A 39-year-old Raceland man found guilty of ordering the 2013 killing of a confidential informant has been sentenced to life in prison, prosecutors said.
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.
Thompkins son, Traveyon Blackledge, has already been convicted of both killings, and a third accomplice is scheduled to go to trial later this year.
Evidence presented during the trial included jail recordings of phone calls made by Thompkins to acquaintances, including Blackledge, seeking to have Landry killed to prevent her testimony.
State District Judge Walter Lanier of Thibodaux handed down the sentence on Wednesday. Thompkins had already been serving a life sentence as a habitual offender after being convicted for distributing cocaine the week after Landry’s murder.
Thompkins will spend the rest of his life in prison without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence, prosecutors said.
“To set up the killing of another human being for the purpose of avoiding trial is unthinkable,” District Attorney Kristine Russell said. “Life in prison is the only appropriate sentence. While we might never be able to give the victims’ families real closure, we can give them justice. I hope that this begins the healing process for both of these families.”
The defendant also received five years for the negligent homicide of Lefort, which he will serve concurrently to the homicide sentence but consecutively to the habitual offender sentence, prosecutors said.
Assistant District Attorneys Jason Chatagnier and Joe Soignet prosecuted the case.
“I hope this conviction and sentence sends a strong message to anyone who is thinking about trying to intimidate or threaten a witness,” Chatagnier said. “It’s just not worth it.”
--Daily Comet Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.
Posted on Fri, April 20, 2018
by By Dan Copp Daily Comet Staff Writer