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SHREVEPORT, La. -- Caddo District Court and the Caddo District Attorney's office began August with an increased tempo of trials, all conducted with masking and social distancing in mind.

"Unlike other parishes in the state, we are fortunate to have some jury terms and have been able to bring prospective jurors into the courthouse," Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. said. "We have worked hard to create a safe environment for the jurors and still carry out our Constitutional duty. Unfortunately, we still have a judge in one particular section who has continued several homicide cases we have announced ready to go to trial with witnesses ready to testify. Clearly, the families of the deceased victims have a right to their day in court and we need cooperation in order to do this. We will stay vigilant in our attempts to get these cases tried."

Three of the D.A.'s five sections conducted trials ending with convictions or guilty pleas. Summaries of cases by section are as follows:

Section 2

Donovan Williams, 25, was charged with three counts of armed robbery with firearm enhancement, stemming from a string of robberies in Shreveport in 2017 where officers seized evidence that tied him to the crimes, including a firearm and gloves that contained his DNA.

He was set to go on trial Monday, but asked to enter a plea prior to jury selection. He pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery and one count of attempted armed robbery, for which he was sentenced by District Judge John D. Mosely Jr. to 15 years for the armed robbery and to seven years on the attempted armed robbery, the terms to run concurrently.

Richard Parrish, 53, charged with felony stalking of an ex-girlfriend, was set to go on trial Monday, but pleaded guilty as jury selection began in Mosely's courtroom.

Parrish called the victim more than 300 times from November 2018 to February 2019 and left her threatening messages. He previously had been convicted of aggravated arson after he set fire to her residence in 2008, and also for domestic abuse battery against her.

Parrish pleaded guilty as charged to a multiple offender bill charging him as a second felony offender and faced up to 10 years in prison. Mosely sentenced Parrish to five years at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence and granted the victim a permanent protective order.

Williams and Parrish were prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Senae Hall and Treneisha Hill. Both were defended by Mary Harried.

Rotreyvion Young, 21, pleaded guilty before District Judge Charles Tutt Monday to a string of burglaries in the Pines Road area in October and November 2018. Young pleaded to 41 counts: 23 burglaries, 13 attempted burglaries, two thefts of a motor vehicle and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, based on his prior conviction for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling.

The burglaries occurred when the defendant and his cousin, who already had pleaded guilty, walked the streets and people’s yards almost every other night, pulling on car door handles, and stealing from cars that had been left unlocked. A joint investigation by the Shreveport Police and the Caddo Sheriff’s office led to the identification and arrest of Young and his cousin.

Young received the maximum sentences of 12 years on the burglaries, six years on the attempted burglaries and 10 years on the thefts of the motor vehicle, to run concurrently, as well as a separate eight years without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The sentences total 20 years at hard labor.

Section 5

A Shreveport man facing a handful of drug and weapons charges pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court Tuesday after his trial began.

Codero Delon Jackson, 33, faces up to 20 years in prison on two weapons charges, up to two years in prison on a drug charge and up to five years in prison on a charge of aggravated flight from an officer. If District Judge Erin Leigh Waddell Garrett rules the terms to run consecutively when Jackson returns to face her Sept. 10 for sentencing, he could find himself facing up to 27 years behind bars at hard labor, with up to 40 years  — the weapons charges — to be served without the benefit of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence. Fines also can be levied.

Jackson was arrested Feb. 25 after his vehicle was stopped by Louisiana State Police for a defective brake light. Jackson refused to comply with troopers' orders to exit his vehicle, then raced from the scene in his vehicle.

A high-speed chase followed through a north Shreveport neighborhood where he committed numerous traffic offenses and went across residents' yards eluding pursuers. When he could no longer drive his vehicle, he got out and ran to a nearby apartment complex, where finally was arrested. 

Jackson had two handguns as well as methamphetamine in powder and tablet form in his possession. As a convicted felon Jackson was not supposed to have firearms.

Jackson was charged with possession of methamphetamine, two counts of possession of a firearm or carrying a concealed weapon by a convicted felon and aggravated flight from an officer.

The trial began Monday with selection and empaneling of a 12-person jury, opening statements and testimony of two witnesses. Early the following day, before the trial could resume, Jackson pleaded guilty to all four charges.

Jackson was prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Ross Owen and Erica Jefferson. He was defended by Laetitia Black.

Section 3

Two local contractors were convicted of fraud.

On Wednesday, Dale Mitchell, 47, pleaded guilty in District Judge Charles Tutt's court to four counts of residential contractor fraud committed from 2013 to 2017. The amounts misappropriated ranged from $3,000 to $23,000.

Mitchell claimed to be a licensed contractor and in some cases even showed what he purported to be a contracting license required for work costing more than $7,500. He failed to secure permits and in all cases failed to finish the work. In one case, he was hired to renovate a house damaged by fire. When he failed to make the repairs, the house was condemned and demolished.

Mitchell received a suspended five-year hard labor sentence and was ordered to serve three years probation and pay restitution to all his victims.

Mitchell was prosecuted by assistant district attorneys William Gaskins and Kodie Smith. He was defended by Michael Enright.

Thomas Ledbetter's trial began Tuesday, August 4, 2020 and ended Wednesday, August 5, 2020, in Judge Charles Tutt's court. After deliberating 90 minutes, the two-woman, four-man juror returned a verdict of guilty-as-charged of residential contracting fraud in the amount of $2,819. The jury determined that Ledbetter, 39, failed to obtain a state license, failed to register with the State Contractors Board in order to complete a job when labor and materials exceed $7,500, and misappropriating funds given to build a garage, roofing work and a deck.

When Ledbetter returns to court Sept. 9 for sentencing he faces up to five years in prison with or without hard labor, and/or a fine of up to $3,000.

Ledbetter was prosecuted by assistant district attorneys Brittany Arvie and William Gaskins. He was defended by Michael Enright and John Griffin.

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