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Trial begins in ’07 slaying – Suspect called ‘cold-blooded*

Author(s): KORAN ADDO Date: January 29, 2009 Section: WESTS1DE BUREAU


PORT ALLEN – Prosecutor Tony Clayton told a jury hearing the second-degree murder trial of Derrance M. White that the accused is a “cold­blooded killer” who shot an unarmed man nine times on a street crowded with witnesses, including the defendant’s two young daughters. In his opening statement in the trial under way Wednesday in 18th Judicial District Court, Clayton told jurors that White, 25, fired several shots at Ron Christopher Joseph, hitting Joseph in the back and an arm before standing over the wounded man and emptying live shots from a .45-caliber pistol into the victim’s head.

Clayton told jurors that White shot Joseph “like a dog” and in “broad daylight” and then fled the scene.

“People like (White) forfeit their right to walk around in society,” Clayton said.

Both Clayton and defense attorney Thomas D’Amico agreed that White shot and killed Joseph, but D’Amico sketched a different scenario of what happened on March, 26, 2007.

D’Amico told jurors that White and Joseph had been feuding for some time and Joseph had repeatedly threatened to kill White if given the chance.

On the day of the shooting, D’Amico said, White and his two young daughters were riding as passengers in a neighbor’s car when Joseph drove by the car in his truck, reversed the truck, got out and walked toward the car shouting and threatening White’s life.

White got out of the car he was riding in to put some distance between his daughters and the angry Joseph, who was approaching the car, D’Amico said.

White saw Joseph reach into his shirt as if grabbing for a weapon, and then shot Joseph as a means of protecting himself and his daughters, D’Amico said.

“Derrance White believed he and his daughters were in danger,” D’Amico told jurors. “Put yourself in that position. Ron Joseph was the aggressor and he had made up his mind to pick a fight.”

State District Judge Robin Free, who is presiding over the case, scheduled White’s trial to resume at 8:30 a.m. today. The 18th Judicial District encompasses West Baton Rouge, Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes.

Under Louisiana law, White, 822 Avenue A, Apt. 6, Port Allen, faces a

Murder trial defense: Intoxication

Author(s): JOE CYAN JR. Date: January 28, 2010 Section: South LA. & Business

A Baton Rouge man is not criminally responsible for the murder of his ex-fiancee and attempted murder of one of her neighbors in 2008 because he was involuntarily intoxicated at the time, one of his attorneys told a jury Wednesday. Defense lawyer Tommy Damico argued in his opening statement that Frederick Dominique Reed Jr. had a violent reaction to the prescribed anti-depressant Lexapro, which he began taking in early August 2008.

But a prosecutor countered that Reed was “very calculated” in hunting down Mia Reid and shooting her at her Scotlandville apartment while she slept next to her 10-year-old daughter on Aug. 23, 2008.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Morvant also noted in her opening statement that Reid’s request For a temporary restraining order against Reed was denied Aug. 12, 2008, and that a hearing on a permanent protective order was to be held Aug. 26, 2008.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriffs deputies arrested Reed on a count of domestic abuse battery in March 2008, but Reid dropped the complaint, her temporary restraining order petition stated.

At the end of July 2008, Reid and her daughter moved out of an apartment near Siegen Lane that they shared with Reed to a new apartment in north Baton Rouge, friends and relatives have said.

Reed, 39, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Reid, 31, and attempted second-degree murder in the wounding of Richard Kuti.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

State District Judge Tony Marabella is presiding over the trial, which will resume today.

Morvant told jurors that Reed first entered apartment 23 at the Ashley Oak complex on Rosenwald Road and shot Kuti three times while he slept, then went to apartment 33 and shot Reid.

“While Mia Reid is sleeping on an air mattress with her 10-year-old daughter, he shoots her twice,” Morvant said.

Later, as authorities closed in on him on Villa Drive, Reed tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest, she said.

Kuti and his roommate, Courvasier Jones, testified they did not know Reed or Reid. Jones said he heard shots and Reed appeared in his

room asking lor Reid. He said he told Reed that he did not know Reid or where she was, and Reed left.

“When I was wrapping up his (Kuti’s) arm with an Ace bandage, I heard more shots,” Jones testified.

Meghan Green, who said Reid was her best friend, testified she raced to Reid’s apartment complex after Reid’s daughter called her.

“When (she) jumped into my arms, she had Mia’s bloody cell phone,” Green testified.

Damico asked the jury to “keep an open mind” and not have an “emotional or gut reaction” to the tragic events that he argued were “not the legal fault” of his client.

“This is not a case about who did it or how it was done,” he said. “It is about why it happened and what caused it.”

Damico added that Reed’s involuntary intoxication was the “direct cause” of the shootings.

“The drug did not interact with Frederick Reed as it was prescribed to do,” he said. “Some people are affected in very dangerous ways.”

“But for the involuntary intoxication, Frederick Reed would not have committed these acts,” he added.

Louisiana law says an offender is exempt from criminal responsibility if intoxication is involuntary and the circumstances indicate the condition was the direct cause of the commission of the crime.

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