Jury convicts suspect in 2013 Larose double murder
Eleven of 12 jurors decided Friday evening to convict Traveyon Blackledge of the second-degree murders of 41-year-old Nikki Landry and 54-year-old Harry Lefort, whose bodies were found Sept. 22, 2013, in Landry's apartment on West Fourth Street.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of probation, parole or suspension of sentence. State District Judge Walter Lanier scheduled Blackledge's formal sentencing for March 9.
Blackledge's father, 38-year-old Toronzo Thompkins, is accused of ordering him and 38-year-old Jerrard Major Sr. to kill Landry, who was a confidential informant set to testify against Thompkins in his crack cocaine distribution trial.
Thompkins is already serving a life sentence, having been convicted of the drug charge despite Landry's death. He and Major are awaiting trial on the murder charges.
In the days before the slayings, Thompkins used other Lafourche Parish jail inmates' codes to call people and have them connect him to Blackledge.
Blackledge told detectives in a recorded statement that Thompkins' use of the phrase "hiring a lawyer" meant he was ordering a hit.
Blackledge initially told detectives Major entered the apartment with two guns and shot both victims, but detectives said that didn't match the evidence from the scene. He then said Major had shot Landry, then pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him if he didn't kill Lefort.
Dr. Dana Troxclair, a forensic pathologist with the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office, conducted the autopsies Sept. 23, 2013. Landry had eight gunshot wounds, including on her head, arm and hand, and Lefort had three gunshot wounds on his head and wrist.
Troxclair said Landry didn't appear to have any defensive wounds.
"This would have been a pretty quick death," she testified.
According to investigators, Landry and Lefort were killed as she lay in bed and he sat on the couch watching TV.
Chatagnier told the jury that the suspects couldn't have shot one victim without alarming the other. He described the shootings as "execution style," saying the victims never had a chance to react.
"Harry Lefort had nothing to do with Toronzo Thompkins or Traveyon Blackledge," he said. "Harry Lefort was truly in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Posted on Sat, January 28, 2017
by Bridget More, Daily comet