Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon said that during a Feb. 19 hearing, one or more of the defendants accused in the Radio Shack robberies made gang signs and
gave intimidating looks to the lead detective in the case. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:51 AM
The question of whether to allow information from a Houston traffic stop into the trials of nine people accused of robbing RadioShack stores in Lake Charles and Sulphur went unanswered Wednesday.
The motion to suppress evidence was put off until a later date so that all motions related to the case can be heard at once. The robberies took place Jan. 24, 2013, the same date that several of the defendants were stopped in Houston.
Defense attorneys asked Judge Robert Wyatt on Feb. 19 to suppress evidence from the stop, saying it was done without probable cause.
Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon said that during the Feb. 19 hearing, one or more of the defendants made gang signs and gave intimidating looks to the lead detective in the case. About 30 uniformed police officers attended the hearing Wednesday.
“We know that we are the thin blue line. We are what separates the criminal elements from the good citizens of this parish and the business owners, so we, today, on a voluntary basis, came to send a message that we will not allow the citizens of this parish to be intimidated; we will not allow business owners to be intimidated; we will not allow law enforcement to be intimidated,” Dixon said.
“We are here to send a message: For those wanna-be gangbangers in Houston, or those gangbangers in Houston, keep your ass out of Lake Charles. You are not welcome. We will identify you if you commit a crime here. We will hunt you down. You cannot hide in Houston. We will bring you back, and you will be prosecuted.”
The RadioShack robberies were one of two crimes in 2013 that Lake Charles police said were the work of Houston gangs. Dixon questioned whether Lake Charles was being tested or scouted as a mark.
A trial date of March 10 was set for the nine RadioShack suspects, but the case will not be ready for trial by that date.
Because prosecutor David Kimball recently took over the cases and condensed the charges, the nine are being rearraigned. Most have already been arraigned on the new charges, but Stacey Parker, 25, was arraigned Wednesday, pleading not guilty. Dariana Bridges, 21, and Elvis Lusk, 27, the two defendants who are out on bond, are to be arraigned March 17.
Kimball asked for blood samples from the defendants, because oral cheek swabs sometimes do not provide enough DNA for an accurate identification.
Wyatt said that if the cheek swabs are tested and don’t provide identification, he will reconsider whether to order blood samples.
Defense attorney Catherine Stagg argued that because her client, Michael Gerard Holmes, 26, is only accused in the Lake Charles RadioShack robbery, and no DNA evidence was found at the Lake Charles scene, there is no need to take a DNA sample.
Kimball said that suspects’ DNA can be compared to DNA evidence found in Sulphur and a weapon found in Baytown, Texas, because all nine are charged with conspiracy charges.
Jarvis Hodge, 25, Holmes, Lusk, and Diego Chapman, 20, are charged with armed robbery, armed robbery with a firearm, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery with a firearm.
Jason Rashad Barnes, 22, Christian Dominique Earvin, 26, Bridges, James Undra Cooper, 23, and Parker face the same charges, plus additional charges of armed robbery and armed robbery with a firearm.
Wyatt decreased bond for Earvin, from $1.75 million to $850,000, to reflect his condensed charges.