Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding’s about-face testimony last month at the murder trial of rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch has prompted the dismissal of a first-degree murder charge in a 2009 killing, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings also said she anticipates dropping murder charges in at least one other case as a result of what she termed Louding’s “recent untruthful testimony.”
“We felt compelled to dismiss the first-degree murder case against Jared Williams because his charge was based solely on the testimony of Michael Louding without other corroborating witnesses or evidence,” Cummings said.
“Although we believe that Louding was truthful in his initial statements, we do not feel that we can prove the elements beyond a reasonable doubt without corroborating evidence due to the damage to his credibility caused by his recent untruthful testimony,” she added.
Louding testified before an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on June 3, 2010, and a day later, murder indictments were returned against Louding and five other Baton Rouge men — Williams, Adrian Pittman, Ryan “Sneaks” Carroll, Kendrick Johnson and Johnathan Rogers.
Hatch was indicted two weeks later, as was Reginald Youngblood, also of Baton Rouge.
Williams, 22, was charged with first-degree murder in the April 25, 2009, shooting death of Marcus Thomas, 20. That charge was dismissed Monday. Thomas was shot while driving his sport utility vehicle on West McKinley Street.
“Michael Louding recanted. His testimony was unreliable,” Williams’ attorney, Robert Tucker, said Tuesday. He added that Cummings “did the right thing.”
Louding, now 19, of Baton Rouge, told police in May 2010 he was involved in the killing of six people between February 2009 and April 2010, including Thomas’ slaying and the Oct. 21, 2009, shooting death of Terry Boyd on Vermillion Drive. Louding told police that Hatch paid him $2,800 to kill Boyd, 35.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury acquitted Hatch, 29, of first-degree murder last month, four days after Louding — the prosecution’s star witness — testified May 7 at Hatch’s trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s murder.
Louding also denied being involved in any other killings.
Louding, who is not eligible for the death penalty because of his age at the time of the killings, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Boyd; Thomas; local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie’’ Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; and Charles Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton on April 1, 2010.
He also is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
Cummings said she plans to try Louding first in the slaying of Boyd. At that trial, the prosecutor said she intends to introduce evidence of Louding’s alleged involvement in other killings.
Louding will fall under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that states cannot automatically impose life sentences without the possibility of parole on juveniles in murder cases, Cummings said. If Louding is convicted, a sentencing hearing would have to be held, she said.
Cummings stressed that she would seek a life sentence for Louding if he is found guilty.
Prior to Hatch’s trial, Louding had agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify truthfully in exchange for a sentence of less than life in prison. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said his office’s deal with Louding is dead.
Pittman, 38, is charged with first-degree murder in Boyd’s slaying. Carroll, 18; Johnson, 21; Rogers, 19; and Youngblood, 34, are charged with first-degree murder in the Matthews-Milton double-murder.