DA drops charges after witness changes testimony
BATON ROUGE - Testimony by the prosecution's star witness in the murder-for-hire trial of local rapper Torrence "Lil Boosie" Hatch is now affecting other cases.
On Thursday, prosecutors dropped two counts of first-degree murder against Johnathan Rogers, 19. He was accused in the slaying of Charles Matthews and Darryl "Bleek" Milton in April.
The dropped charges stem from testimony by Michael "Marlo Mike" Louding during Hatch's trial last month. Louding said he and Hatch had nothing to do with the 2009 murder of Terry Boyd. Louding, who denied being paid by Hatch to kill Boyd, also denied involvement in any other killings. That's despite telling Baton Rouge Police in 2010 that he was involved in six murders.
Prior to Hatch's trial, Louding had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify truthfully in exchange for a sentence of less than life in prison. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said his office's deal with Louding is dead. Hatch was acquitted.
Charges were also dismissed last month against Jared Williams, 22, in the fatal shooting of Marcus Thomas in April 2009.
Louding, who is not eligible for the death penalty because of his age at the time of the killings, is charged with first-degree murder in five deaths and second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith in 2009.