Louisiana news briefs
From The Associated Press
Man sentenced to 30 years for string of burglaries
LIVINGSTON — A 28-year-old Watson man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for burglarizing nearly two dozen homes in 2012.
The Livingston Parish District Attorney’s Office says Brian Emerson Fugler pleaded guilty to 23 counts of simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.
Fugler and an accomplice, 29-year-old Rachel Nicholson, were accused in the burglaries.
Nicholson, of Denham Springs, has already pleaded guilty to 22 counts of simple burglary and was sentenced July 15 to serve 25 years in prison.
Officials dismissed from wrongful death lawsuit
LIVINGSTON — A federal judge dismissed Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard and parish government as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by parents of an inmate who died after a fight in the jail in June 2012.
Darrin Norton, 35, died while in custody at the Livingston Parish Detention Center following a struggle with jail guards on June 17, 2012.
His parents sued the jail, Ard and Livingston Parish government claiming their son died from guards’ use of excessive force and failure to render aid after the altercation.
U.S. District Judge James J. Brady said Ard and the parish cannot be held liable, under law, for the actions of their subordinates.
Brady also ruled Norton’s parents failed to provide enough facts showing Ard showed indifference in Norton’s medical treatment.
B.R. police sergeant arrested
BAKER — Officials say a 39-year-old Baton Rouge police sergeant was arrested on allegations he choked his 14-year-old daughter and struck her with a wooden board at their home in Baker.
Wroten Brumfield was booked into Parish Prison Wednesday night on one count of domestic abuse battery strangulation, a felony, and placed on administrative leave.
Authorities say the investigation began after a Department of Children and Family Services worker alerted authorities to a case of suspected child abuse.
Brumfield was released Thursday on $2,000 bond.
Brumfield, an 18-year veteran of the department, was assigned to the burglary division.
Delinquent taxpayers called
BATON ROUGE — The state Department of Revenue has started phoning delinquent taxpayers.
A recorded telephone message is going out to eligible taxpayers whose phone numbers are in the department’s database encouraging them to consider participating in Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start.
The program allows noncompliant taxpayers to settle their accounts with the state by paying all taxes due, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest owed. It continues through Nov. 22.
The message directs people to go to www.ldrtaxamnesty.com or call the amnesty hotline at 866-782-9241 to get more information.
The calls do not identify taxpayers by name. In some cases, there may be multiple taxpayers living at one location.
The department also is mailing about 443,000 letters addressed to taxpayers’ agency records indicating they are behind on their taxes.
The state hopes to generate $200 million from the amnesty program. Shortfalls would trigger cuts in Medicaid, the government-run insurance program for the poor that covers about one-fourth of the state’s population.
Grand jury re-indicts
released ‘Angola 3’ inmate
ST. FRANCISVILLE — A West Feliciana Parish grand jury Thursday re-indicted New Orleans resident Herman Wallace for the 1972 murder of a prison guard. The move came just two days after a federal judge overturned the terminally ill man’s conviction and ordered him released from prison after serving more than 46 years for armed robbery and murder.
U.S. District Chief Judge Brian Jackson ordered Wallace’s release Tuesday and a new trial because women were unconstitutionally excluded from the grand jury that indicted Wallace in the fatal stabbing of Brent Miller.
“I say he is a murderer, and he is not innocent,” District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla said. “The conviction was overturned because the federal judge perceived a flaw in the indictment — not his murder conviction.”
“We are shocked that a state grand jury was asked to indict a man who has only days to live,” Wallace’s legal team said in a statement late Thursday.
The 71-year-old Wallace, whose birthday is Oct. 13, has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and ceased treatment weeks ago. After Jackson’s order Tuesday, Wallace was freed and left the Elayn C. Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel later that night by ambulance for LSU Interim Hospital in New Orleans.
La. continues WIC,
despite federal budget battle
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana will continue operating a nutrition program for more than 140,000 low-to moderate income women and children even though the federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown.
The Department of Health and Hospitals said Thursday that Louisiana’s Women, Infants and Children Program, commonly called WIC, will be funded until the end of October, using money set aside from the prior fiscal year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture previously advised DHH the money was unavailable during the federal government shutdown. On Wednesday, the USDA contacted DHH and said the funds would be reallocated for use in the current fiscal year.
As a result, DHH says it will provide WIC participants with a full month of benefits for October — not a partial month as participants were previously told.
Those who received partial benefits earlier this week will have to return to their local WIC office to receive the rest of their October benefits.
Additionally, the program will be able to accept new applicants during October.
The federally funded program serves an average of 140,000 mothers, infants and children up to the age of five, each month in Louisiana.