Louisiana news briefs
State police Sgt. collapses, dies
HOUMA — State police are mourning the death of a 48-year-old sergeant who collapsed and died while on duty in Houma.
A news release says Sgt. Brett Lange was a supervisor in the Houma field office of the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigation.
He collapsed Thursday. Fellow troopers attempted to revive him before emergency responders arrived. He was taken to Terrebonne General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause is under investigation.
A statement from Col. Mike Edmonson, the state police commander, said Lange was a respected trooper and a proud husband and father. Lange had been with state police for 23 years. He also had worked with the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin Police Department.
Nearly 8,000 state workers laid off since 2008
BATON ROUGE — State employee layoffs since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office neared the 8,000 mark as of September’s end. That’s according to the latest state Civil Service report issued Thursday.
Employee layoffs associated with the transfer of LSU hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe to private operation pushed layoffs of classified employees to 7,962.
The numbers are in a report to the Legislature which updates layoff activity through the first three months of the state fiscal year.
About 41,800 classified, rank-and-file employees remain on the state payroll.
Jindal took office in 2008 and has presided over a major reduction in the Civil Service employee workforce as many state government functions have been privatized and agencies reorganized.
3rd suspect arrested in shooting in Gray
GRAY — A third suspect has been arrested in connection to a Monday afternoon shooting death in Gray.
The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office says 21-yar-old Akeiba Coler of Thibodaux was booked Thursday morning with the second-degree murder of 19-year-old Delveore Nash of Schriever. She was taken to the Lafourche Parish jail and booked on a $250,000 bond.
Blake Anderson, 21, and 19-year-old Javonta Coler, 19, both of Thibodaux, were each booked with second-degree murder in connection with Nash’s death. Both remained at the Terrebonne Parish jail on $1 million bonds.
Deputies found Nash dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
They say Nash was shot once in the back.
Property tax renewal to benefit Gibson recreation
GIBSON — The Gibson Recreation District faces a tax renewal in the Oct. 19 Terrebonne Parish election. The district is also one of the area’s most unique, containing a nine hole, three par golf course — the only one in any of the parish recreation districts.
District 8 collected $312,522 from a 9-mill property tax on residents in the Gibson and Donner area.
The Oct. 19 renewal measure will keep that money in place through 2023.
The district uses the tax revenue, along with a small amount collected from rental fees and summer camp grants, to keep two recreation facilities, the Donner Gym and Gibson Community Center, as well as the Cypress Community Greens golf course open and admission-free to the public.
Port Allen pays
to settle 2 lawsuits
PORT ALLEN — Port Allen paid two former city employees $330,000 to end civil suits over alleged sexual harassment and race discrimination. That’s according to municipal documents released Thursday.
Former Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Cenceria Dalcourt and her attorneys received $167,500 of that money.
Another $162,500 went to former Assistant Chief Financial Officer Philip Mason.
On Wednesday, Mayor Demetric Slaughter told city council members her proposed $9.7 million budget includes $400,000 to cover several recent settlements of lawsuits.
In the settlement agreements, city officials do not admit any of the allegations contained in the suits by Dalcourt and Mason.
Both former city employees were fired after complaining that former Mayor Derek Lewis sexually harassed female city employees.
Ex-deputy booked on child porn counts
GONZALES — A former Ascension Parish deputy who was arrested Sept. 10 on accusations relating to child pornography and indecent behavior with juveniles was arrested again and booked on 304 counts of child pornography, officials said.
Todd Tripp, 24, of Gonzales, was fired from the sheriff’s office on the same day as his initial arrest in September.
Chief Deputy Tony Bacala says detectives re-arrested Tripp on Tuesday, after a forensic analysis of a variety of items seized during a search of his home, including laptop computers and cellphones.
Tripp’s bond was set at $76,000.
Tripp had been employed by the sheriff’s office for 18 months.
Ex-police juror pleads no contest in conspiracy
ST. FRANCISVILLE — A former West Feliciana Parish police juror convicted of three counts of felony theft in 2012 pleaded no contest to a criminal conspiracy charge in the same theft case in which he was found guilty in May of diverting church money to his own use.
John Cobb pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of criminal conspiracy to commit felony theft and was sentenced District Judge William G. Carmichael to two years in prison. Carmichael suspended the sentence.
Cobb’s attorney said part of the reason Cobb pleaded no contest to the charge was to protect his wife, who was facing the same charges.
According to the plea agreement, all charges against Cobb’s wife were dropped as a result of John Cobb’s no contest plea.
7 alleged gang members indicted
NEW ORLEANS — Seven alleged gang members from the East Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans have been indicted on federal drug charges.
A 25-count indictment unsealed Wednesday also charges one of the suspects, 25-year-old Charles Johnson, with participating in a deadly drive-by shooting in June 2010. Prosecutors say three other people already have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the killing of Eula Mae Ivey.
Johnson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty if he is convicted of a murder charge in the indictment handed up Oct 4 by a grand jury.
The other defendants are: 24-year-old Robert Johnson, 24-year-old Thomas Henderson, 21-year-old Lavell Stoval, 20-year-old William Henderson, 22-year-old Erskine Waters and 20-year-old Avian Brule.
Stolen motorcycles, tractor, drugs seized
NEW IBERIA — The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office estimates that $40,000 worth of stolen items from Iberia and surrounding parishes have been recovered in a burglary investigation
A Thursday afternoon news release from Sheriff Louis Ackal says the items include electronics, utility trailers, motorcycles and even a farm tractor.
The discovery of some of the items at an Iberia Parish residence led to an investigation that led detectives to another location, where they found more stolen items and illegal drugs.
Three suspects have been arrested in the case and authorities were searching Thursday for a fourth.