Several murder cases on parish court docket

Several murder cases connected to eastern St. Mary Parish are making their way through the court system. Another has yet to see an arrest.

Junior Weston, 46, accused of the murder of Dominique Bennett in Patterson Dec. 12, was indicted for second degree murder Feb. 5 by a 16th Judicial District Court Grand Jury.

Weston was arraigned Feb. 20 and entered a plea of not guilty. His trial is set for July 22.

Weston, of Williams Street in Patterson, originally was charged with first degree murder the day after Bennett’s death. The victim was found in a Williams Street apartment in Patterson.

Weston also had a hold listed for parole violation.

He is being held in the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility in Ferriday.

In a separate case, a pre-trial motion to suppress evidence was heard Thursday in the case of Darby Mack Frickey, 39, of Bayou Vista.

Frickey is accused of the second degree murder in the death of Mark Berthelot and is scheduled to go on trial May 6.

Berthelot, 38, had been missing since the beginning of October 2011. His remains were found Nov. 18, 2011, in a sugarcane field off La. 317 in Centerville with the body being positively identified as Berthelot Dec. 2, 2011.

Frickey was arrested Dec. 5, 2011, and was indicted in January 2012.

The motion to suppress evidence was heard by Judge Jim McClelland who is scheduled to rule Tuesday. Other pretrial motions were heard at the end of December, according to the Clerk of Court’s office.

Frickey remains jailed in the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center.

Wilbert Thibodeaux was charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of arson from the shootings and fire that occurred in Charenton near Cypress Bayou Casino on Jan. 26.

He is scheduled for a grand jury appearance March 19, according to public defender Craig Colwart. The St. Mary Clerk of Court’s office confirmed that a grand jury has been empaneled for that date. Because the murder charges involve a life sentence or death penalty, the case must go before the grand jury.

Colwart, an attorney for the 48-year-old Charenton man, said the movement for a two-doctor sanity commission to hear Thibodeaux’s case has been postponed while an investigation into his mental health continues.

Colwart previously stated that Thibodeaux “exhibited bizarre behavior” before and after the Jan. 26 shootings that also wounded two St. Mary Parish deputies.

“We are continuing our investigation and uncovering information into his mental status … There’s so much. The more we investigate, the more we find,” Colwart said.

Colwart said he and other investigators are conducting interviews to get a picture of Thibodeaux’s life in the weeks leading to late January. That investigation, he said, includes obtaining records from several “facilities.”

Thibodeaux made his first appearance in 16th Judicial District court in Iberia Parish on Jan. 28 where the judge ordered him to be held without bail.

Thibodeaux was charged in the shootings that wounded two St. Mary Parish sheriff’s deputies, Matthew Strickland, 24, and Jason Javier, 23; as well as the deaths of Chitimacha police Sgt. Rick Riggenbach, 52, and 78-year-old Eddie Lyons of Charenton.

He was first held in Iberia Parish for safety reasons, then transferred to St. Mary briefly before being moved to the state penitentiary in Angola and then to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel where he remains.

District Attorney Phil Haney said Thibodeaux will be tried in St. Mary Parish.

The death of 18-year-old Keyiona Chenevert of Bayou Vista remains under investigation.

“The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division is actively investigating the homicide. Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, no further details will be released at this time,” said Traci Landry, sheriff’s office spokeswoman.

Chenevert was found dead in an apartment on Three B’s Lane, off Pluto Street in Bayou Vista, on Jan. 21.

If anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, contact the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office at 985-384-1622 or 337-828-1960.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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