Louisiana news briefs
2 New Orleans drug detectives plead guilty
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two New Orleans Police Department drug detectives pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing from a fund to pay informants and to double-dipping.
Rafael Dobard, 39, and Quincy Jones, 33, each entered pleas to two counts of conspiracy — one to commit wire fraud and one to steal from programs getting federal money, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite.
They acknowledged that the department paid Dobard about $6,300 and Jones about $6,800 for hours when they were really at off-duty guard jobs.
Payroll records show that Jones — an 11-year veteran — got $32,063.84 in take-home pay from January 2012 through August 2013, including the double-billing. They show that Dobard, who had eight years on the force, was paid $43,431.60 over the same 19 months, according to court documents.
The plea agreement also said Dobard took $12,200 from the informant fund over 14 months as payments to a registered informant, but used most of that money to pay an informant who was not eligible for such payments. Dobard got a total of $1,300, Jones $1,000, and two unidentified officers $300 and $100 from those payments, according to court papers.
N.O. officer indicted for rape
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An Orleans Parish grand jury has indicted a New Orleans police officer on one count of aggravated rape.
The indictment, handed up Thursday, accuses 39-year-old Michael Thomassie of allegedly raping a girl, who was no more than 10 years old, sometime between Oct. 1, 2003, and the end of 2005.
Thomassie, a 12-year veteran, surrendered late Thursday to detectives with the department’s Public Integrity Bureau. Police spokeswoman Remi Braden says Thomassie was placed on emergency suspension without pay.
Criminal District Judge Camille Buras set bail at $1 million.
Woman pleads guilty
in stepdaughter’s death
BATON ROUGE (AP) — A 38-year-old Baton Rouge woman has pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge in the 2006 asphyxiation death of her heavily-insured 2-year-old stepdaughter.
Shelna Jackson Matamoros was initially charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Malaysia Chante Matamoros. She pleaded guilty Thursday to an amended charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
District Judge Chip Moore sentenced Matamoros under the terms of a plea agreement to 20 years in prison, giving her credit for the nearly three years she has been jailed since her 2011 indictment. More also suspended the balance of Matamoros’ prison time and put her on active supervised probation for five years.
Moore has said previously that the little girl was covered by five insurance policies totaling $185,000 at the time of her death, and Cedric and Shelna Matamoros were the beneficiaries.
3 men arrested
in child porn investigation
LAFAYETTE (AP) — The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office says three men were booked this week on counts of child pornography.
Officials say 33-year-old Adam Shilow, of Eunice, was picked up Tuesday on counts of indecent behavior with juveniles, producing child pornography, computer aided solicitation of a minor and unlawful use of social networking.
Also arrested Tuesday was 40-year-old Scott Paul Touchet, of Erath.
Touchet was booked on 500 counts of possessing child pornography.
The last arrest occurred Wednesday when 45-year-old Gilbert Dupre, of Duson, was booked on 40 counts of distributing child pornography.
St. Landry authorities
arrest 12 in drug raid
OPELOUSAS (AP) — A pre-dawn raid by St. Landry Parish law enforcement agencies netted 12 arrests, illegal drugs and hundreds of dollars in ill-gotten profits.
Sheriff’s deputies and police from Opelousas and other cities in St. Landry Parish were involved in Thursday’s raid.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Capt. Megan Vizena said those arrested were booked on various warrants for the sale of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills.
She says police seized drugs with a combined street value of $5,000, along with several hundred dollars in cash.
More cameras planned
for downtown Houma
HOUMA (AP) — Visitors to Downtown Houma could be recorded on camera within a year.
The Downtown Development Corp. wants to install 30 security cameras on Main Street as part of a downtown restoration project.
Main Street Manager Anne Picou said a downtown camera installed on a utility pole in the parking lot by the Roussell Street Bridge has demonstrated its value.
Picou says there hasn’t been any vandalism in that area since a camera was installed.
Police Chief Todd Duplantis says the camera records activities that have occurred within the past month, making it easy for officers to check for a specific incident, even when they are unable to constantly monitor the stream.
Way cleared for medical claims in 2010 BP spill
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court has cleared the way for thousands of workers to be compensated for medical treatment for exposure to crude oil or chemical dispersants during the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ action Tuesday involves a settlement approved by a federal judge in January 2013 between BP, workers and some coastal residents from specified beachfront and wetlands areas who said they were injured or sickened during the spill cleanup.
Objections by some members of the settlement class were withdrawn over the past year, resulting in the formal dismissal of appeals. The medical settlement is separate from a larger economic damages settlement, which remains the subject of an appeal.
Among provisions in the medical settlement are programs providing cash payments for physical conditions associated with exposure to oil, such as respiratory problems, skin rashes and neurological issues; comprehensive medical evaluations once every three years for 21 years; and procedures under which covered workers or residents who develop spill-related illnesses in the future could file suit for compensatory damages.
Members of the affected class have a year from Wednesday’s effective date to file claims. Neither side estimated the potential monetary value of the settlement. It was unclear how many people might be eligible but the plaintiffs have estimated the number could reach 200,000.
BP said the medical settlement also provides $105 million for groups working to increase the availability of health care in 17 affected Gulf Coast counties and Louisiana parishes.
Company spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a news release the settlement resolves a substantial majority of medical claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident.
“It’s been a long four years, but now hundreds of thousands of people will finally get the medical care and compensation they need,” attorneys Stephen Herman and James Roy, who represent plaintiffs in the oil spill litigation, said in a joint statement.
The April 20, 2010, blowout of BP’s Macondo well killed 11 workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.