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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Man seeks new trial in Larose double homicide

Man seeks new trial in Larose double homicide

A Raceland man found guilty of ordering the 2013 killing of a confidential informant is seeking a new trial.

Toronzo Thompkins, 38, was convicted May 26 of the second-degree murder of Nikki Landry, 41, of Larose. The jury also found him guilty of negligent homicide in the death of Landry’s acquaintance, 54-year-old Harry Lefort, of Cut Off.

The victims were shot Sept. 22, 2013, in Landry’s apartment on West Fourth Street. Landry was to testify against Thompkins in his cocaine distribution trial that week.

Thompkins was convicted of the drug charge despite Landry’s death and is now serving life in prison at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. He faces another life sentence for the murder conviction.

State District Judge Walter Lanier of Thibodaux scheduled a hearing for Jan. 19 on several requests Thompkins’ lawyer has made.

Along with seeking a new trial, Dulac attorney Wilbert Billiot has asked the judge to disclose the names and addresses of the jurors involved in Thompkins’ case.

Billiot said in court documents that during the trial, officers escorted Thompkins to the restroom. They ordered everyone to clear the hallway, a security measure taken whenever inmates are moved in and out of the courtroom.

A juror was in the hallway when this happened, Billiot said. He said he wants the jurors’ names and addresses so he can get the juror in question to testify about how the experience may have affected his vote.

Assistant District Attorney Jason Chatagnier prosecuted the case.

Authorities said Thompkins ordered his son, Traveyon Blackledge, and Jerrard Major Sr. to kill Landry.

Blackledge, 22, has already been convicted of two counts of second-degree murder. Major, 38, is awaiting trial.

-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.