Louisiana news briefs
Bill seeking crates
for dogs in trucks falls short
BATON ROUGE — A Kenner lawmaker’s attempt to require that dogs be placed in ventilated crates if they are in the back of a truck or on a utility trailer has failed to garner enough support for passage.
The bill by Republican Tom Willmott won’t become law this year after stalling in the Senate. It would have only involved vehicles on an interstate highway.
The House backed the idea, but Willmott couldn’t gain traction for the bill in the Senate.
Sen. Sherri Smith Buffington, of Keithville, handled the bill in the Senate. She pledged: “We’ll be back next year.”
Wilmott said he wanted to prevent incidents of dogs falling or jumping from the back of moving vehicles, especially on roads with higher speed limits.
Man booked for cruelty
to elderly relative
LAKE CHARLES — A 45-year-old Calcasieu Parish man has been arrested for allegedly hurting an elderly relative on two occasions
The Elderly Services Division of the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office said William Brent Rodgers was booked this week into the parish jail on two counts of cruelty to the infirmed. State District Judge Michael Canaday set bond at $150,000 and signed a “stay-away” order preventing Rodgers from having contact with the 76-year-old victim.
Investigators say Rodgers allegedly pushed the man into a bathroom wall, causing minor injuries. On another occasion, investigators say Rodgers is accused of pushing him again, causing him to fall into the bathtub and hit his head.
Woman pleads guilty
in aftermath of BP oil spill
NEW ORLEANS — A 36-year-old New Orleans woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to applications for financial help after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Attorney Dana Boente’s office said Wednesday that Rachell Thomas and about 22 co-conspirators created claim forms in which they falsely claimed to work for seafood restaurants and to have suffered financially through lost employment as a result of the spill. She and the others tried to defraud the Gulf Coast Claims Facility a total of $188,500. Thomas obtained $8,000 as a result of the alleged scheme.
Thomas faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for Sept. 18.
Girl, 7, kidnapped, raped; suspect arrested in N.O.
METAIRIE — A 29-year-old Kenner man has been arrested in the kidnapping and rape of a 7-year-old girl in Metairie.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said Steven David Carter faces one count of aggravated kidnapping of a child and one count of aggravated rape.
Deputies say the girl was kidnapped Wednesday afternoon by a man who entered through a broken gate at an apartment complex.
As deputies began investigating the child’s disappearance, a woman living two miles away called 911 to report that a child in front of her home told her she had been kidnapped by a man.
Deputies arrested Carter overnight in New Orleans.
East Feliciana Parish
school salaries frozen
CLINTON — East Feliciana Parish school employees won’t get annual step raises built into their salary schedules next school year unless the district’s financial picture shows improvement.
The School Board adopted a 2013-14 budget on Tuesday that cuts out the step increases for the second consecutive year and anticipates a smaller than usual “13th check” from a revenue source dedicated to employee salaries.
Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. said the board could revisit the pay raises later in the year when the school system learns how much state funding will be available.
The general fund budget anticipates revenues of $23.9 million and expenses of $23.62 million, with an operating surplus of approximately $200,000.
Intruder shot, killed in Lafayette home invasion
LAFAYETTE — Lafayette police continue to investigate a fatal home invasion.
Police say 43-year-old Spencer James Francis and a masked accomplice burst into a home just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday, brandishing handguns, only to be met by the home’s resident, who was also armed.
Cpl. Paul Mouton says an exchange of gunfire left Francis dead in the home’s entryway and sent his accomplice fleeing in a getaway car.
Mouton said the man who alleged shot Francis, 30-year-old Joseph Jean-Louis, has been booked on drug charges after investigators found narcotics inside the home.
He says police are still searching for the second intruder and the driver of the car authorities believed helped him flee the scene.
Pair indicted in teen’s death
LAFAYETTE — Two men have been indicted in the shooting death last year of a former high school basketball star.
A Lafayette grand jury returned a second-degree murder indictment Wednesday against 20-year-old Travonte J. Broussard, of Lafayette.
The panel also indicted 20-year-old Nicholas Felix, of Lafayette, as a principal to second-degree murder.
The indictment says he “intentionally participated” in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Frederick Joseph, who played basketball at Westgate High School in New Iberia.
Joseph, who was attending the North Dakota State College of Science on a basketball scholarship at the time, was shot to death in a fast food restaurant parking lot.
Broussard and Felix are each being held on a $1.5 million bond.
Houma businessman pleads guilty to federal charges
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The president and owner of Houma-based Cenac Towing pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally funneling campaign contributions above the legal limit to Louisiana’s two U.S. senators.
Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., 57, of Houma, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison following his guilty plea to making false statements to the Federal Elections Commission. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 5 by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.
Federal prosecutors say Cenac used personal and corporate accounts to purchase cashier’s checks and submit campaign donations in the names of other people without their knowledge.
“Mr. Cenac, in an effort to increase his political contributions, structured his financial transactions and created false documents,” U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said in a statement. “This prosecution should serve as a warning to people who attempt to hide their identity and make contributions in excess of legal limits.”
Cenac agreed to a $170,000 civil settlement last year with the FEC for funneling thousands of dollars above the legal limit to the campaigns of Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter. Landrieu and Vitter aren’t accused of wrongdoing.
From The Associated Press.