Gerald C. Needham (alias Copperhead) was taken into custody last night by Bossier City Police Officers and charged with three counts of first degree murder. Needham has a long criminal history starting in Caddo Parish when he was 17 years old and culminating with his arrest yesterday.
Charged on October 24, 1988 in Caddo Parish with Unauthoized Use of a Movable and Simple Escape. He appeared before Judge Gahagan on May 19, 1989 and was sentenced to two years on each charge with the sentences to run consecutively.
Charged with Simple Escape in Caddo Parish. He appeared before Judge Hamilton and was sentenced to 3 years to run consecutively with the sentences he was already serving.
This ended his criminal career, or at least his criminal charges – in Caddo Parish.
The remainder of the charges are all from Bossier Parish.
Charged 11/23/92 with Possession of Cocaine and Battery of a Police Officer (3 counts).
The charges of battery on a Police Officer were nol prossed, and on June 22, 1994 he was sentenced by Judge Bolin to 4 years on the Cocaine charge.
Charged on January 6, 1996 with Armed Robbery.
He appeared in court on September 18, 1996 and entered a plea of guilty to Simple Robbery. He was sentenced by Judge Campbell to serve 6 years with credit for time served.
Charged on May 16, 2005 with Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell, Possession of Schedule II with intent to sell and charged along with Eulanda Needham with attempting to smuggle contraband (marijuana and cocaine) into the Bossier Parish Jail.
He went to court on February 13, 2006 and the marijuana charge was nol prossed. He was allowed to enter a plea to Attempted Possession of Cocaine and was sentenced by Judge Bolin to a $750 fine and 2 years at hard labor, suspended. He was put on probation for 1 year.
Charged on May 17, 2007 with Armed Robbery with a firearm (he used a rifle to rob a man of $200). When he appeared in court on August 27, 2007 he was allowed to plead to Simple Battery and was sentenced by Judge Bolin to 6 months in Parish Jail with credit for time served.
On February 21, 2008 Needham was charged with Battery on a Police Officer (Justin Dunn). On September 3, 2008 he pled guilty and was sentenced by Judge Self to 60 days in Parish Jail.
On July 17, 2008 he was charged with Resisting an Officer (Neil Nunnery) and for Battery on a Corrections Officer. At his court appearance on September 23, 2009 he was sentenced to Judge Craig to 90 days in Parish Jail with credit for time served.
On August 13, 2010 Needham was charged with Simple Possession of Marijuana and with Resisting a Police Officer (Officer Nelson). On December 17, 2010, the resisting charge was nol prossed and he pled guilty to simple possession. He was sentenced by Judge Self to 30 days with credit for time served, and was allowed 60 days to pay fine and costs.
I think most people would question the 2007 Armed Robbery with a Firearm charge being pled down to a misdemeanor charge of Simple Battery. The Armed Robbery would carry a minimum 10 year sentence, and the use of the firearm would carry an additional five years - all of this without the benefit or probation or parole.
Was the case so weak that the DA felt he couldn't prosecute it? I will attempt to get answers on Monday.