Louisiana news briefs
Feds want time to decide on retrial of BP engineer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal prosecutors are asking a judge for additional time to decide whether they should appeal an order throwing out the conviction of a former BP engineer in connection with the 2010 Gulf oil spill investigation.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled last week that Kurt Mix was entitled to a new trial on an obstruction-of-justice charge because of misconduct by a juror in his 2013 trial.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that deciding whether to appeal Duval’s order will take time and will require involvement of top Justice Department officials. They asked for an exclusion from federal speedy-trial requirements. The Speedy Trial Act calls for a trial within 70 days of a new trial being ordered but also contains provisions for delays.
Prosecutors accused Mix of deleting text messages to stymie a grand jury investigation.
Baton Rouge area home sales rebound in May
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Home sales in metro Baton Rouge increased by 8.9 percent in May, rebounding after a sales drop in March and sluggish growth in April.
According to figures released Tuesday by the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors, there were 910 home sales that closed in May in the nine-parish area.
That compares with 836 closed sales in May 2013.
The biggest monthly gainer was Livingston Parish, where sales were up 18.9 percent from 132 to 157. Ascension Parish had a 12.2 percent sales gain, from 147 sales in 2013 to 165.
The median sales price was up 1 percent from $173,500 to $175,250 last month.
Slidell neighborhood dolphin dies
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A dolphin that spent nearly a decade cavorting in a neighborhood canal north of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans has died.
The male dolphin had freshwater lesions on its skin when last seen June 6, but the body removed from a canal Monday was too decomposed to determine the cause of death, federal biologists said Tuesday.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recovered the body the day after a neighbor reported spotting it, said Erin Fougeres, a marine mammal biologist with NOAA Fisheries.
A necropsy conducted at the Audubon Nature Institute’s Aquatic Center found that few organs remained intact and most of the skin had sloughed off, she said.
The dolphin, which previously lived with its parents in the canal before Hurricane Katrina, returned alone after the 2005 storm and was a popular sight, neighbors said.
4 Lafayette deputies jailed in inmate’s beating
LAFAYETTE (AP) — State police say four deputies who were fired from the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office in April following an inmate’s beating have been arrested.
Trooper Stephen Hammons says investigators determined that two of the deputies beat the man in a jail cell while the other two watched and did and said nothing.
Hammons says 33-year-old Michael McSheffrey, 28-year-old Brandon Gallien, 28-year-old Adrian Theriot and 33-year-old Scarla Celestine were arrested Tuesday on one count each of second-degree battery and malfeasance. Bond for each was set at $3,000.
Sheriff Mike Neustrom had asked for state police assistance after the early April incident that hospitalized the inmate for days.
Airport tax election gets council OK
LAFAYETTE (AP) — One hurdle remains before finalization of a Dec. 6 sales tax election for Lafayette Regional Airport.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted 7-1 Tuesday to call the election asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parish-wide to help pay for a new airport terminal and parking lot.
Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse says the next and final step to calling the election is to get approval from the State Bond Commission in August or September. He says there’s no reason to expect the bond commission won’t approve the measure.
Voters will be asked to approve a 1-cent sales tax on all sales in the parish except food and prescription medication. The tax would be collected from April 1, 2015, through Nov. 30, 2015.
Pit bull mauls
12-year-old Washington boy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Police say a 12-year-old Washington boy is in the hospital after a pit bull attack.
Police Chief Ronelle Broussard said his office was informed of the attack around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Broussard says the animal allegedly attacked the investigating officer, forcing the officer to shoot and kill the dog.
Opelousas General Health System admitted the boy for injuries to his arm and stomach.
Broussard said officers arrested the dog’s owner on suspicion he has violated the town’s pit bull ordinance.
The St. Landry Parish town passed an ordinance in 2012 requiring pit bulls to be kept on leashes with muzzles or in kennels with secure roofs and floors at all times.