WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ Top Story Top Story en-us Copyright 2017, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sun, 26 Mar 2017 11:03:06 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 BRPD holds open house for new recruits http://www.wbrz.com/news/brpd-holds-open-house-for-new-recruits/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/brpd-holds-open-house-for-new-recruits/ Top Story Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:13:05 PM Earl Phelps BRPD holds open house for new recruits

BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Police Academy opened it's doors Saturday to show what the department has to offer.

It was well attended with people like Tykisha Knighten, who has a degree in criminal justice, but a personal experience inspired her to come here.

"I had an uncle who was killed. And after seeing the way that they handled the case and the situation and everything, it made be want to become more involved with BRPD," Knighten said.

And Gardell Palmer, who has a family member in law enforcement.

"My older brother has been a Louisiana State Trooper for 12 or 13 years and he's what inspired me," Palmer said.

But being a cop is no walk in the park, it's very dangerous work.

In Baton Ruge alone, four law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the last eight and a half months. But that danger is not turning away these applicants.

"Yes I absolutely want to be one. I want to help the families that tragedies might strike," applicant Ueisha Boreaux said.

BRPD is looking for more than a few good men or women. The department is down more than 50 officers, but they are looking for applicants with certain qualifications.

And that means candidates with more than just a good education.

"We not only look at grades and different things, but we also look at how they operate in their communities, community involvement things that they do in their communities that go above and beyond," Police Chief Carl Dabadie said.

Even though dozens filled out applications today,this is the just the first step in the long process of becoming an officer and wearing the badge of the BRPD.

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Geismar man arrested for second-degree rape http://www.wbrz.com/news/geismar-man-arrested-for-second-degree-rape/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/geismar-man-arrested-for-second-degree-rape/ Top Story Sat, 25 Mar 2017 2:06:38 PM Trey Couvillion Geismar man arrested for second-degree rape

BATON ROUGE - A 23-year-old man was arrested for second-degree rape after he allegedly sexually assaulted a victim inside a vehicle. 

According to arrest records, the incident occurred on Oct. 23, 2016.

The victim contacted police from a local hospital and stated the accused man, Jean Walston of Geismar, had met up with her at a friend's house that day.

The victim said she was at the residence with Walston for about an hour and a half before he asked her to walk him to his car.

Walston then asked the victim to get into the vehicle, to which she agreed thinking that they were just going to talk.

Once inside the vehicle, Walston reportedly began to kiss and touch the victim, according to arrest records. The victim said Walston then wanted her to perform oral sex on him, to which she refused.

Walston then continued to sexually assault the victim by forcing her to perform sexual acts with him.

The victim's friend then came outside and walked up to the vehicle, at which time Walston stopped sexually assaulting the victim. She was then able to get out of the vehicle.

Walston was told to leave by one of the victim's friends and did so.

Walston was arrested, charged and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on the aforementioned charge.

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Three killed in rural highway crash Friday http://www.wbrz.com/news/three-killed-in-rural-highway-crash-friday-94987/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/three-killed-in-rural-highway-crash-friday-94987/ Top Story Sat, 25 Mar 2017 10:41:21 AM Trey Couvillion Three killed in rural highway crash Friday

GREENSBURG - Three people, including a mother and her 3 month old daughter, died in a car crash along a rural stretch of highway in St. Helena Parish Friday night.

Shortly after 7:30 PM Friday  Troopers from Louisiana State Police Troop L responded to a two-vehicle fatal crash on LA 10 two miles west of Greensburg.  The crash claimed the life of 27-year-old Greensburg resident Goslynne Elon Amiko Hitchen and her three-month-old daughter Mason Hitchen.  Michael Adam Barron of Holden was also killed in the crash.

Based on the preliminary on-scene investigation, Troopers determined 32-year-old Michael Adam Barron, driving a 1992 Jeep Wrangler eastbound on LA 10, crossed into the westbound lane of LA 10.  As Barron approached a hillcrest, his vehicle crashed head-on into a 2012 Honda Accord driven by Goslynne Elon Amiko Hitchen.  Hitchen, her daughter Mason, and Barron were all pronounced deceased on-scene by the St. Helena Parish Coroner.  Two juvenile passengers in Hitchen’s vehicle sustained moderate injuries in the crash.  Both occupants were transported to the Saint Helena Parish Hospital by Acadian Ambulance.

Investigators say the infant was seated in an approved child restraint system at the time of the crash.  However, due to rescue efforts, Troopers were unable to determine if the restraint system was installed correctly.  The remaining occupants were all unrestrained at the time of the crash.  As part of the on-going investigation, blood samples were obtained from both drivers.  The samples will be sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. 

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Jury convicts deputy marshal for shooting death of boy, dad's injuries http://www.wbrz.com/news/jury-convicts-deputy-marshal-for-shooting-death-of-boy-dad-s-injuries/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/jury-convicts-deputy-marshal-for-shooting-death-of-boy-dad-s-injuries/ Top Story Fri, 24 Mar 2017 5:44:10 PM Trey Schmaltz Jury convicts deputy marshal for shooting death of boy, dad's injuries

MARKSVILLE – Jurors found Derrick Stafford guilty of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the shooting death of a six-year-old and the injuring of the child's father in November 2015.

The jury deliberated for a little more than three hours Friday evening.  Sentencing is scheduled for next Friday.

Stafford, a local city marshal at the time, was convicted of the fatal shooting of Jeremy Mardis and the shooting injuring of his father, Chris Few, in a case that garnered national attention.

Mardis died when marshals opened fire on the vehicle his dad, Few, was driving. Both Few and Mardis were shot.

Earlier Friday, Stafford took the stand and said he was torn apart about the child's death.

The final day of trial

“It makes me feel horrible,” KALB TV reported Stafford said on the stand.

"I have children the same age,” he continued, but said the decision to fire shots at the car was made to protect the life of other marshals who had been pursuing Few.

“I was defending fellow officers,” he said.

Stafford said it appeared Few was using the vehicle as a weapon, possibly to escape.

"He backed it right into (Norris) Greenhouse's vehicle. (Few) put it back in drive. We were giving loud verbal commands – stop your vehicle, put your hands up. Few looked back at us. He put his vehicle in reverse. I had no choice but to save Norris. It's the only reason I fired my weapon."

Greenhouse also faces charges related to the shooting.

Stafford said he never knew Mardis was in the vehicle.

"I believed Few was using his vehicle as a dangerous weapon to hurt one of us." Stafford explained "As I shot, I backpedalled for safety. I never saw his hands go up."

Prosecutors asked Stafford pointed questions – questioning the use of force.

Holding a photo of Mardis' dead body, a prosecutor asked Stafford: "Does that show you what a 40 caliber does?"

KALB reported, Stafford cried heavily on the stand.

Stafford also said he was in shock following the shooting, trying to explain why he did not immediately try to help the child.

Ending their case, a prosecutor announced: "What we have is a case of a ticking time bomb."

The body camera footage 

Previously kept under seal, an officer's body camera footage of the shooting was released in September. The video is about 13 minutes. WBRZ edited graphic video and published segments when it was released.

The video is from an officer who responded as gunfire erupted at the scene of the shooting.  It appears Few has at least one hand on the window of the car - seemingly with it up, almost surrendering, as gunfire erupts.  As the shooting subsides, the officer walks around the scene and finds Few injured and Mardis with a slight pulse but unresponsive in the front, passenger's seat.  Mardis is bloodied and limp.

For about two minutes, officers discuss rendering aid to the child and eventually put gloves on to try to keep him alive, but don't get to actually assist the child since an ambulance arrives.  

Throughout the video, the body camera picks up officers in the background cursing.  At one point, while talking with one of the officers involved in the shooting, one of the marshals is heard saying, "I never saw a kid."

Following the shooting in November 2015, State Police Col. Mike Edmonson watched the body camera footage and called it "disturbing." 


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Long-time employee quits, allegations surface over missing money http://www.wbrz.com/news/investigative-unit-long-time-employee-quits-allegations-surface-over-missing-money/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/investigative-unit-long-time-employee-quits-allegations-surface-over-missing-money/ Top Story Fri, 24 Mar 2017 4:33:39 PM Chris Nakamoto INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Long-time employee quits, allegations surface over missing money

WHITE CASTLE- A long-time employee in the Town of White Castle abruptly quit her job this week. Sources tell the WBRZ Investigative Unit upwards of $10,000 went missing or was misappropriated.

Monica Hamilton most recently worked as White Castle's Clerk. Sources say she was told to resign this week, when the discrepancies over the money were discovered. Tonight, it's unknown if Hamilton had anything to do with the missing money, but we do know Hamilton had oversight over White Castle accounts and was responsible for payroll.

70-year-old Linda Hasten has pride when she says she's from the Town of White Castle. Recently, she's grown tired of constant issues from what she describes as a lack of oversight over town business.

"This looks like child's play to me," Hasten said. "This looks like children are playing, instead of doing what municipalities want done."

Tonight, the Investigative Unit has learned from sources Hamilton had a meeting with the Town's CPA and Town Attorney earlier this month to talk about the issue. It was discussed that she should probably resign. Hamilton's resignation came on March 20th.

The Investigative Unit showed up to Hamilton's house and were told she had "no comment."

Several of the town council members declined to do an on camera interview, but they all did say that a meeting is scheduled for next week to go over some issues in the town's budget.

As residents come to grips with this latest mess, they say they're not surprised since they've heard all about it already.

"I want to see someone go to jail," Hasten said. "Tell them, I told you so."

That meeting scheduled for next week is supposed to be Monday or Tuesday. Many of the council members say they will address the issue after that meeting. Right now, it's unclear if this case will be turned over to law enforcement or prosecutors.

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UPDATE: severe weather threat pushed into Saturday http://www.wbrz.com/news/update-severe-weather-threat-pushed-into-saturday/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/update-severe-weather-threat-pushed-into-saturday/ Top Story Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:48:37 PM Meteorologist Josh Eachus UPDATE: severe weather threat pushed into Saturday

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (SPC) continues a “slight risk” for severe weather on Saturday. This means scattered severe storms are possible within the forecast area. An isolated intense thunderstorm is possible. On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) severe weather threat, this event is a 2. Another way of describing the threat is that there is a 15 percent chance of experiencing severe weather within 25 miles of a given point in the risk area.

Possible Threats:

1) Gusty Wind – in storms that turn severe, wind gusts could exceed 58mph.

2) Hail—in the most intense storms, some marginally severe hail (1” in diameter) could occur.

Precipitation: Generally, less than a half inch of rain is expected, though a locally higher amount may be found within the 13 Parish, 3 County Forecast Area—especially where the heaviest storms occur.

Estimated Timeline: Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop overnight. Strength should be limited then and through dawn. A slowing and weakening cold front will then continue northeastward through the region. Due to some daytime heating, more instability will be available at this time and therefore this second push will offer a better chance for stronger storms to develop from late morning into the early afternoon. Expect skies to clear by the evening.

Impacts: Outdoor events taking place through Saturday Afternoon will want to monitor the radar. Even without severe weather, rain and thunderstorms (lightning) would force activity inside. Have access to weather alerts in case additional action is necessary.

Actions: Get watches and warnings with a NOAA Weather Radio or from the WBRZ Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the newly updated and *free* WBRZ WX App. sends push notifications to mobile devices if a watch or warning is issued for your location. Remember, a watch means “conditions are favorable, and a particular threat could develop” and a warning means that “threat is happening and you should take action immediately.” Remember, in the event of a severe thunderstorm warning, get inside of a sturdy, enclosed building and move away from windows.

The second half of the weekend will be much quieter with some sun and continued warmth expected on Sunday. Don't let your guard down though. An active pattern is setting up with at least two more round sof severe weather possible next week!

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