Two sentenced to hard labor for manslaughter

A Franklin man and a Patterson man were sentenced to 28 and five years, respectively, in 16th Judicial District Court in Franklin on Friday on unrelated manslaughter charges.

Emile Charles, 23, of Franklin was sentenced for a Dec. 23, 2008, shooting death of west St. Mary Parish resident Roosevelt Johnson III, while Lester Rideaux, 62, of Como Street in Patterson was sentenced to five years at hard labor following an incident in January involving the death of a Patterson resident after a beating, District Attorney Phil Haney said.

District Judge Charles L. Porter sentenced Charles — who previously had pleaded guilty on Aug. 26 to the manslaughter charge — to 28 years at hard labor.

Originally, Charles was charged with second degree murder in the incident after he fired a single gunshot at Johnson, which struck the victim in the back in a remote location in Glencoe, according to police reports.

Prior to the murder, Charles, Johnson and Earl Landry of Franklin were involved in an apparent narcotics transaction and Johnson and Charles subsequently became involved in an altercation that led to the shooting, Haney said.

Landry was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and previously sentenced to 20 years by District Judge Lori Landry (no relation), Haney said.

Originally, Landry gave false accounts of the murder but after questioning following further investigation by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin Police Department, he gave factual information implicating Charles and agreed to testify against Charles, the district attorney said.

However, Charles pleaded guilty to manslaughter, avoiding trial, Haney said.

Porter also sentenced Rideaux — who had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Aug. 29 — to five years at hard labor.

Rideaux’s conviction stemmed from an incident in which his companion, Shirley Griffin, who lived with Rideaux, died after she had been taken to Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City for chest pains, according to police reports.

Originally, he was charged with second degree battery with medical attention following a Jan. 14 incident, but the charges were upgraded after she died on Jan. 24, police reports stated.

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