Apr 012015
 

Hats off to A. M. „Marty“ Stroud, III. There are not many like him in Louisiana, who admit their failures and have grown to go against the tide.

Stroud does know the system from both sides. Directly after graduating law school with honors in 1976, he started his career as law clerk at the U.S. Court of the Western District of Louisiana. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Louisiana and a First Assistant District Attorney in Caddo Parish. Since 1989, Stroud has been in private practice (civil and criminal law).

In 1984, the 33-year old lead assistant district attorney prosecuted Glenn Ford, whose murder conviction was overturned in 2014. Stroud, who had sought the death penalty and celebrated the victory with some rounds of drinks, now describes himself in a letter to the Shreveport Times:

 I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.

Marty Stroud does what he can to correct what was done to the innocent, now terminally ill man. He contacted Ford to apologize, he speaks up against capital punishment, apologizes to the victim’s family, the jury and the court. Stroud shows remorse in a video and urges the state to compensate Ford. Unfortunately, the local district court ruled differently on March 27, 2015.

Read how Stroud is connected to Vincent Simmons’ case in the book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons: Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish.” 

Please follow and like us:
0
May 242011
 

GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI: Sonya Lynn Nelson (September 18, 1966 – July 13, 2009), formerly of Alexandria, Louisiana, was the younger step-sister of Vincent Simmons’ alleged rape victims. Nelson (42) suffered a fatal gunshot wound to her abdomen in her rented room while struggling over a gun with her landlord Larry Dean Slagle (then 71) two years ago. Two shots went off on that Monday night. One of them struck the tenant.

The media has not disclosed whose weapon it was. I personally think that, depending on whose pistol it was, the story looks different.

Slagle called police around 8:30 P.M. Nelson died at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi, on that same night. Justice Court Judge Gene Dedeaux ordered Slagle held without bond at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, reported the Sun Herald on July 15, 2009.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher told the Sun Herald that the altercation between Nelson and Slagle had been about the cost of electricity. The defendant’s version is that it was an accident. Fisher corroborates his theory of murder with the statement, “In the 911 tape, you could hear her dying declaration. She was screaming he was lying.”

The prosecutor charged Slagle with murder. Because the jury believed Slagle had not shot Nelson deliberately, Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Larry Dean Slagle to 20 years for manslaughter and suspended half of the penalty on Thursday, May 19, 2011. Slagle has to serve ten years in prison.

Please follow and like us:
0
May 222011
 

book-cover

Book Cover

If truth was as clear, powerful, and respected as water, Simmons’ actual innocence—demonstrated in the new book “Louisiana v. Vincent Simmons: Frame-up in Avoyelles Parish” by Katja Pumm—would wash him out of the penal system. He has been confined since Monday May 23, 1977—which falls on the same weekday this year.

TIME LINE

MONDAY, MAY 9, 1977 (approx. 9 P.M. – 12 P.M.):
Eighteen year-old Keith Laborde is driving around with his minor cousins Sharon and Karen Sanders in his old car. 

SUNDAY, MAY 22, 1977 (approx. 6 P.M.):
Sharon and Karen Sanders report to Sheriff “Potch” Didier, Major Fabius Didier, Captain Floyd Juneau and Deputy Barbara DeCuir at the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office that a “black man” raped them on May 9, 1977.

MONDAY, MAY 23, 1977:
(7 A.M.): Captain Floyd Juneau’s and Lieutenant Robert Laborde’s shift begins.
(8 A.M.): Juneau and Laborde “decide” to arrest African American Vincent Simmons.
(9 P.M.): Simmons is strolling down Waddil Street in Marksville near the St. Joseph cemetery. Lead investigator Captain Floyd Juneau and Lieutenant Robert Laborde come by in their patrol car and arrest him “on view,” without an arrest warrant, for two counts of aggravated rape. 
At the Sheriff’s Office, Potch Didier tells Captain Melvin Villemarette to establish a line-up with the arrestee. The line-up consists of one white and seven black persons. Fotos show that Simmons (number 4) is the only one in handcuffs.Keith Laborde, Sharon and Karen Sanders are together in the room behind the mirror and indentify the handcuffed man.
(approx. 9:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M.): Officers Laborde and Villemarette take the shackled Simmons upstairs to the ID room. They do not interrogate him. Vincent Simmons refuses to sign a confession that Laborde has formulated. Lieutenant Robert Laborde shoots Simmons in his left chest missing the arrestee’s heart by three inches. Several colleagues and the sheriff witness the scene seconds later. Laborde and Villemarette allege that Simmons took Villemarette’s gun and tried to shoot them.
Before the shooting, Keith Laborde begins to give his statements to Deputy Barbara DeCuir and Captain Floyd Juneau.
Coroner F. P. Bordelon arranges for the shooting victim to be rushed to the Huey P. Long Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. Simmons is unconscious. Lieutenant Laborde’s weapon is released for investigation.

District Attorney “Eddie” Knoll calls the victims’ family at the house of Keith Laborde’s father.Sharon and Karen Sanders give their handwritten statements.
Judge Earl Edwards now orders to arrest Vincent Simmons for the rape of Sharon and Karen Sanders. The police officers take fotos of Keith Laborde’s car and the alleged crime scene on Little California Road. Lieutenant Robert Laborde writes a supplementary report concerning the “offense” of the “investigation and shooting of Vincent Simmons” in Captain Villemarette’s and his own name.

TUESDAY, MAY 24, 1977:
Coroner F. P. Bordelon examines both girls and discovers that one of the girls’ “hymen was in tact and I was unable to insert one examining finger.” The twins mention the name “Vincent Simmons” for the first time while telling Dr. Bordelon what happened on May 9, 1977.Captain Juneau and Lieutenant Laborde request a search warrant for the homes of two of Simmons’ sisters. They seek “maroon trousers, silk looking shirt with tassle like appendages” and a “brown handle pistol about six or seven inches long.

WEDNESDAY, May 25, 1977:
(2:30 P.M.): Captain Floyd Juneau seizes a “black shirt with ruffles,” a “pair maroon jeans,” and a “pair of double knit pants (maroon in color)” at Simmons’ common law brother-in-law’s house. The investigators Floyd Juneau and Robert Laborde charge Vincent Simmons with two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of attempted murder.

FRIDAY, MAY 27, 1977:
Four days after the shooting, Vincent Simmons is released from hospital. Sheriff deputies take him back to Avoyelles Parish and put him in a one man jail cell at the Sheriff’s Department.  
 

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1977:
The Grand Jury of Avoyelles Parish indicts Vincent Simmons for two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of attempted murder and returns a True Bill.Coroner F. P. Bordelon formulates his findings about his medical examination of the two fourteen-year-old girls in his written reports addressed to District Attorney “Eddie” Knoll.  

THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 1977:
Public defender Harold Brouillette files a Motion for Preliminary Hearing. Judge Earl Edwards orders that “a preliminary hearing be held in the case of State of Louisiana vs. Vincent Simmons on the two counts of aggravated rape on the 7 day of July, 1977, at 1 o’clock P.M.” 
WEDNESDAY,

JUNE 29, 1977:
The United States Supreme Court rules in Coker v. Georgia that the death penalty is unconstitutional for the crime of rape.
THURSDAY, JULY 7, 1977 (1 P.M.):
After the preliminary hearing, Judge Edwards schedules Simmons’ trial for July 18, 1977.
 

THURSDAY, JULY 14, 1977:
Assistant District Attorney Jeannette Theriot Knoll files a Motion to Amend Indictment. She requests that the indictment of two counts of aggravated rape be amended to two counts of attempted aggravated rape. Judge Edwards signs the motion behind closed doors–without a second Grand Jury hearing.
Note: now after the decision in Coker v. Georgia, aggravated rape only carried a twenty-year sentence per count upon conviction because there was no other law in the books yet. Attempted aggravated rape, however, would imprison Simmons for fifty years per count, if convicted. 
 

MONDAY, JULY 18, 1977: jury selection 

TUESDAY, JULY 19 and WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 1977: trial. It ends with a guilty verdict. 

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 1977:Judge Earl Edwards imposes a one hundred-year sentence (fifty years for each count, to run consecutive).

Case summary with documents on the Innocent in Prison Project International website at http://cases.iippi.org/vincent-alfred-simmons/

Please follow and like us:
0

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)