Armed robbers go down: Despite the heat the Magistrate Court took this week about not giving suspects a fair shake, it's always amazing how many of them wind up pleading guilty. A few the DA decided not to prosecute for whatever reason (missing witness? sloppy police work?), but in only one case in the recent batch below from Criminal District Court did the judge find the defendant not guilty:
- Renaldo Nickles Jr., now 21: Who, along with his 14-year-old cousin, went on a robbery rampage in the French Quarter in April, 2008, has pled guilty to 4 charges, after they were reduced to "attempted" armed robbery from "armed robbery with a firearm."
- Bienville and Burgundy streets
- 900 block of Chartres Street
- 1100 block of Bourbon Street
- 900 block of Ursulines Street
- 900 block of St. Philip Street
- Michael Newton, 24: Not to be outdone by Nickles' week-long spree, Newton managed to pull 3 heists in 12 minutes while riding his bicycle through Faubourg Marigny last October.
- Chartres and Marigny streets;
- Burgundy and Franklin streets;
- Burgundy and Spain streets.
Unarmed robbers get it too: Crooks convicted of so-called simple robbery (no weapon used, but often more violent) had their days in court too:
- Amora Collins, 18, pled guilty to snatching the wallet from the hand of a guy while he was trying to get money from the ATM at Bienville and Royal streets on 5.15.09.
- Tyrell J. Eli (top), now 20, Brandon M. Roussell (middle), 19, and Christopher M. Simon (bottom), 21, pled guilty to 2 counts each of simple robbery when the charges were reduced from 1st-degree robbery. They were arrested 4.17.09 after robbing 2 men in the early morning hours in the 1400 block of Canal Street (think Canal Street Hotel). One of them knocked one of the victims to the ground and another put his hand inside his shirt, acting like he had a weapon. They then made the victims empty their pockets.
(Simon, however, managed to attract an auto theft charge in August, to which he pled not guilty 9.21.09--so he continues to sit in OPP.)
Roussell's sentencing was postponed to 9.30.09, pending a pre-sentencing investigation.
- Wayne D. Jones, 49, after sitting in jail for nearly 14 months after swiping a woman's purse, finally pled guilty to the charge after the DA agreed not to charge him as a multiple offender.
Jones grabbed the purse in the Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon St., in July last year--and then left without paying his $13.25 dinner check.
- Andrew Norris, 23, in another pursesnatching case that seemed to go on forever, pled guilty to that charge and to carrying a concealed weapon.
Norris was charged for grabbing a woman's purse in the 1000 block of Iberville in the wee hours of 11.28.08 after he asked her for money and she offered him a dollar.
- Terry Brown, 36, pled guilty to illegally carrying a firearm after the DA let him off the hook for being a felon in possession of a firearm, a much more serious charge, as you might imagine.
- Donnie J. Nelson, 28, who allegedly stabbed a white guy in the neck who was trying to break up a fight between his friends and a black gang on Bourbon Street in June last year, knew a good deal when he saw one.
- Raynell Walsh, 33, needed a more lenient judge. He pled guilty to aggravated battery for slashing another black man with a boxcutter during an argument at Bourbon and St. Louis streets last April.
- Allen Stribling, 30, who had as many as 19 charges lodged against him when he was arrested early last May, finally pled guilty to 7 charges before Judge Robin Pittman, who sentenced him to a total of 6 years in prison.
When all was said and done in court at the end of August, Magistrate Rudy Gorrell found Hernandez not guilty of both charges.
These went free for various reasons. It doesn't mean so much that they weren't guilty, only that it couldn't be proven:
- Kyron Nelson, 23, was charged with attempted 1st-degree murder after he and an accomplice allegedly drove by a man standing outside of Harrah's Casino in June and gunned him down.
- Natasha Eiden, 18, who was charged with armed robbery in June after allegedly luring drunks into the alley so her boyfriend could rob them, had those charges refused by the DA.
- Willie L. Cruell 3rd, 20, who allegedly slashed a friend with a knife near Harrah's Casino last year just before Thanksgiving, may have benefited from having friends in high places.
- James Gibeault, 59, kind of an old coot in the neighborhood, may have been late getting his morning eye-opener at Cafe Rose Nicaud on Frenchmen Street when he allegedly pulled out a hammer and swung it at one guy and threw it at another.
- Alemseged Zaray, 29, had charges of aggravated battery and simple battery against him refused by the DA.
Justice done?: If you'd like to comment on any of these cases to the judges involved, you'll find email links to each judge in the column on the right.