New Orleans police ID suspect in volunteer's death
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Investigators have named a suspect in the murder of 18-year-old Joseph Massenburg, an Americorps worker gunned down on April 1.
Massenburg, of Illinois, was shot as he was talking on his cellular phone outside his residence.
WWL-AM reports police said Friday they are looking for 18-year-old Glen Emerson who is at-large. According to detectives, Emerson was the driver of a white Lexus SUV from which a gunman shot Massenburg several times.
Police spokesman, Officer Frank Robertson, says Emerson has a previously been arrested on charges of battery, criminal trespass and reckless operation of a vehicle.
Detectives also are seeking the public's help in locating the SUV and other possible suspects in the shooting. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.
Study tabled on I-49 South alternative route
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A proposal to study an alternative path for Interstate 49 South that would bypass Lafayette appears dead for this year.
State Rep. Terry Landry, D-Lafayette, and state Rep. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, filed a legislative "study request" asking the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to evaluate the so-called "Teche Ridge" route for I-49 South, which would skirt Lafayette to the east through rural St. Martin Parish.
Such requests do not require a vote but can be blocked if at least one third of the House or the Senate file written objections. The Advocate reports the House approved the request, but 15 of Louisiana's 39 senators objected to the proposed study, legislative records show.
Landry says the objections mean the study proposal is off the table for this year.
BATON ROUGE PARK KILLINGS
Man gets consecutive life terms in park killings
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - An East Feliciana Parish man has been sentenced to two consecutive life terms, plus another 100 years, in the brutal slaying of his former girlfriend and her 3-year-old son and the attempted killing of 2 of the woman's other young children at a park near Zachary in 2008.
The Advocate reports state District Judge Tony Marabella sentenced 31-year-old Dominique Dantoni Smith on Friday.
Smith, of Wilson, was convicted in March on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 23-year-old Jessica Johnson Palmer, of Baker, and Juan Palmer Jr. at Doyle's Bayou Park. Jessica Palmer was nearly decapitated; her son's throat was slit.
Smith also was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder of the ex-couple's then-4-year-old daughter, Paige Johnson, and Robbyn Palmer, a six-month-old infant at the time.
JPSO: Father apparently kills teen son, then self
RIVER RIDGE, La. (AP) - Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies say a 52-year-old man apparently shot his 16-year-old son in the head and then turned the gun on himself in their home in River Ridge.
Authorities found both bodies in the home Friday after the boy's mother called 911 asking the sheriff's office to check the residence because she had not heard from her son in a while.
The Times-Picayune reports deputies entered the home through an unlocked front door and found the man's body on the living room floor. Sheriff's spokesman, Col. John Fortunato, says a semiautomatic pistol lay next to him. He was shot in the head.
Deputies searched the home and found the teenager's body in a bedroom. Parish coroner's office investigators determined the teen also was shot in the head.
NEW ORLEANS POLICE REFORM
City fails again in try to delay police pact
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has refused to delay implementation of an agreement calling for major reforms of the New Orleans Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan's Friday decision came a day after she rejected the city's request to vacate the agreement it reached last year with the Justice Department
Mayor Mitch Landrieu initially hailed the agreement as a much-needed document to guide reforms. But he now says the city cannot afford the potential costs of the police pact and a separate agreement that Sheriff Marlin Gusman made for reforms of the city-funded jail.
The city is appealing Morgan's refusal to vacate the police agreement. Morgan, in refusing to delay its implementation, said Friday that the city hasn't shown that it is likely to win that appeal.
Texas Brine offers settlements for sinkhole
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Texas Brine says it has started extending settlement offers to Assumption Parish residents who have been under an evacuation order since August because of a 15-acre sinkhole.
The company operated a collapsed salt dome that authorities say caused the sinkhole.
Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch says 23 settlement offers were ready and officials were contacting those residents Friday afternoon and Saturday.
News of settlement offers comes just days after Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order to review the company's permits with the possibility of revocation - because of the company's slow response to residents seeking buyouts.
Company officials blamed the delay on their insurance carriers.
The sinkhole is located about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. About 350 area residents have been under an evacuation order since August.
Senators hear from public on next year's budget
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - People who rely on the state for health care and educational programs traveled to the Louisiana Capitol to ask senators to pay for those services in next year's budget.
For hours Friday, the Senate Finance Committee heard requests for cuts to be reversed, for programs to be continued and for spending to increase on services with long waiting lists.
It was the day for public testimony, as senators decide what changes they want to make to the 2013-14 budget proposal forwarded by the House.
People pleading for their causes spilled into the halls, waiting their turn. Some women wept as they spoke about the dollars they sought for disabled children, domestic violence shelters and the state's voucher program.
The Finance Committee will craft its version of the budget next week.
MUSIC-BAYOU COUNTRY SUPERFEST
Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert at country fest
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The sounds of country music take over the City of Baton Rouge as the Bayou Country Superfest brings some of the genre's biggest names to LSU's Tiger Stadium for a Memorial Day holiday jamfest.
Headlining Saturday are Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and Aaron Lewis, the former frontman for rock band Staind. The 2-day festival concludes Sunday with performances by Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan and The Band Perry.
Festival producer Quint Davis says the talent and free fan fest held before the nightly concerts help to entice attendees. In its fourth year, the festival drew 75,000 people last year.
Visit Baton Rouge executive vice president Renee Areng says Superfest has encouraged people to travel to Baton Rouge on a traditionally sleepy weekend.
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