Louisiana news briefs
1 dead in Krotz Springs shooting
KROTZ SPRINGS (AP) — Police in Krotz Springs are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old man.
The victim was identified as James “Ricky” Guillory Jr. Circumstances surrounding Monday night’s shooting are still cloudy. Police have one person in custody but aren’t saying much else.
Guillory’s parents want to know what happened to their son. They say the lack of information and communication with police is most concerning.
James Guillory Sr. says they’re not getting any answers from police. “They more or less gave us the run around,” he said.
Police say the death is still an active investigation and information will be released in the coming days.
Police officers face payroll fraud,
NEW ORLEANS (AP)— Two New Orleans police officers are in custody, facing charges of payroll fraud and theft.
The FBI and officers in the police department’s Public Integrity Bureau on Wednesday arrested 39-year-old Rafael Dobard and 33-year-old Quincy Jones.
In a news release, the FBI says Dobard and Jones allegedly submitted timesheets to both the department and the Housing Authority of New Orleans with overlapping work periods, seeking payment from each for the same time periods. Both men worked security details at various locations for HANO.
The FBI also alleges both men were stealing money intended for confidential investigative purposes.
The officers were placed on emergency suspension and taken into federal custody.
Dobard, an eight-year veteran, and Jones, on the force for 11 years, both were assigned to the Fourth District Narcotics Unit.
Mayor, pro tem
at odds over sales tax dedication
NEW IBERIA (AP)— New Iberia Mayor Pro Tem Dan Doerle says a half-cent sales tax proposed by Mayor Hilda Curry should be dedicated to public works and New Iberia Parks and Recreation.
The stance puts Doerle at odds with Curry, who has proposed dedicating revenue from the proposed tax to public works and public safety.
The city already has a one cent sales tax in place to cover law enforcement, the fire department and public works, which brings in $7.2 million a year. Curry says that’s still not enough. Curry says all law enforcement expenses costs the city $6.4 million a year, so her proposal for a sales tax covering fire, law enforcement and public works would still be stretched.
Thibodaux mayor introduces budget
THIBODAUX (AP)— Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete has told the City Council that he has aggressively sought to cut costs in his new proposed budget, but rising costs are inevitable.
The city expects to spend just under $35 million next year. The budget is up about 22 percent.
There is increased spending for wastewater system improvements, including sewer lines.
The general fund operating budget — money spent on salaries, recreation programs and such — comes in about $200,000 higher than last year’s total. Eschete said the increase in operating expenses is mostly because of mandated increases in retirement contributions and health care programs.
State response costs for sinkhole reach $11M
BATON ROUGE (AP)— Louisiana agencies have spent $11 million so far on response efforts to the massive sinkhole in Assumption Parish.
The Legislative Fiscal Office released the updated figure this week, saying most of the money was spent by the Department of Natural Resources on an outside contractor that is doing testing and drilling at the site.
The state is seeking reimbursement of its response spending from Texas Brine, because officials say the sinkhole was caused by the collapse of a salt dome cavern operated by the company.
The company hasn’t repaid the state for its costs, and the attorney general’s office sued Texas Brine earlier this year.
The sinkhole was discovered in August 2012 in a swampy area around Bayou Corne. About 350 residents in the community remain under an evacuation order.
Chevron to relocate Gulf airbase to Galliano
GALLIANO (AP)— Chevron says it will relocate its Gulf of Mexico airbase facility in Leesville to the South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr. Airport in Galliano.
The new $29 million facility will replace the company’s offshore facility in Leesville which has been in use since the 1960s.
The company’s new Greater Gulf of Mexico Airbase is scheduled to open in 2014. Officials say it will provide capacity to transport up to 6,000 workers monthly to and from offshore oil platforms and drilling rigs. It also will be adaptable and expandable.
Parish and state leaders were on hand to take part in a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
Oakdale man face charges in death of grandfather
OAKDALE (AP)— An Oakdale man has been charged in the slaying of his grandfather.
Police Chief Scott LaBorde says 18-year-old Laken Johnson is being held without bond in the Allen Parish jail on a second-degree murder charge.
Johnson is accused of fatally shooting his grandfather, 64-year-old Norman Ray Johnson, around 9 p.m. Monday at the elder Johnson’s home. The defendant lived with his grandfather.
LaBorde says the suspect allegedly shot his grandfather once in the left side with a 12-gauge shotgun. The shotgun was recovered by police.
LaBorde says Johnson confessed to the slaying, but he didn’t provide a motive. He says after the shooting, Johnson went to a friend’s house and the friend notified police.
for water systems
NEW ORLEANS (AP)— Louisiana's health department says it has issued an emergency rule requiring that water systems in the state maintain a higher disinfectant level.
The rule announced Wednesday also will require systems to increase their water sampling sites by 25 percent.
The department says most drinking water systems in Louisiana will be required to meet the higher standard by February.
The new rule follows the discovery in recent months of a deadly amoeba in two Louisiana water systems.
The amoeba was found in water treated by St. Bernard Parish, where a boy was infected in August, and a DeSoto Parish district where a woman died in 2011.
The health department says it is also convening a group of experts to discuss the amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri.
3 ex-officers who won new trial seek prison release
NEW ORLEANS (AP)— Three of the former New Orleans police officers who won a new trial in connection with deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina have asked a federal judge to release them from prison.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt didn’t immediately rule on the separate requests for bond filed Tuesday and Wednesday by lawyers for former Sgt. Kenneth Bowen and former officers Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso.
In September, Engelhardt cited allegations of “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct in deciding to order a new trial for five former officers convicted in the 2005 shootings on the Danziger Bridge.
Engelhardt already has set bond for former Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, who was convicted of orchestrating a cover-up but wasn’t charged in the shootings that killed two unarmed residents and wounded four others.
Prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to the latest bond requests.
Bowen’s attorney, Robin E. Schulberg, said her client is willing to submit to whatever conditions of release the court would choose to impose.
Bowen, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and the other three officers convicted in the shootings have remained in custody since they surrendered to federal authorities following their 2010 indictment. Faulcon was sentenced to 65 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Faulcon fatally shot 40-year-old Ronald Madison, a mentally disabled man, in the back on the west side of the bridge as he and his brother ran from gunfire on the bridge’s east side, where 17-year-old James Brissette had been shot and killed by police.
The Justice Department has appealed Engelhardt’s decision to throw out the convictions.
Schulberg argued that her client’s prolonged detention is unconstitutional under the circumstances.
“Bowen is not the cold-blooded killer that the government made him out to be but rather a diligent police officer who answered another officer’s call for help in the midst of the lawlessness and violence which followed the worst natural catastrophe in New Orleans’ history,” she wrote.
Villavaso was convicted of firing weapons on the bridge and participating in a cover-up, among other charges.