Sunday, July 31, 2011

A sad loss

Life is so fragile.  Our sincerest sympathy to the family and loved ones of Melissa Maggio.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Early impressions on the fall elections

Just some personal opinions on what I see happening right now. It's still 5 weeks until qualifying and 3 months until elections, but a lot of campaigning is already going on.

House District 8
This is the seat that Jane Smith is vacating due to term limits. Duke Lowrie was the first to announce, and then Jeff Thompson. Some signs are going up on both sides, and some door to door.
Lowrie has been working hard and knocking on doors with volunteers. I haven't heard so much about Thompson doing this, but I'm sure he is.
With two candidates who have never held office before, Lowrie a businessman and retired firefighter, and Thompson an attorney, I have thought from the beginning that the seat would go to the person who wanted it the most and worked the hardest.
From what I can tell to date, this would be Lowrie.
The battle is not always to the strongest, or the race to the swiftest (but that's the way to bet).

House District 9
Has anyone even announced against Henry Burns? I don't think so. Even if they do, I believe it would be futile. Burns is very popular among his constituents.

Senate District 36
This race will pit Richey Jackson against Robert Adley. Jackson, who came within 87 votes of defeating Burns in House District 9 last time, is a retired educator who currently heads up the truancy program for the DA.
Adley, a seasoned veteran, tried to attack through Jackson's son, Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson, by having a sudden epiphany about the way younger Jackson is paid. It was such an obvious political attack that even other senators held their nose as they shelved the bill.
I wouldn't be suprised to see Jackson pull it off.

Senate District 37
This is Buddy Shaw's seat. Shaw announced that he won't seek another term, which gave Jane Smith a convenient slot to fit into. Barrow Peacock also announced for the seat. I don't know if the Southeast Shreveporter can pull the votes to beat Smith, but I'll call this one up in the air at the present time.

Tax Assessor
Ryal Siem is challenging incumbent Bobby Edmiston. Both have started putting signs up and that race will swing into gear soon. I will be writing more about it.

Police Jury
There are several races that I will get into after qualifying is complete in September. Already Winfred Johnston is in a free-for-all, with something like 6 people running against him. These may be some interesting races.

Julian Whittington has a huge advantage in money and in the fact that he served for 20 years, and knows nearly everyone in Bossier Parish. Mike McConnell has been working hard for several months, but is at a financial disadvantage.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More letters regarding Gardens of Southgate HOA

Letter #3
You should be ashamed of yourselves. Honor that family, not sue them. You are so stupid, you will lose and look like fools when this over. Public opinion will rightly make you reverse your Un American decision. I hope you spend a lot of your HOA funds on this and it costs you everything. No one will buy a home from you as long as you are this asinine.

Letter #4
Does BOSS HOG run your HOA, It sounds like it!!!!!!!

Letter #5
Dear HOA,
As a former Marine and Louisiana native, I find such rules to be inappropriate,considering that all manner of signage is displayed already. The fact that someone serving our country is singled out is un-American. If any"looking the other way", takes place it should be prioritized in favor of importance.
The below link is a patriotic message I wrote as a Marine Corps bugler,during Iraqi Freedom(2004) with fellow Louisiana native,Wynton Marsalis.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Southgate HOA - Burr battle heats up

So it Goes in Shreveport has an update on the Southgate HOA/Burr lawsuit.
I had posted on the situation here, here and here.
I have received a couple of letters about the suit, I am reprinting them below (edited for language – some people are really angry over this).

Letter #1
Really, you have got to be kidding me. Bossier Gardens of SouthGate HOA would not let a sign of support for a marine in the lawns of a home owner. The
board/lawyer and everyone should be put on the most violent front-line with no weapon to defend themselves. Then if they should survive, then they can
This is truly the top ****** up article I have read this month.
America use to be ranked #1 in the freedom list, now they are ranked below 25 and it is because of situations and idiots running HOAs like this.
Everyone on that HOA needs to the honorable thing, resign, and move out of the HOA ... preferably (to) North Korea where that behavior is fully acceptable. I suspect painting a big "L" on their heads might be reasonable also.
Shocked at what idiotic people we have out there.

Letter #2
Way to go you ******* ****** bags!!
A south Bossier City homeowners association has sued to force a family to remove a front yard sign supporting their son's military service because it violated subdivision covenants.
The Times reports that the Gardens of Southgate filed the suit this month against Timothy and Jodi Burr, who have lived in the subdivision since 2006. The Burrs placed a large multicolored banner with a picture of their 20-year-old son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Corey Burr, and the phrase "Our son defends our freedom" in January after Corey Burr was deployed to Afghanistan.
Jodi Burr says her family will fight the suit and do not intend to remove the sign.
An attorney representing the association, declined to comment.
The Burrs contend signs supporting a school or team are visible throughout the neighborhood.
I hope you ******* rot in hell!

Update: Now on Fox News website

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DA to ask for Needham's release, but won't drop charges

All of the media sources are reporting that DA Schuyler Marvin will send the sheriff a letter this week asking the sheriff to release Gerald Needham.  Needham, however, will remain under indictment on three charges of first-degree murder.
He won't leave jail, of course, because the Feds have a hold on him; but he won't be in Parish custody on the murder charges.  Marvin said that he is not ready to drop the charges yet.
Needham's lawyers filed for dismissal of the charges.  Judge Robinson gave the DA two weeks to answer, and will give his opinion within a week after that.
Needham's attorneys are upset because they wanted the Grand Jury proceedings recorded, but there is no law that says that they must be, so they weren't.  The attorneys suspect that police detectives lied to the Grand Jury.
Hey guys - do something with this, one way or the other.  If you made a mistake in charging Needham, then drop the charges.
If you don't believe you made a mistake, then by all means keep him in jail.
You can't have it both ways.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Plot Thickens

Well, well.  Schuyler Marvin announced today that he will not drop the murder charges against Gerald Needham in light of new evidence that is coming in.
My hunch is that someone is talking - singing, in fact.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Keeping it in Perspective

A lot of people are having a field day attacking the Bossier City Police Department and its leadership these days.
The most recent, of course, is the case of Gerald Needham. Needham was arrested by BCPD and charged in the Norris triple murder case on the basis of an eyewitness identification. Any other evidence wasn’t released.
The case was turned over to DA Schuyler Marvin and he sought, and got, an indictment for three counts of First Degree Murder.
The case is now unraveling before their eyes, since the gun used in the murders was used by Robert Clark, Jr. in a robbery in Haughton. Marvin has indicated that Needham will be released and that Clark is a person of interest in the murder case. Needham is being held pending federal weapons charges, but the murder charges will be dropped.
This does raise serious questions. What would have happened to Needham if the weapon and the forensic evidence hadn’t given reasonable doubt to his charges? It is a serious thing, but this case also proves that the system does work.
While it doesn’t always work properly, it does correct itself when possible. That is what has happened in this case.
There is no evidence that the police tried to railroad Needham, no evidence was ‘planted’ and no officers are accused of wrongdoing in the case. In fact, it is the ‘system’ itself which discovered that the weapon used in the Haughton robbery was the same one used in the murders. It was the ‘system’, in the person of the DA, who looked at that evidence, investigated further, and said that there was nothing to tie Needham to Clark.
It is that DA who is dropping the murder charges against Needham.
As for the police, I fully believe that they acted in good faith and thought that they had arrested the right person. The fact that they made a mistake only proves that they made a mistake – not that they are guilty of any persecution of Needham.
If anyone has facts that dispute my belief, please present them. Notice, I said facts, not opinions.
As for opinions, we all have them, but BCPD and the DA are allowing the facts to drive this case, and not their feelings or opinions.
Bossier City has some of the finest police officers you will find anywhere. I have stood with them in good times and bad, and will continue to do so.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Robert Clark new suspect in triple murder

It appears that the .45 caliber pistol used in the triple murder at Bill Norris Appliance was not in Gerald Needham’s possession at the time of the murders.

Robert Clark, Jr., who fired the gun in a Haughton robbery after Needham had been taken into custody used to be a bouncer at Déjà Vu in Downtown Shreveport.
On April 6th, days before the Norris murders, a .45 caliber handgun was stolen from a car in the Déjà Vu parking lot.
According to DA Schuyler Marvin, investigators have been unable to establish any connection between Needham and Clark.
It appears that Clark is the new suspect in the case. Look for the charges against Needham to be dropped.
KTBS has the full story.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clark/Needham - Mistaken Identity or Conspiracy?


Wearing a hoodie, walking away from Norris appliance, would it be that difficult to mistake Clark for Needham?
Clark ended up using the .45 in a robery in Haughton, which leaves limited possibilities:

1. The eyewitnesses, in good faith, identified the wrong man.
2. Needham and Clark have a connection that hasn't been discovered yet and conspired with one another on the killings, or at least in sharing the same weapon.  Clark's criminal history is in Texas, so that may be questionable.
3. Clark somehow got possession of the gun from Needham after the Norris murders.
I'm sure the investigators will come up with the right answer, and I'm sure they are leaning on the woman below, Jasmine Billingsley, Clark's girlfriend, for any knowledge she has.  If she is smart, she will cooperate to her fullest.  She doesn't look too happy in the mug shot.
To answer some of the comments from the last post, this is not a criticism of BCPD at all. I believe they acted in good faith and apprehended the person they thought was responsible.  He may yet prove to be.
Both Needham and Clark are currently at Bossier Max.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Did BCPD jump the gun in arresting Needham?

Read the entire story at KTBS website.
Simply put, the gun used in the Bill Norris killing was used in May in a robbery at Emerson's store in Haughton.  The suspect fired a bullet into the floor.  The crime lab says that it is the same gun used to in the triple murder at Bill Norris appliance.
Gerald Needham was arrested in April and charged with the crime.  Obviously, he was in jail at the time of the Emerson robbery.
DA Schuyler Marvin said he believes Needham is guilty based on the testimony of two eyewitnesses.
This is developing, we will keep it updated.
Link to story in The Times.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bossier City Soldier killed in Afghanistan

I'll just reprint the official announcement today.  We will have more information about this hero in a day or two.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Michael J. Garcia, 27, of Bossier City, La., died July 4 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 20th Support Command (CBRNE), Fort Polk, La.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Police presence at Louisiana Boardwalk Part 2

In December I did a blog post on the police presence at the Boardwalk.
The blog post went into the question of Bossier City providing regularly assigned officers to assist private security.
It appears that is about to change.  Effective July 10th, according to my sources, the officers will be reassigned to street duty and only one full time officer, a sergeant, will be assigned to the Boardwalk as a liaison officer.  Other officers, of course, will be available for backup as needed, as they would in any other situation.
I'm told that members of the city council suggested the change in order to get more officers on patrol in the city.
I'm also told that John Good has a meeting scheduled with Mayor Walker to discuss the situation.  Obviously, from what I hear, he is not a happy camper.
My information is from a couple of second hand sources.  As with most announcements that come out on a Friday, particularly on a three day weekend, it is difficult to verify until the following week.  That's why they release it on Friday.
I will attempt to verify this and get complete information on Tuesday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lege redistricting affects Bossier

Below are the new maps of Representative Districts 8 & 9.  The Town of Benton is now in District 8 and out of Henry Burns' District 9.
Jane Smith is term limited and is running for the District 37 Senate seat against Barrow Peacock.
This means that I will have to choose between Duke Lowrie and Jeff Thompson.
I have enjoyed having Henry Burns as a representative.  Any inquiry that I have made, and there have been several, were answered completely and promptly by Dodie Horton.  She provided us with the maps below.
So who will I support now?  I may make a couple of endorsements after qualifying takes place on September 6th thru the 8th.
I also want to watch the races develop.  I don't know what Jeff Thompson's strategy is, but Duke Lowrie is knocking on every door in the district.  Personal contact goes a long way, particularly with two candidates who have never held elective office.
You can't win this one with speeches to the Service Clubs and some behind the scenes politicking.
Julian Whittington signs are popping up all over the parish, and I'm told a lot more are to come.
Incumbent Police Juror Winfred Johnston has 5 or 6 opponents, if you have driven north of Benton to Plain Dealing you have seen them.  Also some Matlock for Sheriff signs, although I haven't seen any in other parts of the parish, but they may be there.
Mark Toloso is actively working Police Jury District 2, where he is challenging incumbent Glenn Benton.  I haven't seen a lot of action yet in the Assessor's race, but it's coming.
Below are the maps of Legislative District 8 and District 9.