Louisiana news briefs
Houma. man pleads guilty in gun shop burglary
GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to receiving stolen guns taken in a burglary at Cook’s Gun Shop in D’Iberville, Mississippi.
Kevin Parfait, 27, of Houma, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. will sentence him Nov. 6.
Parfait was arrested Feb. 27. Authorities said he and his co-defendant, John Ross Harold, 30, also of Houma, led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash on Cedar Lake Road.
Federal firearms agents found 25 stolen weapons in the vehicle.
Harold was taken to the hospital from the scene of the accident, but was later released.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has placed Harold on its most-wanted list.
Harold also is wanted in an attempted murder and home invasion reported in April in Terrebonne Parish. A $10,000 reward is offered for information leading to his arrest.
on banning pit bulls
HOUMA (AP) — Officials are researching the possibility of breed-specific legislation following three unprovoked attacks by pit bulls and a pit bull mix in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes since March.
The Lafourche Parish Council will discuss proposed vicious animal legislation at its Aug. 26 meeting, but a breed-specific ban isn’t part of the proposal. Last month, the Terrebonne Parish Council passed an ordinance that increased penalties for owners of dangerous and vicious dogs.
Morgan City and Mamou are among six Louisiana cities that ban pit bulls. Eighteen other cities and four parishes have restricted ownership of the breed and label it as dangerous or vicious.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals argues breed-specific laws are ineffective and expensive.
Fall inshore shrimp
season to open Aug. 18
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has voted to open inshore fall shrimp season on Aug. 18.
The agency monitors the growth of larvae and samples the size of the shrimp, factors that play into the decision on when to reopen coastal waters to shrimpers.
Alan Matherne, Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter Coastal, Fisheries and Outreach specialist for Terrebonne, Lafourche and Assumption parishes, said the opening date is when state biologists project 50 percent of white shrimp will be marketable size, or about 100 per pound.
For waters west of the Atchafalaya River, the season will open at 6 p.m. Waters to the east will open a half hour before sunrise.
Lawsuit filed against board
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Cajundome Director Greg Davis has filed a federal lawsuit against the Lafayette Parish School Board asking the court to intervene and protect the board’s operating budget and Superintendent Pat Cooper’s job.
Thursday’s filing comes one day after the board voted not to discuss Davis’ demand that it drop its investigation of Cooper and use 50 percent of last year’s budget for the upcoming school year.
In his lawsuit, Davis asks the court to make the board comply with a state law he said requires political agencies to roll forward with 50 percent of the prior year’s budget if they fail to adopt a budget by the end of the fiscal year.
The board’s attorney declined comment because he had not yet seen the lawsuit.
B.R. board freezes travel
BATON ROUGE (AP) — The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has voted to freeze all board member spending on out-of-district travel between now and Dec. 31, when the current board’s term expires.
The board on Thursday also shifted salary levels approved in May. That included adjusting salaries for bus drivers and paying more in stipends to some veteran teachers rated effective but who lack a master’s degree.
An Advocate review in November 2010 found that spending on travel by East Baton Rouge Parish School Board members had consistently grown in the previous years, reaching almost $62,000 during the 2009-10 fiscal year.
Lawyer admits to child porn
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Baton Rouge lawyer accused in May of receiving child pornography over a three-year span has pleaded guilty in federal district court.
William Steven Mannear, 62, faces a prison term of five to 20 years.
Mannear entered his plea on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick did not set a sentencing date.
Prosecutors alleged in a bill of information that Mannear used a computer to knowingly receive child porn from August 2009 through September 2012.
Lafayette woman gets
nearly 2½ years for fraud
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a Lafayette woman has been sentenced to nearly 2½ years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from the company where she worked.
U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley, in a news release, said U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote sentenced 61-year-old Bunnie Morris to 29 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Foote also Thursday ordered Morris to pay $337,049 in restitution to Waste Auditors Inc., where she worked as a financial accountant-bookkeeper from 2001 to 2009.
According to evidence presented at the Feb. 20 guilty plea, Morris forged signatures of corporate officials on numerous payroll, bonus, and expense account corporate checks processed through two banks totaling $579,050. She also orchestrated unauthorized payments to herself in the form of pay raises and bonuses.
Pension hike bill spurs
talk of process change
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Thibodaux lawmaker says he’ll push for legislative process changes after a retirement boost for the state police superintendent was slipped through the Legislature with no debate.
Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard says he wants to reform the conference committee process, a six-member committee used to work out disagreements between the House and Senate on individual bills. They rarely meet in public.
Richard, an independent, said Thursday the process needs more transparency and he’ll seek to change it in the 2015 regular session.
The pension hike for Col. Mike Edmonson was tacked onto an unrelated bill through a conference committee in the final hours of the last legislative session.
Lawmakers say they didn’t realize the implications when they approved the add-on.
After public criticism, Edmonson said he wouldn’t accept the increase.