CPSO: Suspects in custody in beating death case

The latest in the New Year's beating death investigation
Brian Diamond (Source: CPSO)
Brian Diamond (Source: CPSO)
Kawliga Connelly (Source: CPSO)
Kawliga Connelly (Source: CPSO)
Steven Ellis (Source: CPSO)
Steven Ellis (Source: CPSO)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The charges against a man accused in the beating death of a man on Tuesday have been upgraded to manslaughter and two others are accused in the case, according to Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's officials.

Brian Diamond, 41, of Moss Bluff, has been in custody since his arrest. He remains in jail. Bond was initially set at $350,000. It is now set at $950,000, according to authorities.

Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said 36-year-old Matthew V. Crochet, of Moss Bluff, was the beating victim. He died from severe brain injuries Wednesday.

The two other men accused are 37-year-old Kawliga L. Connelly and 40-year-old Steven B. Ellis, both of Moss Bluff. Both are charged with manslaughter. Bonds in those cases are also set at $950,000.

Both Connelly and Ellis turned themselves in on Thursday afternoon, according to authorities.

Mancuso said there were two separate altercations: One involving Crochet and Diamond in a residence on South Perkins Ferry Road and another involving Crochet outside of the residence.

As a result of that second altercation, arrest warrants were issued for Connelly and Ellis, according to Mancuso.

The case remains under investigation.

In a statement Thursday, Mancuso said he is aware of speculation on social networking sites on the Internet about a possible motive in Crochet's beating.

"It appears alleged inappropriate contact with a juvenile at South Perkins Ferry Road may have precipitated the beating incident on Jan. 1," Mancuso said. "The CPSO Sex Crimes Division is investigating the allegation and has corroborated the complaint through witness statements and interviews."

"The investigation revealed Diamond demanded Crochet leave the residence. Crochet complied. Upon Crochet's departure, he exited his vehicle for unknown reasons, in front of the residence.  Witness statements indicate a second physical altercation occurred between Steve Ellis, Kawliga Connelly, Diamond and Crochet. Crochet was knocked unconscious, therefore unable to defend himself, and the beating continued, ultimately resulting in his death, and arrest warrants being issued against the three for manslaughter," Mancuso continued in the statement.

Mancuso said CPSO worked one homicide the entire year of 2012. Just two hours into 2013, parish authorities experienced their first one of the new year. Mancuso said he hopes this is not indicative of the year to come.

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