Court of Appeal affirms conviction

Cawthorne serving life sentence in robbery gone wrong

<p class="indent">JENNINGS — An appeals court has affirmed the life sentence of a man convicted in the brutal beating death of an elderly Lake Arthur man in what authorities say was a robbery gone wrong.</p><p class="indent">Roderick Jermaine Cawthorne Jr. was convicted in June 2017 of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the death of Charles Raymond Talen, 73.</p><p class="indent">Talen’s body was found by sheriff’s deputies bound and bloody on the floor of his home with blunt-force injuries to the head and neck. Several items including a safe full of gold coins, guns and a vehicle were found missing from the home.</p><p class="indent">Cawthorne and co-defendant Brett “Cowboy” Hebert are accused of killing Talen in his Pom Roy Road home and taking items from the home before setting the victim’s vehicle on fire. Nine others, including Cawthorne’s father and a cousin, were arrested of various crimes including accessory after the fact and obstruction of justice charges in connection with the slaying.</p><p class="indent">Hebert, who testified against Cawthorne, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 5 in the 31st Judicial District Court.</p><p class="indent">Two others, Carlos Daniels and Vaughn Robinson, have been sentenced in their roles to move and help conceal items taken from the home.</p><p class="indent">Cawthorne was sentenced to a mandatory life in prison without parole on the seconddegree murder charge and 40 years on the obstruction of justice charge. The sentences are to run consecutively with credit for time served.</p><p class="indent">In an appeal filed in September 2017, Cawthorne and attorney Paula C. Marx of the Louisiana Appellate Project argued that the sentences were too excessive and unconstitutional.</p><p class="indent">They contend the trial court erred when it ordered a then-18-year-old offender to serve excessive consecutive sentences of life in prison without benefits for the second-degree murder conviction and a maximum 40 years at hard labor for the obstruction of justice conviction.</p><p class="indent">Cawthorne claims he qualifies for a lesser sentence because he was only 18 at the time of the offenses, has no criminal history and should have the opportunity to seek parole in the future.</p><p class="indent">The appellate court denied claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.</p><p class="indent">Cawthorne further contends the court failed to make any factual finding that he was competent to stand trial.</p><p class="indent">In May 2015, Cawthorne and his attorney filed a motion for a psychiatric exam in and to change his not guilty plea to not guilty by reason of insanity. Cawthorne was found competent to proceed with trial, which the appellate court agreed.</p>””Roderick Jermaine Cawthorne Jr.

Crime

10/26: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

Man arrested a 21st time — this time for living in apartment complex’s attic

Local News

Leesville celebrates first female police chief

Local Business News

Community Foundation hires master planning firm

Local Business News

Port of LC seeks reimbursement for hurricane repairs

Local News

Jim Gazzolo column: Cowboys show they can be the bully

Local News

Liz Williams: Desire to help comes from ‘missional heart’

National News

Biden, Manchin and Schumer huddle, but still no budget deal

Local News

Photo Gallery: Trinity Baptist Dodgeball Tournament

Local News

Craig Marks: Past hardships just something God had me go through

Local News

SW La. school lunch menus Oct. 25-29

Crime

10/23: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Trinity Baptist drawing younger generation with dodgeball tournament

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Where do we go from here?

Local News

Deaf student welding his way to success

Business News

Louisiana float to appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Local News

Jeff Davis School Board approves one-time pay supplement

Crime

15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes

Crime

Kinder man convicted in double homicide

Crime

10/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

More than 500 vehicles expected at Last Resort car show

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

It’s Spooktacular: Coats for Kids kickoff Oct. 29

Crime

DeRidder man convicted of kidnapping will be resentenced on drug charges