Murder is always a serious charge. It is even more serious when the person who is killed is a police officer. Such is the case in the indictments that were handed down last week which charged a 27-year-old man with five murders that took place in 2007. One of those he is accused of killing is a New Orleans police officer.
The 27-year-old has been in prison for several years on an unrelated gun conviction. He is facing a total of 17 charges, including felony charges and the five murder charges. The deaths all took place during late 2007, when the city of New Orleans was still in recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
The 27-year-old’s grandmother and father both contend that any so-called collaborators in the murders are lying. In cases like this, the prosecution will often rely upon the cooperation of an associate, in exchange for lesser charges. That associate may, or may, not be entirely truthful.
According to the indictment, the 27-year-old and at least two associates confronted the off-duty police officer outside the officer’s home, and forced him inside while demanding cocaine and money. At some point during the alleged incident, the police officer was shot and died of his wounds weeks later. The news report does not mention why the accused group thought that the officer had cocaine. It was reported however that the officer had been the subject of federal investigations related to drug rackets, although charges were never filed.
The four other deaths allegedly occurred during activities related to drug trafficking. Two of the supposed accomplices in the murders have pled guilty to lesser charges. One of them has had his records sealed and so the consequences have not been made public. The other so-called accomplice is facing up to 15 years in prison. The 27-year-old is facing the death penalty.
Source: The Times-Picayune, “Suspect indicted in 2007 killing of NOPD officer Thelonious Dukes,” Brendan McCarthy, March 15, 2012