District Attorney Tony Clayton issued his 2021 case report for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, noting that the DA’s Office had a 100 percent conviction rate on a whopping 11 major criminal jury trials during 2021, despite facing numerous obstacles throughout the year.
“It was really challenging because this was the first year that unanimous jury verdicts were required,” said District Attorney Tony Clayton. “That meant all 12 jurors in every case had to vote to convict.”
“In addition, we tried a lot of cases in an abbreviated time of seven months because the Louisiana Supreme Court had prohibited trials during the first four months of the year due to COVID.” DA Clayton noted that trial preparation is time and resource consuming, and prosecuting 11 jury trials in a seven month period, along with its normal case workload, really stretched the DA’s office.
“I give the credit to my staff and assistant district attorneys who tried these cases,” Clayton said. “They did an excellent job of researching and presenting these cases to the juries.”
“I also thank the citizens who served on these jury trials,” he said. “Not a lot of people like serving on juries, but we had very attentive and intelligent jurors for all our trials. They listened to the evidence, and in every case, the juries issued unanimous guilty verdicts.”
I made the commitment to the citizens of the 18th District (Iberville, West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee Parishes) that I would prosecute those who committed crimes, and I think this shows we are very serious about that,” DA Clayton said.
Some heinous crimes were among the 11 jury verdicts, including a number of murder cases, rape, sexual battery, armed robbery, and aggravated kidnapping of a child. A juvenile was convicted of second-degree murder and will serve juvenile life in jail.
“As I have said before, I will prosecute juvenile crime. Juveniles today have access to guns and use them, thinking that they will get away with it because they know we don’t have juvenile facilities,” DA Clayton said. “But that’s not going to happen under my watch. We will prosecute them for their crimes. However, I am a firm believer that they should be required to further their education and job skills while serving their juvenile terms. Just locking them up is not the answer, because when they get out they will continue to be a problem for our communities. We must educate them while they are paying for their crimes.”
“We are working to address the juvenile detention facility problem, but that will not deter me from prosecuting juveniles,” Clayton said. In addition, Clayton has brought on a new prosecutor, Niki Roberts, an experienced prosecutor from New Orleans, as Iberville’s Chief of Trials. Roberts has 20 years of jury trial and prosecution experience.
Following is a list of the 11 jury trials and convictions:
Jamarkus Collins – armed robbery and two counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Robert Marks – second degree murder, second degree kidnapping, feticide, aggravated kidnapping of a child, carjacking, obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence and four counts of illegal possession of a weapon with a crime of violence.
Quinton Lawrence – 2 counts of attempted second degree murder, 3 counts aggravated assault on a peace officer, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Sean Wilkinson – 11 counts of rape, and indecent behavior with a juvenile.
WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH:
Arthur Breaux – principal to home invasion and principal to second degree robbery.
Kevin Hamburg – attempted second degree murder, attempted armed robbery, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Greg Dupuy – 20 counts of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, and sexual battery.
Juvenile – second degree murder.
POINTE COUPEE PARISH:
Javon Batiste – manslaughter, 2 counts of illegal possession of a stolen firearm, and obstruction of justice.
Jaquan Battley – second degree murder.
Steve Witty – two counts of attempted first degree murder of a police officer.