On May 25, 2011, Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department Investigators responded to a complaint of indecent behavior involving juveniles at a babysitter on Craig Street, which is in the Ville Platte area. It was reported that Richard Michael Marks, white male, born on 1/13/1958, of 1059 Craig Street Ville Platte La, allegedly had inappropriate contact with a juvenile girl that he and his wife were babysitting at his residence. After an initial investigation Marks was arrested and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail for violation of two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count of sexual battery on a juvenile, where he remains incarcerated on $175,000 bond. This investigation continues and more charges are expected.
Sheriff Soileau asks any parents who have children being cared for at the Marks residence to contact Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department Investigations Unit. This is an ongoing investigation and all contact will remain anonymous.
Soileau encouraged residents to report illegal activities to his office. He said all callers will remain anonymous. He said the public is a key to fighting and preventing criminal activities in the parish. Soileau went on to say he is grateful for the publics' assistance.
The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday ,during a special meeting, approved implementing recommendations by the superintendent and staff to reduce its budget by some $2.8 million dollars.
Superintendent Toni Hamlin blamed the short fall on a number of causes including: increases in retirement costs, increases in group hospitalization, rising fuel costs, loss of revenues from federal sources such as national board certified teachers stipend, non public transportation, erate, loss of the Minimum Foundation Program growth factor and child nutrition. Hamlin is projecting a total $2.6 million dollar deficit.
The school board approved a recommendation in Phase One to implement its staffing formula for the third straight year which will save approximately $1.2 million dollars.
Superintendent Hamlin announced that if the school board had not been pro active and begun a new staffing formula two years ago, the cuts today would have been much more severe today.
Also, the board adopted a number of recommendations in Phase Two: consolidate five bus routes and eliminate six bus monitors in transportation; phase in the adoption of a new textbook series; reduce substitute costs by giving school principals more control in addressing substitute costs by having an allocation of sick days; 10 percent reduction in travel; freeze step increases for all employees; eliminating writing to read labs which would eliminate 2 para professional positions and the reduction of four custodial positions. All of these actions will save the general fund about $1.5 million dollars.
In the Child Nutrition Program, the board approved changes that will save the program $99,740. Those actions include a meal price increase, eliminating a cafeteria technician and reducing substitute costs.
Board President Wayne Dardeau said “No one around this table wants to do this. We’re being forced to because of cuts from the state and federal government. We have to have a balanced budget. However, I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.”
The Ville Platte Police Department received a call of an armed robbery in progress at a business on West Main on May 24, 2011. Officers responded to the scene and arrested one suspect. The Detective assigned to the case, Sgt. Linton Fontenot continued the investigation and after speaking with everyone involved it was determined that the suspect had not tried to rob the business and had no weapon. Christopher Bellard, 44, 415 Rozas Street, Ville Platte was arrested for Disturbing the Peace and Trespassing.
Chief Lartigue stated that the call came in as an armed robbery and was treated as an armed robbery until more information was obtained. “The officers responded as they were supposed to and did a good job arriving, securing the scene and making the arrest” Chief Lartigue said, The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted and we appreciate their assistance and fast response” Chief Lartigue aslo wants residents to be aware of the facts in this case. “we want to dispel any rumors that the business was robbed when in fact it was not.” Lartigue said.
If you have any information about a crime, please call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. All callers will remain anonymous.
The Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission announces that “Evangeline Parish Day” will be held at the state capitol on June 14 in Baton Rouge. Suzie Lemoine announced that thanks to the efforts of Senator Eric LaFleur and State Representative Bernard LeBas, the reading of a resolution dealing with the parish centennial will be read on the floors of both the state senate and the House of rRpresentatives.
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne has made arrangements for the Evangeline Parish delegation to use his first floor suite and courtyard area at the pentagon.
The tourism commission is planning to send a delegation of parish residents to the capitol to promote the centennial along with our music, food, customs and joie de vivre.
The commission is looking for representatives from parish festivals to display their banners, costumes and festival information, food products and musical instruments at the rotunda.
At the pentagon area, businesses and groups will be invited to set up a tent or booth to display their products and provide samples.
The deadline is sign up for the bus trip is June 3. Contact the Tourism office today at 363-1878.
Lafayette Parish- Today, Louisiana State Police detectives assigned to the Lafayette Field Office, assisted by the United States Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force and the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested seven people, and are still looking for one person, for wire fraud and conspiracy. The arrests stemmed from a federal indictment handed down by a federal grand jury.
As a result of a complaint received from the Louisiana Department of Insurance, detectives began a year long investigation into allegations of persons staging vehicle crashes. The staged crashes took place from 2003 until 2010. All of the suspects filed claims with insurance companies in an attempt to receive proceeds from fraudulent property and injury claims.
The investigation revealed that the group targeted unsuspecting operators of large commercial motor vehicles. In one incident, the group intentionally crashed into a commercial truck carrying hazardous material. The majority of the staged crashes occurred on the multilane portions of US Highway 90 in Lafayette Parish. Investigators discovered that the suspects obtained in excess of $400,000.00 in proceeds from these crashes.
Based on the evidence detectives obtained, the Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana convened a grand jury. On May 12, 2011, the grand jury handed down indictments on all of the individuals involved.
This morning, the following individuals were arrested based on the indictments:
Oliver B. Lockett (B/M, age 42) Lafayette, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count); Wire Fraud (4 counts)
Warren Lockett (B/M, age 24) Jeanerette, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
Kenneth Randall (B/M, age 36) Carencro, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
Buddy Estelle (W/M, age 50) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
Shantelle Estelle (W/F, age 26) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
Amy Estelle (W/F, age 27) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
Joseph Owens Jr. (W/M, age 53) Lydia, LA, Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count)
All of the individuals were taken to the federal courthouse in Lafayette to appear before the magistrate on the charges with the exception of Oliver Lockett. Oliver Lockett was arrested this morning by the United States Marshal’s Office in Williston, ND.
Currently, detectives and US Marshal’s are still looking for Wardell Lockett (B/M, age 28) Lydia, LA. Wardell Lockett is wanted for Conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States (1 count). Anyone with information on Wardell Lockett’s whereabouts is asked to call the United States Marshal’s Office at 337-251-6921.
Detectives credit a close working relationship with the Louisiana Department of Insurance, National Insurance Crime Bureau, United States Marshal’s Office, Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Attorney General’s Office in the successful arrests of these individuals.
If convicted under the wire fraud statute, the suspects could be imprisoned for up to 20 years. If convicted under the conspiracy to commit wire fraud statute, the suspect could be imprisoned for up to 5 years.
Anyone wishing to report suspected insurance fraud cases is urged to call Louisiana State Police at 337-262-3341. Information may also be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Insurance website at www.ldi.state.la.us. All information will remain confidential.
A Palmetto man was killed in a single vehicle accident this (Tuesday) morning in St. Landry Parish, according to a spokesman for State Police Troop I. The victim was identified as Mervin Cane age 63 of Palmetto, the driver of a pick up truck.
The state police report that the pickup truck was traveling eastbound on LA 10 when for some unknown reason, traveled to the left, crossed the center line and into the ditch. The pickup struck a private drive embankment and utility pole before come to a rest. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Evidence indicates that the driver possibly suffered some type of medical attack prior to the crash.
The investigating officer was Trooper Chris “Scott” Simmons. This is the 31st fatality in the State Police Troop I area in 2011.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury tonight (Monday) introduced three redistricting plans including a plan supported by the NAACP which calls for a third minority district. In a public hearing tonight, just before a special meeting, the jury took comments from the general public over the three proposed plans.
Plan A, recommended by the Evangeline Parish Chapter of the NAACP, redraws Mamou District 3 and extends the district from Mamou all the way to Ville Platte. In order to create the district, Demographer Mike Heffner had to split 8 precincts to build the minority population to 53.6 percent. That plan also moves District 8 juror Ryan Williams out of his district and into new District 3. Heffner feels that the major changes under this plan including deviations in the mean population levels could open the door to a Section 2 challenge under the Voting Rights Act.
Plans 1 and 1A only make minor changes to the voting districts and according to Heffner meets all the criteria of Section 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Evangeline Parish NAACP President Arthur Sampson announced that his organization will object any plan other than their own supported plan.
A public hearing will be held June 6 at 5;00pm followed by a special meeting at 5:30 to decide on a reapportionment plan to submit to the U.S. Justice Department.
It was also announced at the meeting that Governor Bobby Jindal has appointed J.D. Soileau to serve as District One police juror to fill the unexpired term of Davis Manuel through the rest of the year.
In other business, the police jury voted to submit a proposal to the state for a new juvenile detention center. Vice President Bryan Vidrine announced that the parish will recommend a parcel of land on East Lincoln near Cleco for the proposed site. The jury voted to spend up to $50,000 toward the purchase price for the land from the property owner.
It was announced that the City of Ville Platte and the Town of Mamou are both planning to donate city owned property for the detention center.
St. Landry Parish- This afternoon, the final suspect wanted in a child molestation case turned himself in to Louisiana State Police detectives and deputies with the United States Marshal’s Office. Lawrence Ricks Jr. (W/M, age 35) of Ventress, LA, was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail for aggravated rape (3 counts) and aggravated incest (3 counts.)
A number of suspects were arrested and booked in to the Evangeline Parish jail this past week according to a spokesman for Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau.
The suspects included:
Jose Loney Fontenot age 49 of 430 Theophile Road, Ville Platte was arrested May 15 and charged with aggravated assault. Bond was set at $2500;
Kylan Wayne Ardoin age 19 of 9th Street, Pine Prairie, was arrested May 15 and charged with two counts of resisting an officers, interfering with the duties of an officer and unlawful possession of alcohol. Bond set at $2500;
Malcolm David Crosby age 63 of Red Lick Road, Ville Platte was arrested May 14 and charged with violation of a protective order. Bond set at $2500;
Denzel Renaulski Frank age 20 of 1035 Clifton Avenue, Ville Platte was arrested on May 13 and charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm with an obliterated number and possession of a stolen firearm. Bond set at $500,000;
Marcus D. Roberts age 29 of 116 East Jacksonwas arrested May 12 was arrested and charged on May 12 for domestic abuse battery and cruelty to a juvenile. Bond set at $20,000;
Javis Jacoby Gallow age 19 of 1209 West Peach, Ville Platte, Carl Trae Bias age 19 of 119 East Jackson, Ville Platte, Dannie Lee Lafleur Jr. of 1208 Pecan Street, Ville Platte , Denzel Renalski Frank age 20 of 1035 Clifton Avenue, Ville Platte and Galvis Ardoin Jr. age 35 of 300 Jaco Road, Ville Platte were all arrested May 18 and charged with four counts of armed robbery. Bond on each of the suspects were set at $250,000;
Randall Charles Smith age 20 of 3722 St. landry Highway, Ville Platte was arrested May 16 and charged with aggravated battery. Bond set at $15,000;
Cordell Janise Weathersby age 27 of 1835 State Avenue, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with Flight from an officer, possession of crack cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond set at $15,000.
The annual Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society was a big success according to Amanda Thille. Pleasant weather Saturday drew a large group of teams and volunteers to participate in the annual fund raiser.
The cook off winners were:
First Place- Cameron for their steak, crawfish and chicken wraps
Second Place- Cameron for their chicken and corn
Third Place- Eric Gil State Farm Team for their Sauce Piquante
Organizers would like to say thanks to the teams and individuals who donated their time and efforts for the annual fund raiser.
Joint Investigation Leads to Multiple Child Molestation Arrests
Church Point– Louisiana State Police Detectives assigned to the Lafayette Field office arrested seven suspects on charges of aggravated incest and aggravated rape, and are still looking for one suspect. These arrests occurred earlier today and stem from a joint investigation between State Police and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Approximately two weeks ago, detectives received information from DCFS regarding a possible child sexual abuse case that occurred in St. Landry Parish in 2010. The initial information indicated that three young girls under the age of nine were forced to have sexual intercourse with eight adults at a residence in the Church Point area.
“This crime is unconscionable. There is nothing more disturbing to me than seeing innocent children exploited and molested,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “We will continue to locate and arrest any individual who preys on that innocence. Child molestation is a horrible, heinous act and there is no place in a civilized society for such appalling actions.”
The investigation determined that in October of 2010, the three young girls were forced to have sexual intercourse with several family members and family friends. Detectives interviewed the victims and obtained additional independent evidence indicating the sexual abuse. Based on this evidence, detectives secured arrest warrants for eight suspects. Early this morning, Troopers, assisted by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, Immigration Customs Enforcement, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office, Point Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office, and United States Marshal’s Office, executed the warrants.
The following suspects were arrested at their residences and booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail:
John Stelly (W/M, age 57) of Church Point - aggravated rape (3 counts), aggravated incest (3 Counts)
Alice Stelly (W/F, age 55) of Church Point - aggravated rape (3 counts), aggravated incest (3 Counts)
Jennifer Stelly (W/F, age 30) of Ville Platte - aggravated rape (3 counts), aggravated incest (3 Counts)
Barry Giglio (W/M, age 52) of Ville Platte - aggravated rape (3 counts)
Marla Giglio (W/F, age 51) of Ville Platte - aggravated rape (3 counts)
Marty Blood (W/M, age 42) of St. Landry - aggravated rape (3 counts)
Brandy Blood (W/F, age 26) of St. Landry - aggravated rape (3 counts)
Currently detectives are still searching for Lawrence Ricks Jr. (W/M, age 35) of Ventress. Ricks is wanted for aggravated rape (3counts) and aggravated incest (3 counts.) Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to call State Police at 337-262-3341.
"DCFS worked in partnership with local and state law enforcement in this joint investigation, and our agency appreciates the efforts made to ensure that children who are victims of child predators are kept safe and those who prey on the innocent are swiftly arrested,” said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Sexual abuse creates lasting effects in victims, often manifesting in psychological problems that affect all aspects of the victim's life from childhood into adulthood. The long-term consequences of child sexual abuse make it imperative for cases of such abuse to be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities."
Edmonson continued, “I commend our partners at DCFS for recognizing the indicators of abuse and quickly acting to initiate an investigation. Partnerships such as this and those with local, parish, state and federal agencies make a difference as we collectively share personnel, resources, and training to ensure the children of Louisianaare safe.”
This case was a part of Operation Child Watch. The mission of Operation Child Watch is to rescue children from those individuals who prey on the innocence of a child. Troopers will continue to work with local law enforcement partners to locate and arrest these individuals. If you know of anyone involved in the sexual exploitation of children, you are encouraged to call State Police HQ at 225-925-3682. Louisiana State Police also offers presentations on the dangers facing children who are online. If you would like a presentation, please call your local Troop Public Information Officer.
EVANGELINE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
MAY 18, 2011
Ville Platte-- The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday called for a special meeting on Wednesday May 25 at 6:00pm to address the $2.7 million dollar budget shortfall. It will be the only item on the special meeting agenda.
The board’s executive committee last week received a detailed report from Superintendent Toni Hamlin and school supervisors on the state of the system’s finances as well as some general recommendations.
The budget deficit is blamed on: increases in retirement, increases in hospitalization, rising fuel costs, loss of revenues in such programs as National Board Certified Teachers, Non Public Transportation and the Minimum Foundation Program Growth Factor .
At Wednesday’s meeting, School Board Business Manager Amy LaFleur reported more bad news that the school district can expect an additional loss of $500,000 in entitlement funding from such programs as Title One, Title Two and Pre- School..
In addition, sales tax revenues for the second straight month dropped by $64,800 for the month of April as compared to the same period a year ago. The year to date figures show sales taxes has decreased by $109,445 over the same period a year earlier.
The school board approved a motion to activate its reduction in force policy out of necessity.
During last week’s executive committee meeting, Superintendent Hamlin and her staff presented some recommendations to the committee for review to address the budget deficit.
The school board is reviewing proposals to save on transportation, textbooks, substitute teacher , teacher allocation, travel , elimination of Writing to Read Labs, meal price increases, a four day work week and incentive pay for retirement.
In her comments to the school board, Wednesday, Superintendent Hamlin said “We are working hard to try to find the $2.7 million dollars. “ She said the school district has not been hit as hard financially as some neighboring school districts where they are facing anywhere from 10 to 69 million dollars in budget deficits.
Due to the financial situation the school district is facing, the school board agreed not to hire part time works during the summer months this year.
EVANGELINE PARISH JAIL BOOKINGS
MAY 17, 2011
A number of suspects were arrested and booked into the Evangeline Parish jail this past week according to a spokesman for Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau.
The suspects included:
Darrel Brent Whatley age 62 of 5278 Beaver Road, Oakdale was arrested May 9 and charged with sexual battery. Bond set at $25,000;
Crystal Kay Oneal age 29 of 1842 Music Lane, Ville Platte was arrested May 9 and charged with theft under $500.
Tina Louise Landry aged 39 of 2459 Smith Street, Basile was arrested May 10 and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia . Bond set at $16,500;
Eddie Dean Edward Malveaux age 43 of 153 East Main, Ville Platte was arrested May 10 and charged with possession of crack cocaine, resisting an officer and disturbing the peace. Bond set at $15,000;
Antonio Jemol Edwards age 32 of 316 West Desoto, Ville Platte was arrested on May 10 and charged with failure to do yearly sex offender registration. Bond set at $7500;
Closton John Melvin age 24 of 405 North Reed, Ville Platte was arrested May 10 and charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, hit and run and improper lane use with an accident. Bond set at $50,000;
Averiney Wilson age 34 of 924 First Street, Mamou was arrested May 11 and charged with unauthorized entry, domestic battery, criminal damage to property and remaining after being forbidden. Bond was set at $15,000;
Dannie Lee Lafleur Jr. age 21 of 1206 Peach Street, Ville Platte was arrested May 12 and charged with First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery. Bond was set at $1 million dollars;
Elizabeth Rene Serie age 29 of 1535 Carl Street, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with unauthorized use of a food stamp card, criminal conspiracy to commit unauthorized use of a food stamp card, criminal conspiracy to commit computer fraud. Bond set at $10,000;
Bobby Paul Stokley age 53 of 826 Canberra Road, Lafayettewas arrested May 12 and was charged with simple battery. Bond set at $1500;
Jeannie Malee Fontenot age 40 of 1206 Peach Street, Ville Platte was arrested May 12 and charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, Bond set at $10,000;
Marcus D. Roberts age 29 of 116 East Jackson, Ville Platte was arrested May 12 and charged with domestic abuse battery and cruelty to a juvenile. Bond was set at $20,000;
Denzel Renaulski Frank age 20 of 1035 Ckifton Avenue, Ville platte was arrested May 13 and charged with armed robbery, possession of a firearm with an obliterated number and possession of a stolen firearm. Bond was set at $500,000;
Jose Loney Fontenot age 49 of 430 Theophile Road, Ville Platte was arrested May 15 and charged with aggravated assault. Bond was set at $7500.
The City of Ville Platte placed Fourth in state competition in the Cleanest City Contest, according to Magnolia Garden Club President Joyce Coreil.
The City of Scott captured First Place Honors in recent judging.
Coreil and the Magnolia Garden Club along with Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine wuld like to thank residents and businesses for their clean up efforts.
Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac and Ville Platte Police Chief Neil Lartigue announced several additional arrests related to a recent rash of armed robberies and burglaries in and around Evangeline Parish. There were also additional arrests made in connection with the murder and armed robbery at the nail salon at 625 Main Street on Friday May 6.
Denzel Frank, age 21, a black male of 1035 Clifton Avenue, Ville Platte was arrested Thursday as an accomplice in the armed robbery of TAT Nail Salon in addition to two counts of being in possession of an illegal weapon. Specifically, Denzel was the get-away driver in the armed robbery committed by Dannie LaFleur who was arrested earlier this week. It is anticipated that Frank will also be arrested for his association with the Armed robbery of the Can Man on Main Street in Ville Platte back on March 25. Frank is expected to remain incarcerated under a $500,000 bond until he stands trial.
Jeannie Fontenot, a white female, age 40 of 1206 Peach Street, Ville Platte was also arrested Thursday with conspiracy to commit the armed robbery of TAT Nails. Specifically, Fontenot was a patron of the business earlier in the day. Her observations while there led in part to the events later that evening.
Also currently in custody is Javis Jacoby Gallow, age 19 who resides at 1209 Peach Street in Ville Platte. Gallow is expected to be charged in connection with the armed robbery of the Can Man on Main Street as well as several local residential burglaries, many of which involved the theft of copper from uninhabited houses or vacant buildings in and around Evangeline Parish.
Finally Brignac and Lartigue noted that Dannie LaFleur, the murder suspect in last Friday’s shooting has been indentified as the shooting suspect in the armed robbery on April 8 of E.V.N. Market at 307 East Lincoln, formerly known as Dalbis’s Meat Market.
Brignac anticipates bringing Lafleur before a Grand Jury on July 5 of this year with regard to the murder of Tuc Do.
Additional information will continue to be provided as the investigation continues.
Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Supervisor, Capt. Eckhart, arrested a Ville Platte man for sexual battery after allegedly engaging in indecent behavior with a 17 year old female.
Darrel Whatley, 62, 5278 Beaver Road, Ville Platte, was charged with . The victim reported, to Sheriff's Deputies, that on May 5, that Whatley showed up at the pond where she was fishing and made unwanted sexual contact with her. During the investigation it was determined that Whatley was a registered sex offender and was subsequently arrested.
During questioning, Whatley allegedly gave a detailed confession about the events as they took place. He was booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail for violation of LRS 14:43.1, sexual battery and his bond was set at $25,000.
Soileau reminded residents to continue to report illegal activities to his office. He said all callers will remain anonymous. He also added no person will be intimated or threatened during the course of an investigation and promised violators will be charged.
POLICE JURY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY
MAY 12, 2011
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury has declared a State of Emergency due to the possible need of assisting neighboring parishes who may become flooded along the Atchafalaya River in St. Landry and surrounding parishes. Evangeline Parish Police Jury President Eric Soileau has declared a State of Emergency so that in the event federal funding becomes available, the parish will be able to seek reimbursement for any expenses incurred with this event. Evangeline Parish is not expected to have any flooding from this event. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Evangeline Parish Police Jury at 363-5651 or the Evangeline Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness at 363-5651.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER SPONSORS FUND DRIVE FOR SPOUSE OF SHOOTING VICTIM
MAY 11, 2011
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors , in a special noon meeting, voted to sponsor a community wide fund drive to raise funds to help raise money for the family of Mr. Tuc-Do who was shot to death in an armed robbery at his Nail Salon last Friday. His survivors include a young pregnant wife and a four year old son. The family lived in Ville Platte and their son is registered to begin pre school in the fall.
The chamber board is urging businesses and residents to make a donation of any amount. Those wishing to make a donation can visit any bank in Ville Platte. A special account has been set up under the name of Chamber of Commerce Benefit for Tuc-Do family. The fund drive will continue until June 15.
In other business, Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot reported that last week’s Chamber Civic Awards banquet was a big success. The chamber raised $5828 from the result of the popular silent auction.
MURDER SUSPECT ARRESTED
MAY 11, 2011
District Attorney Trent Brignac and Ville Platte Chief of Police Neil Lartigue announced today the arrests of a Ville Platte man in the May 6th murder of Mr. Tuc-Do which occurred during an armed robbery of his nail salon located at 625 West Main Street in Ville Platte. Dannie Lee Lafleur Jr. age 21, of 1206 Peach Street, Ville Platte, was arrested for First Degree Murder and Armed Robbery in conjunction with the incident in question. His bond has been set at $1 million dollars. He may face further charges, according to the District Attorney. There is the possibility of an accomplice in the crime. However no other arrests have been made at this time. Chief Lartigue said the suspect does not have a crime record as an adult.
According to Brignac and Lartigue on the Monday morning following the Friday incident, representatives of local and state law enforcement agencies met at Ville Platte City Hall to discuss a recent rash of burglaries and robberies in the Evangeline Parish area. Present were Brignac, Lartigue, Sheriff Eddie Soileau, Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and State Police Captain Scott Perry and others.
Swift action was then taken to prioritize and expedite the criminal laboratory analysis of physical evidence found in and around the criminal scene. The expedited analysis by the State Police Crime Lab combined with the joint investigation by local and state law enforcement led to the arrest of the suspect who is believed to be involved in many of the other recent area crimes. Both the District Attorney and Police Chief say it was DNA evidence that helped solve the case.
“We are very happy with the arrest in this case” said Brignac and Lartigue. “Law enforcement worked around the clock gathering evidence and locating the person in this case. We will continue working diligently to locate and arrest persons committing crimes within our city.
The case remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
Brignac complimented the efforts of Chief Lartigue and Asst. Chief Chip matte as well as Detectives Don Smith and Joey Plywood” Fontenot for their ongoing efforts in this investigation.
VILLE PLATTE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
MAY 10, 2011
The Ville Platte City Council Tuesday agreed to give a local resident more time to renovate his abandoned home. Linton Tezeno appeared before the city council Tuesday asking for sixty more days to begin work. The council granted a sixty day extension with a $100 good faith bond. His home is located at the corner of Hickory and Young Streets. He plans to complete the renovation work in four phases.
In other business, the city council approved a recommendation by Mayor Jennifer Vidrine supporting a move to house a new Juvenile Detention Center for Acadiana Youth in the Ville Platte. The state funded facility will employ approximately 90 people.
Following a public hearing, the Ville Platte City Council adopted a new tougher anti slabbing ordinance with new language to prohibit residents from going around town with trousers hanging so low that their underwear is showing.
The city council approved declaring May 16-20 as Relay for Life Week in Ville Platte to draw attention to the Relay for Life event on May 21 at Sacred Heart field for the benefit of the American Cancer Society.
In other action the city council”
--approved renewing its insurance with Dupre, Carrier and Godchaux for fleet and general liability coverage;
--approved a retail liquor license for Angel’s Store to be located on West Main;
--tabled a permit for used car lot at the corner of Alton Lock and MLK Drive to check the residential code;
--heard from Mayor Jennifer Vidrine who announced that she has requested the state police to assist the city police in the investigation into the shooting murder of a local business owner. She also commended Grants Coordinator Sharon Fontenot named as Ville Platte Woman of the Year.
EVANGELINE PARISH POLICE JURY MEETING
MAY 10, 2011
Ville Platte- The Evangeline Parish NAACP is opposing both primary reapportionment plans being considered by the Evangeline Parish Police Jury. NAACP Chapter President Arthur Sampson told the jury Monday that the jury should prepare a redistricting plan that calls for a third minority district in District Three.
District Three which is primarily in the Mamou area is currently represented by Juror Ryan Ardoin.
Sampson said his board unanimously voted to oppose the two plans under consideration by the police jury. He plans to express the objection with the United States Justice Department.
In addition, he is asking that the parish create a minority judgeship. He mentioned that the jury , two years ago, decided to initiate a parish magistrate to assist with the two judge’s case loads. “There is a need for a minority judge in Evangeline Parish.”
Demographer Mike Hefner said it would be very difficult to make District Three a minority district since it only has 37 percent minority representation. That district would have to move district lines all the way to Ville Platte to get sufficient minority representation.
Hefner explained that the parish is considering two plans: Plan One and Plan 1-A.
He said Plan One’s districts are more compact. However, District Two has a population deviation of 6.9 percent, The districts should not have a deviation level of plus or minus 5% of the mean district population. Plan 1-A moves the Clearwater community in the northern part of the parish and move it to District 7.
The police jury has called for a public hearing and special meeting on adopting a reapportionment plan on May 23 beginning at 5;00pm.
In other business, the police jury voted to decide on May 23 on whether to submit a proposal for a proposed juvenile detention center. There are 12 parishes in the running for the state funded facility in Acadiana that will employ 90-100 full time permanent staff members. The state is looking for 10-20 acres of property. The jury is considering property in the Parish owned Ward One Industrial Park as well as from several property owners who have expressed an interested in selling their property to the state,
Also, the jury has turned in the names of two candidates to serve as interim police juror for the remainder of this year. Jury President Eric Soileau announced that J.D. Soileau of Point Blue and Larry Buller of Ville Platte were turned in to the governor’s office. The governor will appoint one of the candidates to represent District One after former Juror Davis Manuel stepped down as part of an agreement with prosecutors following a state audit report.
In other action: the jury:
--requested an opinion from the Attorney General on whether the jury can legally sell property in its Industrial Park to the Ville Platte Veterans of Foreign Wars organization;
--appointed Wade Riley to replace Donald Miley on the Evangeline Parish Library Board for a five year term.
MAY 9, 2011
A press conference was conducted by Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and local law enforcement authorities this morning to give news media the latest information in the on- going investigation of the shooting death of a local Ville Platte Business person Friday night.
Mayor Vidrine with representatives of the Ville Platte City Police, Evangeline Parish Sheriff Department, City Marshal and State Police standing in back of her, told reporters that has asked the assistance of the state police to assist local detectives in the murder investigation. From now on, all news releases will be conducted by Public Information Officer Stephen Hammonds with State police Troop I.
The Mayor commented that no one has been arrested in the case. She also remarked that the walking curfew remains in effect every night from 8:00pm to 5;00am . She is asking the cooperation of every citizen to assist law enforcement agencies by sharing any information that may help them in solving this case.
The owner of a Nail Parlor, Mr. Lee, age 41, was shot and killed Friday night in an armed robbery, with his pregnant wife and customers witnessing the crime at their business on West Main.
In a news release earlier today, police say the suspect, when he found the door locked Friday night at 8:30, shot the door to gain entrance into the business.
The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall, with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black jeans, black shoes, a bandana and a green baseball cap. He left the business on foot with an undetermined amount of money.
Chief Neal Lartigue is urges anyone with information to come forward. He said “Even if you think that your information may not be very important, please call our office. You may have seen or heard something that provides us with more information that we can use to remove this violent criminal from our streets.” Anyone with information is asked to call the Ville Platte City Police Department at 363-1313. All callers will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte Police Department responded to an armed robbery call on May 6, 2011 at approximately 8:30 p.m. An unknown male subject attempted to gain entry into a local business located at 625 W. Main Street and found the door locked. The suspect then shot the door and went inside the building. Inside were the owner, his wife who is seven months pregnant and multiple customers. After a brief struggle over the money the susepct shot the owner who later died from a single gunshot wound.
Detective Don Smith has been assigned to the case and stated that the suspect is a black male, approximately 6 foot tall with a slim build. The suspect was last seen wearing a yellow shirt, black jeans, black shoes, a bandana and a green baseball cap. The suspect left the business on foot with an undetermined amount of money. Chief Neal Lartigue stated that information obtained shortly after the suspect fled the scene placed him on Reed Street after the robbery and someone in the vicinity may have seen the suspect running or attempting to hide.
Chief Lartigue stated that he and Detective Smith have gathered DNA evidence and continue to work on leads Chief Lartgie urges anyone with information to come forward. "Even if you think that your information may not be very important, please call our office." Lartigue stated, "You may have seen or heard something that provides us with more information that we can use to remove this violent crminal from our streets.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. All callers will remain anonymous
EVANGELINE PARISH JAIL BOOKINGSZ
MAY 9, 2011
A number of suspects were arrested this past week and booked in the Evangeline Parish Jail according to a spokesman for Sheriff Eddie Soileau.
The suspects included:
Dustin Gautreaux age 23 of Pine Prairie was arrested May 4 and charged with Simple Battery. Bond set at $3500;
Christopher Lee Mayeaux age 23 of Ville Platte was arrested May 4 and charged with Simple Battery. Bond was set at $1000;
May 2, 2011
The 2011 Crawfish Etoufee Cookoff for the benefit of the Belaire Cove Chapel was a resounding success. Large crowds attended the Sunday event. Seventeen teams participated in the cookoff. Here are the results of the cookoff judging:
First Place- Papa Gator’s Team-Chief Cook Darrelyn Lachney
Second Place- David and the B.A. (Beautiful Angels)-Chief Cook David Hull
Third Place-Lonnie and Eric-Chief Cook Lonnie Sonnier
Randy Deshotel was awarded the Best Decorated Booth-Chief Cook Chad Soileau. The trophy for Most Original Booth was awarded to the Wood Runners-Chief Cook-Donald Vidrine.
In the Washerboard Tournament, First Place honors were won by Jared Vidrine and Tyler Vidrine; Second Place- Grant Lee and Patrick Donovan; Third Place was won by Baily Fontenot and Junior.
The organizers for the annual event would like to thank all who participated in the competition, all who volunteered time and resources and everyone who attended.
MAY 2, 2011
A large group of citizens and public officials attended a public hearing Monday at the Evangeline Parish Courthouse to show support for a proposed new state operated juvenile detention center.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury called the hearing to receive public comment. Dr. Girard Melancon, Assistant Secretary with the State Office of Juvenile Justice answered questions posed to him by members of the audience.
The State of Louisiana plans to spend $20 million dollars to build a new juvenile detention center to house juveniles from the Acadiana area. There will be 85 jobs with an annual payroll of $20 million dollars, The facility will house up to 72 juveniles.
Louisiana is looking for a 10-20 acre parcel of land to house the new facility with access to utilities and roadways.
Currently, juveniles from our area are being transported to a facility in the Monroe area.
Melancon said there 4-5 parishes in the Acadiana area that are in the running to locate the facility.
The state will begin accepting proposals from interested parishes beginning this Friday. A decision will be reached in six weeks. It will take 2-3 years for the center to be completed.
Police Jury Vice President Bryan Vidrine announced that the police jury has ten acres at the Ward One Industrial Park for a possible site. In addition, one private land owner has expressed an interest in selling property near the Industrial Park.
Both Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau spoke up in favor of the proposal.
Mayor Vidrine called the center "A life saving facility which will give our youth a second chance close to home."
Sheriff Soileau said "I am 100 percent for it but we also need to deal with the parents of these youth. We need to find a way to hold them accountable."
Arrest made in recent armed robbery case
As reported earlier this week, on April 23, 2011an armed robbery took place at a local convenient store located in the 200 block of Tate Cove Rd., in Ville Platte. The subject was armed with a butcher knife. Chief Neal Lartigue is pleased to announce that the case has been resolved and one arrest has been made. After the investigation was completed by Detective Chateuse Richard, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Julius Mathis Netterville, age 40, of 601 N. Latour St.Ville Plattefor one count of armed robbery. Netterville was arrested and booked into the Ville Platte Police Department Jail on April 29, 2011where he remains incarcerated at this time with a bond of $ 400,000.00 set by Judge Thomas Fusilier. Chief Lartigue stated “We are pleased that this case was solved quickly and we were able to locate this criminal and remove him from our streets.”
If you have any information about a crime, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. All callers will remain anonymous.
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The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum operated by the City of Ville Platte is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos, records, Wall of Fame and hear the music. Admission charge is $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 for children under 12. The museum is located on Northwest Railroad Avenue.