Last Modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:11 AM
A local attorney and recent judicial candidate was indicted on domestic abuse charges Thursday by a grand jury in state district court.
Michael Pierre Ned, 44, 917 Alice St., was indicted on charges of domestic abuse battery by strangulation, filing or maintaining false public records and two counts of violation of a protective order.
Ned’s wife claimed she was sitting on the back patio of their home in September when he came out of the house and began beating her with his fist, knocking her unconscious, Kim Myers, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said in an April news release. A 13-year-old family member saw Ned drag his wife into the house, put a pillow over her face and say “she had to die,” Myers said.
Ned, who continues to proclaim his innocence, said the charges “are false allegations and non-substantive complaints.”
“I went to the grand jury, and it was obviously tainted, and the procedure was totally illegal,” Ned said. “I was met with great hostility and bias-ness. It was strange for ADA Cynthia Killingsworth to be present, who often interrupted my responses even though she was not the prosecutor handling the case. Since my unlawful arrest I have obtained custody of my children as a result of the evidence I had presented to the court.”
Ned said he testified before the grand jury, as did his daughter. He was not allowed to present text messages from family members to the grand jury and he was continually interrupted by assistant district attorney Hope Buford, he said. “They threw me out” of the grand jury, he said.
“It was totally tainted,” Ned said. “They wouldn’t let me talk, they kept interrupting me, they acted hostile toward me... It was a set-up, Cynthia Killingsworth was laughing like, ‘ha, ha, ha, get him out of here.’”
District Attorney John DeRosier would not comment on the specifics of Thursday’s grand jury because it is illegal to break the secrecy of the grand jury, he said.
“We will not violate grand jury secrecy,” DeRosier said. “Any disclosures that were made about what occurs in a grand jury, unless privileged by law or authorized by law in the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure are, in fact, illegal, and anyone disclosing that information is subject to constructive contempt of court and can be punished by the court.”
Grand jury is the same every week and is “legally correct, it is legally accurate and it is appropriate,” DeRosier said. “We allow targets of that grand jury to appear at that grand jury if they so desire. They are not obligated to attend, but they can if they so choose.”
Grand juries ultimately decide whom they want to testify, though, Killingsworth said.
Ned finished second in the election, behind Sharon Wilson, to fill the 14th Judicial District Court’s Division F seat, which was vacated when Wilford Carter stepped down during his term. Wilson received 68 percent of the vote, Ned received 21 percent and Derrick Kee received 12 percent.
Ned, as he said when he was arrested, said the charges are to keeping him from running for the judge’s seat again in November.
When Ned was arrested days after the election, DeRosier said the charges had been held so as not to sway the election.
“We receive reports of criminal activity from law enforcement agencies, that’s how every case is borne in this office,” DeRosier said. “We do not ever — underline ever — generate our own business here. It always comes from a law enforcement agency.
“For him to suggest that we’re doing it to prevent him from running in another election in the future, is just plum goofy.”
Carter, who stepped down Oct. 31, reportedly issued a protective order against Ned on Oct. 17. Ned claims that Carter, too, had political motivations, because he backed Wilson in the race for the judge’s seat.
Ned claims he was “rendering aid” to his wife during the incident on his back porch. He dragged his wife back in the house, then was putting the pillow under her head, he said. He did joke with daughter about putting the pillow over his wife’s face, but it was only a joke out of frustration, he said. Ned said bruising didn’t match up to her claims and that marks on her arm were from a bicycle accident.
Ned and Vanessa Tutson are also accused of using false information on a report to the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office in an attempt to have his wife committed to a psychiatric ward. Ned said the report he filed “is true, and correct,” and that he was trying to get his wife help.
Tutson has not been indicted. Charges against her have not been rejected, Killingsworth said.