DA’s Office brings tough prosecution to violent crimes

Strong prosecution of violent crimes is one of the priorities of 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton, and his agency has pushed through convictions and guilt pleas on a number of  cases involving felony crimes with weapons in Iberville, West Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes.

POINTE COUPEE:

Javon Batiste, age, address, recently was sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter, illegal possession of stolen firearms (2 counts), and obstruction of justice. He was sentenced to a total of 40 years at hard labor on the manslaughter count, 5 years on the possession of stolen firearms count, and 20 years on the obstruction of justice count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Batiste shot and killed Jaelen Fowler on March 27, 2019 on Pecan Drive in New Roads as the result of an on-going feud between them. He hid the weapon behind a shed near the crime scene.

WEST BATON ROUGE:

Arthur Breaux, 57, 786 Burbridge Ave., Port Allen, was found guilty of principal to second degree robbery and principal to home invasion. He entered the home of Leon Altazan on 6th Street in Port Allen through an unlocked back door on December 10, 2018. He attempted to strangle Altazan, who was sleeping in his bed at the time. Altazan awoke and fought off Breaux, but Breaux stole his pants with his wallet, which was holding $1,600. Breaux knew the victim because he had done work for him in the past. He has not been sentenced yet.

Kevin Hamburg, 25, of 7740 Morel Lane, Ventress, was found guilty of attempted second degree murder, attempted armed robbery and felon in possession of a firearm. Hamburg shot at Jeremy Gremillion, a patron at the La. Express Truck Stop in Erwinville in the early hours of August 16, 2017. Video footage at the truck stop showed the shooting the shooter was identified as Hamburg. He did not know the victim but attempted to rob him in the altercation. Hamburg was sentenced to 50 years in prison for attempted second degree murder, a concurrent sentence of 45 years in prison for attempted armed robbery, and 20 years to run consecutive for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

IBERVILLE:

Jamarcus Collins, 23, 58733 Jetson Ave., Plaquemine, plead guilty to armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on May 10. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison without benefit of parole on the armed robbery count, and a consecutive 10 years in prison on the firearm count.

DA’S OFFICE GETS QUICK GUILTY VERDICT IN MURDER TRIAL

It took a 12-member jury only 40 minutes to return a second-degree murder verdict against Jaquan Battley on August 27. Battley was convicted in the July 2019 shooting death of Sir James Davis, 18, at Anthony’s Quick Mart in New Roads.

It marked the first conviction against a member of the Young and Reckless, a New Roads criminal street gang.

“The first soldier in the Young and the Reckless has fallen,” District Attorney Tony Clatyon said. “Under my administration, this gang, the Young and the Reckless, has been taken off the street, with several other members in jail awaiting trials. They will meet the same fate as Jaquan Battley if they don’t cooperate and tell the truth.”

The verdict also marked the first 18th Judicial District murder conviction after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling “U.S. vs. Ramos,” which now requires a unanimous verdict in all felony trials.

“This is the first murder trial since the requirement that all 12 jurors must vote to convict,” he said. “In this case, we achieved a unanimous verdict in 40 minutes.” DA Clayton credited Assistant District Attorneys Ron Gathe and Chad Aguillard with prosecuting the case successfully.

Under Louisiana law, second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

The five-day trial, presided by 18th Judicial District Court Judge Kevin Kimball, included video evidence that showed Battley was a member of the gang, and testimony from two witnesses that Battley killed Davis.

Video from a surveillance camera at Anthony’s Kwik Mart showed Battley walking out of the store and walking away from Davis. Battley then walked backed toward Davis, at which time gunfire was exchanged between them.

The prosecution also showed a video in which Battley confessed to killing Davis, but claimed self-defense. “Had Battley walked away, and not gone back, the killing would not have happened,” Aguillard said. “By coming back armed with a weapon and approaching Davis, that made Battley the aggressor, and negated his claim of self-defense.”

DA Clayton said Battley was given the order to kill Davis by Cameron Webb, a known member of the Young and the Reckless. “Cameron Webb gave the orders for Jaquan Battley to go out and kill Davis, and at that point in time he went back and fired eight rounds into the body of Sir James,” he said.

Post-trial motions are set for Oct. 14 at Pointe Coupee Parish Courthouse. If the defense waives delay of sentencing after the motions are rendered, Battley will be sentenced that day.

PART OF AGGRESSIVE PROSECUTION OF JUVENILE CRIME

DA Clayton has aggressively prosecuted youth violence throughout the district. “We cannot and will not allow our communities to be held hostage by violent youth who have obtained guns,” he said.

He noted that Dequan “Quarterbaby” Johnson, leader of the “Young and the Reckless” gang, awaits trial on a second-degree murder charge for the Jan. 21 murder of Eugene Jarreau Jr. on Pennsylvania Avenue. Jarreau was shot 17 times.

“Quarterbaby, the leader of this gang, and the rest of soldiers don’t have to spend the rest of their lives in Angola Prison,” Clayton said. “I hope their parents are reading this and know that the D.A.’s office is willing to talk to these young people if they are willing to tell the truth,” he said.

“We have had enough of the murders in New Roads, and the youth violence we have witnessed district-wide, and we will not tolerate it,” DA Clayton said.