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'He has nothing to lose': Search continues for convicted killer mistakenly released from prison

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NEW ORLEANS - Michael "Ma Man" LeBlanc — a convicted killer from Ascension Parish — was captured Wednesday morning in New Orleans, nearly a month after a series of errors led to his release from state custody.

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U.S. Marshals had chased LeBlanc into Texas and back before nabbing him at the Hilton Garden Inn on South Peters Street with assistance from the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office. He was in the Orleans Parish jail Wednesday, and it was not clear when he would be returned to Ascension.

Marshals and other law enforcement agencies had been searching intensely for LeBlanc since Ascension authorities discovered that he was released Nov. 30 from the East Carroll Riverbend jail, where he was held on drug charges out of Madison Parish.

LeBlanc, 42, was convicted in 2017 in the killing three years earlier of Adoriji Wilson in Donaldsonville. He was never sentenced to prison in that case.

At the time of his conviction, LeBlanc was serving a state prison sentence in an unrelated case.

He was released from that sentence on good-time parole and on July 26 was sent to Madison Parish, where he had pending drug charges. Both Madison Parish and Ascension Parish had placed holds, called detainers, on LeBlanc. Detainers direct jails and prisons to send a particular inmate to another place with a criminal case involving the inmate rather than simply releasing him.

State Department of Corrections sent LeBlanc to Riverbend Detention Center, which is in East Carroll Parish and houses Madison Parish pre-trial inmates. On Nov. 30 , Madison Parish authorities informed Riverbend that LeBlanc had pleaded guilty and gotten sentence to the time he'd already served.

At that point, he was released from Riverbend in spite of the Ascension Parish detainer.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre said it was a coincidence that his agency learned LeBlanc was back on the loose.

"The only reason we know he is out is a civilian told one of our deputies, 'I think I've seen Michael Leblanc,'" Webre said.

He said he was perplexed about how the release happened, but more concerned with the potential threat.

"How he got out of jail is very confusing to me. It's very frustrating to me and this community, and it shouldn't have happened. But he needs to be back in jail," Webre said.

Because LeBlanc did not report to a DOC parole officer within two days of his release was required by the conditions of his parole, an arrest warrant for the parole violation was issued.

Several of the agencies involved blamed others for LeBlanc's release.

"This all could have been avoided if someone read the documents," District Attorney Ricky Babin said, criticizing DOC.

DOC said they could not hold someone on murder in which no sentence had been imposed.

"He was in the custody and control of Madison/Riverbend last week," DOC Spokesman Ken Pastorick said after the release. "He was not a DOC inmate at that time."

DOC released the following statement Wednesday.

We are grateful for the efforts of the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, which includes law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, including State Probation and Parole, for the capture of Michael LeBlanc. When Madison/Riverbend released LeBlanc from local-level custody on November 30, 2022, he was not a DOC inmate. Madison Parish was also aware that Ascension Parish also had a detainer for LeBlanc for a 2017 second degree murder conviction in Ascension Parish for which, after five years, he still has yet to be sentenced by the court, and until such happens, he is not a DOC inmate for this conviction. However, his failure to report to Probation and Parole within 48 hours of his local-level discharge violated the conditions of his release, and the Parole Board issued a warrant for his arrest.

Babin said at the time his release was discovered that the priority was getting him back in custody.

"I don't want to use names, but we think there are witnesses that could be at risk," Babin said. "There's victim's families that are concerned. It's the worst of both worlds. He has nothing to lose."

It was not clear if Leblanc will face additional charges following his December arrest. 

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory life sentence in Louisiana.

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