Second suspect booked in 7th Ward murders, and other New Orleans-area crime news

Travis Cochran
Travis Cochran

Second suspect booked in 7th Ward slayings

The New Orleans Police Department Gang Unit on Friday arrested a second suspect accused of killing two construction workers last week in the 7th Ward. Jasha Banks, 20, was found at her home on Frenchmen Street and booked with two counts of first-degree murder, NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden said.

Police previously arrested Jeremiah Jackson, 23, in connection with the deaths of Moises Hernandez, 46, and Jose Bardales, 30. Jackson also was booked with first-degree murder.

The victims were shot just before noon on Sept. 9 in front of a home in the 2000 block of North Derbigny Street. They died from their wounds several days later at Interim LSU Public Hospital.

Suspect identified in Garden District slaying

Authorities are searching for the man they suspect is responsible for an “execution-style” slaying inside a Lower Garden District apartment in June.

Police allege that Travis Cochran, 25, and another person bound and gagged 33-year-old Ahmad Sheppard, pistol-whipped him and then shot him in the head. The shooting happened about 1 a.m. on June 14 inside the victim’s apartment in the 2000 block of Prytania Street. Police said the apartment was ransacked when they arrived on the scene.

Evidence investigators found on the scene implicated Cochran, police said. They did not say what that evidence is.

The second gunman remains unidentified.

Cochran, who faces a first-degree murder charge, is on probation until October for possession of crack cocaine.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (504) 822-1111.

Man taken into JPSO custody after standoff

A 55-year-old man was taken into custody by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon following a SWAT standoff at a psychiatric hospital.

Deputies were called to River Oaks Hospital, 1525 River Oaks Road West, about 3:40 p.m. after receiving reports of a man on the ground with a gun.

Bradley Robinson, who hid inside a room at the hospital, surrendered to SWAT officers about 5 p.m., said Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Driver had alcohol on breath, police say

A man arrested for allegedly running a red light and killing another man in the resulting collision had the odor of alcohol on his breath when detectives interviewed him, according to court documents.

Tiaj Cotton, 22, of Harvey, was booked with vehicular homicide and reckless operation of a vehicle. He is accused of slamming his sport utility vehicle into David Perryman’s car at Elysian Fields Avenue and Prentiss Street on Wednesday night after he ran a red light.

Perryman, 42, died on the scene from internal injuries.

Police wrote in a report that Cotton had a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” on his breath. He told police at Touro Infirmary that he was not aware he hit anything, according to court documents. Toxicology tests are pending.

Cotton remained behind bars on Friday. Bond was set at $100,000.

Child porn found on N.O. man’s computer

Police arrested a New Orleans man on Wednesday after they said they found a video on his computer showing a young girl engaging in sexual activity.

Douglas Bracken, 28, was booked on one count of pornography involving juveniles, according to Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office records.

Louisiana State Police served a search warrant on Bracken’s South Murat Street home and discovered the video, showing a 10-year-old girl performing “sex acts,” on Bracken’s computer, according to court documents.

State law makes it illegal for anyone to “produce, promote, advertise, distribute, possess or possess with the intent to distribute pornography involving juveniles.”

Bracken was out of jail Friday on $20,000 bail, according to Orleans Parish Criminal Court records.

Two arrested in alleged card-skimming scheme

A former employee of a Chalmette fast-food restaurant and one of her friends were arrested Friday, accused of skimming customers’ credit and debit card information and then stealing their money, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

While Ashley Spears, 20, was working the drive-through window of a fast-food restaurant, she would allegedly run the cards through a skimmer device. Authorities said they found one of the devices in her purse and one at the home of Frank Tate, 29.

The investigation began after banks notified the Sheriff’s Office that customers were being defrauded at the restaurant.

Spears was booked with 29 counts of violating the state’s anti-skimming law, which prohibits use of the devices to steal debit or credit card information, and unauthorized use of access cards with identity theft.

Tate was booked with possession of a scanning device. He faces other possible charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Other people also are under investigation, authorities said.

Anyone who believes he or she was a victim of credit or debit card fraud based on unauthorized charges is asked to contact their bank and the Sheriff’s Office.

NOPD officers to be promoted next week

Hundreds of New Orleans police officers will be promoted next week.

Two hundred and seven officers with the rank of Police Officer II will be promoted to Police Officer III on Sept. 29, Superintendent Ronal Serpas said in a departmental email.

The promotions happened “based upon the tremendous support of the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) and the (Police) Academy,” Serpas wrote.