Louisiana news briefs

Ex-St. Landry Parish board member sentenced for bribery
LAFAYETTE (AP) — Former St. Landry Parish School Board member Quincy Richard Sr. has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for his federal bribery convictions.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik also ordered the 51-year-old Richard, of Opleousas, Tuesday to pay a $10,000 fine and serve three years of supervised release.
Richard was found guilty of bribery, aiding and abetting bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery Aug. 20 after a jury took 40 minutes to decide he was complicit in the solicitation of a bribe from a superintendent candidate in September 2012.
John Miller, another former board member, and Richard were indicted in an investigation launched after superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere brought the bribery allegations to federal authorities. Cassimere began working with the FBI, and agents videotaped a meeting at an Opelousas restaurant at which Richard and Miller accepted envelopes from Cassimere stuffed with $5,000 each.
Federal prosecutors alleged Miller and Richard, in return for the cash, pledged to vote in support of Cassimere for the job and to lobby other board members to do the same.
Miller, 72, of Opelousas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in a plea deal and agreed to testify against Richard and resign from the board in exchange for dropping the bribery and aiding and abetting bribery charges.
Miller was sentenced in November to home detention for 10 months and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.

Teche reports first
quarterly decline in 5 years
NEW IBERIA (AP) — New Iberia-based Teche Holding Co., the holding company for Teche Federal Bank, reported earnings dropped to $2.4 million, or $1.15 per share, for the three months ending Dec. 31, the first quarter of the company’s fiscal year.
It was the first time in five years that Teche’s per share earnings did not increase. A year earlier Teche reported earnings of $3.1 million, or $1.49 per share.
However, those results included an after-tax gain of $1.3 million from the sale of $46.3 million in mortgage loans. There was no similar transaction in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

Testimony: Nagin pressured Home Depot for business
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors in the federal corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin presented the jury on Tuesday with testimony and email evidence that Nagin pressured a national retail giant to do business with his family.
Ken Knutson, a lobbyist with The Home Depot, described Nagin, as well as community groups making demands on the retailer, as “shakedown artists” in testimony that centered on contracts the retailer granted to the ex-mayor’s granite business.
Testimony and email evidence indicated Home Depot officials were wary of dealing with Nagin as they sought to build a new store in New Orleans. But Home Depot granted contracts to the business owned by Nagin and his sons.
Prosecutors say Nagin, as he sought contracts from the retailer, worked to curtail a community group’s efforts to get an agreement with Home Depot to provide area residents jobs with health benefits and jobs at above market-rate wages. That agreement was never reached.
Home Depot has not been charged with wrongdoing in the case.
Earlier Tuesday, a city financial official told jurors that a movie theater built in the eastern part of New Orleans paid the city back only a fraction of a $5 million loan that was used to develop it.

Lafayette council to
redraw Vermilion boundary
LAFAYETTE (AP) — The Lafayette City-Parish Council has voted to push the parish line a bit south into Vermilion Parish, a move with murky implications because Vermilion Parish officials have not agreed to shift the border.
The council voted 6-3 on Tuesday to approve the new boundary, a move that comes after an October vote by the council to back out of a 2002 boundary agreement with Vermilion Parish that was thought to have ended years of dispute over the parish line.

Retired firefighter dies
in Loranger house fire
LORANGER (AP) — Authorities say a retired Kenner firefighter died in a Loranger house fire,
The state Fire Marshal’s Office say authorities found the body of 79-year-old George David Schilling early Tuesday morning inside a bedroom.
Authorities found Schilling after bringing the fire under control. Investigators believe Schilling died of asphyxia from smoke inhalation.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which consumed most of the two-story home.
Schilling worked as a fire truck driver for 20 years, retiring in 1986,

New system seeks
to ease traffic snarls in La.
BATON ROUGE (AP) — State police say a new statewide training system will get roads reopened more quickly following accidents.
The Traffic Incident Management system developed by the Federal Highway Administration is already in place in 33 states.
The system aims to make sure all first responders — police, fire, medical and even wrecker services — have the same training and information when arriving at an accident scene to streamline the process and reopen roads more quickly.
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said the ever-evolving role of a first responder and the people who are considered first responders make this type of program critical to public safety.

Man convicted of rape
gets 35 years behind bars
THIBODAUX (AP) — Authorities say a man convicted of rape has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for the March robbery and attack of a Raceland woman.
Lafourche District Attorney Cam Morvant II says 18-year-old Devon Richard, of Raceland, is one of three men accused in the March 6 incident.
Morvant said Richard admitted guilt to forcible rape and armed robbery.
Richard is the second to enter a guilty plea in connection with the rape and robbery of a then 20-year-old woman inside her home.
Darrel Thomas pleaded guilty last year to rape in exchange for having the armed robbery charge dropped by prosecutors. Thomas is serving a 30 year prison sentence.
The case against the third suspect, a 17-year-old, is still pending.
From The Associated Press.

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