Vernier on trial for Israeli man's death - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Vernier on trial for Israeli man's death

By Theresa Schmidt

A five year wait is over.Today is day one of the trial of Jonathan Vernier, charged in a carjacking and killing of an Israeli man in Southwest Louisiana. The jury is seated and testimony is underway.  The disappearance of Ran Mesika, and what presumably happened to the Israeli student and jewelry seller is beginning to unfold in Lake Charles Federal Court. His best friend describes him as stable, trustworthy, optimistic, popular, a good person.  Authorities believe he died in southwest louisiana at the hands of prison escapee Jonathan Venier who allegedly carjacked his van and killed him.

U.S. Attorney Donald Washington says the details will be revealed as the trial progresses.  "In 2003 an Israeli student while traversing the United States picked him (Vernier) up as a hitchhiker and moved along I-10 at some point..We accused Mr. Vernier of carjacking; ie taking the van in which the Israeli student was riding, taking it from him and killing him. So, this case is about carjacking, resulting in death." If convicted, Vernier could get life in prison. Mesika's body has never been found. 

 Testimony got underway with five witnesses close to Ran Mesika who portrayed him as a devoted friend and son who was in almost constant communication with those closest to him as he traveled the country involved in the sale of jewelry. They say he would not simply disappear and presume he's dead. And many were involved in the lengthy search for  Mesika after his disappearance. Court wrapped up earlier than usual when Mesika's father became choked up while testifying about phone and credit card records; about a dozen family and witnesses are here from Israel for the trial. All involved have been instructed not to talk to anyone about the case.

Earlier, before jury selection it came out that Vernier tried to escape from the Calcasieu jail this weekend....A deputy federal marshal testified this morning that they consider Vernier "absolutely a risk as far as escape."

Marshal Beau Bartel testified that Bernier has said"he won't die an old man in prison...that he would go out in a bloody confrontation, even if he has to kill someone he's going to go home..."

The trial resumes at 9 am tomorrow morning.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Jeanie, the three-legged dog, advances in national competition

    Jeanie, the three-legged dog, advances in national competition

    Sunday, May 20 2018 11:05 PM EDT2018-05-21 03:05:25 GMT
    (Source jeanie3legs.com)(Source jeanie3legs.com)

    Big news about a gifted canine star. Jeanie, a well-known Lake Charles, LA therapy dog is one of only 21 courageous canines to be advancing to the semifinal rounds of the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

    More >>

    Big news about a gifted canine star. Jeanie, a well-known Lake Charles, LA therapy dog is one of only 21 courageous canines to be advancing to the semifinal rounds of the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

    More >>
  • I-210 EB and I-10 WB blocked

    I-210 EB and I-10 WB blocked

    Sunday, May 20 2018 5:24 PM EDT2018-05-20 21:24:37 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    Both lanes of I-210 eastbound are blocked due to a vehicle accident. I-10 westbound is blocked as well due to a vehicle fire. It is advised to take alternate routes if possible. 7News is on the scene and will update the story as more information becomes available. Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>

    Both lanes of I-210 eastbound are blocked due to a vehicle accident. I-10 westbound is blocked as well due to a vehicle fire. It is advised to take alternate routes if possible. 7News is on the scene and will update the story as more information becomes available. Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Few showers are possible in the afternoon with more heat all week long

    FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Few showers are possible in the afternoon with more heat all week long

    Sunday, May 20 2018 4:40 PM EDT2018-05-20 20:40:17 GMT
    Few showers possible on MondayFew showers possible on Monday
    Few showers possible on MondayFew showers possible on Monday

    Tonight, it should be another nice, yet warm evening. Any clouds we see today will clear away around sunset, and the rain chances go back to zero tonight. The temperatures will be fairly warm. They should not cool out of the 70s in most places. Especially near the coastline. North of I-10 has a chance to too the upper 60s, but it will still be warm. This will start off with more hot and humid conditions. There will likely be plenty of clouds every now and then. 

    More >>

    Tonight, it should be another nice, yet warm evening. Any clouds we see today will clear away around sunset, and the rain chances go back to zero tonight. The temperatures will be fairly warm. They should not cool out of the 70s in most places. Especially near the coastline. North of I-10 has a chance to too the upper 60s, but it will still be warm. This will start off with more hot and humid conditions. There will likely be plenty of clouds every now and then. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly