10 murders investigated during year
Willie Francis’ body was found Oct. 30 in a ditch in Berwick. The Daily Review Photo by Courtney Darce.
Ten murders in St. Mary Parish in 2013 gave the parish a per capita murder rate of 18.6 murders per 100,000 people, on par with 2012 per capita rates in Chicago (18.5) and Atlanta (18.9).
The killings began on Jan. 21 when Keyiona Cheneverts, 18, was shot in the head in her Bayou Vista apartment. Marcus Hamilton, 18, was arrested by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 28 and charged with second-degree murder.
On Jan. 26, two people, including a policeman, were killed in Charenton.
Eddie Lyons, 78, was shot and died inside his mobile home that had been set ablaze and Chitimacha tribal police Sgt. Rick Riggenbach, 52, was gunned down when he responded to the scene.
Wilbert Thibodeaux, 49, was charged with first-degree murder by the Louisiana State Police in the killings. His attorneys have filed court papers arguing that he is mentally unstable.
Charles Douglas Chandler II, 21, was charged with first-degree murder in the April 29 shooting death of Wade Blackburn, 18, who was found after sheriff’s deputies responded to a 12:45 a.m. report of gunshots fired on Columbus Avenue in Bayou Vista.
Justin Patterson and his sister, Jessicah Johnson, 21 were indicted for second-degree murder in the Morgan City shooting death of Mikki Dauntain, 23, on May 20.
Six other people were charged in the case by assistant District Attorney Anthony Saleme with various offenses after the killing. They have family ties to either Patterson, or his girlfriend Ashley Nicole Rudolph, 21, who was one of the eight total people charged.
A June 4 murder-suicide in Patterson claimed the life of Kelly Lightsey, 42, who was killed by her estranged husband William Lightsey, 55, before he turned the gun on himself, according to Patterson Police Chief Patrick LaSalle.
Morgan City police said Keith Murphy, 51 admitted killing Robert Gasek, 57, by bashing him in the face at least twice with a guitar on Aug. 15. Murphy said he and Gasek had been drinking beer, got into an argument about tuning a guitar and Gasek was struck in the face with the instrument, according to a police report.
Fernando Ariano, 34, is accused of having shot and killed his brother, Mario Barahona, 29, during an argument on Aug. 31 at a Morgan City apartment during the Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum festival where they had been drinking.
Jazmine Jamal Jackson, 23, was indicted for second-degree murder for putting two bullets into the head of Jarnell McDaniel, 24, of Franklin, on Sept. 30. An affidavit of probable cause said Tamika Jackson told police her son was the gunman. Jazmine Jackson shot the victim; at some point telling his mother, “I can’t stand a McDaniel,” the affidavit stated.
Kaysha Francis, now 16, and her boyfriend Kirkland Craft, 22, were indicted for first-degree murder in the Oct. 29 stabbing death of Willie Francis. Kaysha Francis is not related to the victim, Saleme said.
Francis’ body was found in a ditch on Oct. 30 by Berwick police who jointly investigated the killing with sheriff’s detectives.
Kaysha Francis told detectives she and the victim drove to an unknown location where he made unwanted advances toward her and she stabbed him in self-defense, according to an arrest affidavit. Craft told investigators he stabbed the victim about 10 times, “in defense of his juvenile girlfriend,” an affidavit stated.
Two others were arrested for accessory to second-degree murder in the case.