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Former East Feliciana Coroner under fire again for lack of record keeping

5 months 1 week 1 day ago June 30, 2016 Jun 30, 2016 Thursday, June 30 2016 June 30, 2016 10:49 AM in News
Source: WBRZ

CLINTON- The fallout finally rears its ugly head from a WBRZ Investigative Unit report from two months ago.

In April, WBRZ reported Former East Feliciana Parish Coroner Laura DeJohn kept no written records in her office. Tonight, we've learned the District Attorney needs information while DeJohn was in office to prosecute a case involving a double murder.

The lack of records could slow the case down. A subpoena filed in court for records that should have been held by Former East Feliciana Parish Coroner Laura DeJohn are now at the center of a double murder case coming up in court.

District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla needs certified death certificates of Kim Williams Sanders and Clifton Cowan. The couple was shot to death in Clinton last December. When they were killed, DeJohn was in office. But the subpoena is to Dr. Michael Cramer, the new coroner of East Feliciana Parish.

"I'm unaware at this time of records that I'd have that Mr. Daquilla would want," Dr. Cramer said. "I have no records, I have received no records, and can't imagine why he would want to subpoena me for records I don't have."

In April, we showed you Dr. Cramer had been pleading with DeJohn to turn over any records she had so he could run his office. That's when we learned through her attorney, "The East Feliciana Parish Coroner's Office during Ms. DeJohn's tenure, where there was no secretarial help, was operated on a purely verbal basis. Accordingly, no such documents exist."

District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla said the records are necessary to move forward.

"We just have to obtain the records, and we will one way or the other," D'Aquilla said.

Tonight, controversy is brewing between D'Aquilla and Doctor Cramer. Cramer says he went to D'Aquilla before he even took over as coroner asking him for help in getting records from his predecessor.

"Two weeks before I entered office, I called him and asked him for his assistance in obtaining records for the coroner's office, and he flatly refused," Cramer said. "He gave no reasons."

D'Aquilla denies ever having that conversation.

"No, he's the present coroner, and he needs to assist us to provide the information we need to prosecute a case," D'Aquilla said.

Tonight, it's unclear how the case will proceed, as the battle over a lack of records continues to play out in East Feliciana Parish.

"Any information that pertains to my office from March 28, 2016 onward is an open book," Cramer said.

We reached out to DeJohn today on the phone, but never heard back. She stopped answering our calls after our first Investigative Unit report.

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