Sheriff: Texts show suspect in deputy death plotting crimes

AP News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2016 6:53 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Cellphone text evidence shows the suspect in the shooting death of a New Orleans-area sheriff's deputy had been plotting crimes a day earlier, the sheriff said Friday.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand read texts — laced with street slang and profanity — from the phone of suspect Jerman Neveaux during an afternoon news conference. Neveaux faces a first-degree murder charge in Wednesday's death of David Michel, shot three times in the back at midday Wednesday along a busy street in the suburb of Harvey.

Normand also released a booking photo of a swollen-faced Neveaux, showing evidence of injuries the sheriff said included facial lacerations and an "orbital fracture" — an injury to the bone around the eye socket. A video turned over to a television station by an unidentified witness shows officers apparently hitting Neveaux shortly after his capture during a neighborhood search.

Neveaux, 19, was released from the hospital and was being held in neighboring St. Charles Parish on Friday, Normand said. Court records show he's set for a July 6 hearing. He was on probation after pleading guilty in New Orleans to possessing a stolen gun.

Normand said his office has tried to contact the person who took the video. He also said he has turned the video over to an FBI civil rights task force that his office works with regularly. He said he would have no other comment on the video. He noted a day earlier that the officers were trying to get control of Neveaux and disarm him at a time when they also were worried that there might be a second suspect at large.

The text messages Normand read Friday were from a phone he said Neveaux possessed when he was arrested. They were conversations between Neveaux and another, unidentified person discussing efforts to obtain a "tool" and plans to "lurk tonight." Normand said a "tool" is a gun and that "lurking" is street language meaning to rob or kill somebody.

"We've actually talked to the individual that he was texting with, that has confirmed that he was looking to come up with yet another gun and they were looking ... to jack somebody up for some money and for some additional weapons," Normand said.

Normand again recounted details of the shooting: Michel approached Neveaux, concerned that he was following someone and might be planning a crime; Neveaux turned, and, while chest-to-chest with Michel, pulled a gun reached over Michel's shoulder and shot him in the back.

The sheriff added Friday that a witness said Neveaux grabbed Michel by the neck as he tried to crawl away and fired twice more into Michel's back.