significant lead levels in the drinking water of a dozen of Louisiana's older public schools.

The Advocate reports some of the tests found some lead, but the results were below the 15 parts per billion that would've initiated action by state authorities.

Louisiana's health officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, cautioned that a dozen test results aren't enough to make sweeping statements. Guidry says school systems should test their own water.

The Louisiana Department of Health's Office of Public Health was charged by the Legislature to conduct tests at public schools as part of a pilot program to inform lawmakers of a growing situation in which aging infrastructure is fast endangering the drinking water in some municipalities and parishes. A final report will be delivered to the Legislature.

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