The fallout from Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding’s about-face testimony at the murder trial of local rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch continued Thursday when prosecutors dropped first-degree murder charges against one of four men initially implicated by Louding in a 2010 double-slaying in Baton Rouge.
Last month, prosecutors dismissed a first-degree murder charge against another man who had been fingered by Louding in a 2009 killing in the city.
“At this point in time that’s it,” Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings said Thursday outside state District Judge Trudy White’s courtroom when asked if the dismissal of other murder charges is anticipated.
Minutes earlier inside the courtroom, Cummings dropped two counts of first-degree murder against Johnathan Rogers, 19, in the killing of Charles Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton on April 1, 2010. Matthews, 37, and Milton, 25, were fatally shot and found in a parked Cadillac on Monte Sano Avenue.
“Michael Louding was the only evidence against this man (Rogers),” Cummings told White. “We don’t have anything to corroborate it.”
For the same reason, Cummings dismissed last month a first-degree murder charge against Jared Williams, 22, in the fatal shooting of Marcus Thomas on April 25, 2009. Thomas, 20, was shot while driving his sport utility vehicle on West McKinley Street.
Louding, now 19, told Baton Rouge police in May 2010 that he was involved in the killing of six people between February 2009 and April 2010. He 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 Rogers.
Hatch, 29, was indicted two weeks later, as was Reginald Youngblood, also of Baton Rouge.
Hatch was acquitted May 11, four days after Louding — the prosecution’s star witness — testified at Hatch’s first-degree murder trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with the Oct. 21, 2009, slaying of Terry Boyd on Vermillion Drive. Louding, who denied being paid by Hatch to kill Boyd, also denied involvement in any other killings.
Cummings has said she believes Louding told the truth to police and the grand jury.
Louding; Carroll, 18; Johnson, 21; and Youngblood, 34, each are charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the slaying of Matthews and Milton.
Youngblood was convicted in federal court in April on charges that he illegally possessed drugs and pistols in a home that also contained $19,000 in cash. He will be sentenced Aug. 19.
Rogers’ attorney, Bruce Craft, said Rogers woke up in jail Thursday morning facing a possible life sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.
“Tonight he’ll sleep in his own bed as a free man and eat his mother’s cooking,” Craft said.
Also Thursday, White — at the request of Johnson’s attorneys — ordered Cummings to turn over to those lawyers notes that one of her colleagues took during Louding’s grand jury appearance. Cummings also agreed to give Johnson’s attorneys all documents from every murder case involving Louding.
“We believe he (Louding) did not tell the truth at the grand jury,” James Manasseh, one of Johnson’s attorneys, told the judge.
Manasseh referred to Louding as a “confessed serial killer,” “known perjurer” and the “linchpin” of the state’s case in the Matthews-Milton slaying.
“Everything flows from his testimony at the grand jury,” he added.
White declined Manasseh’s request Thursday to set bail for Johnson, who is being held without bail.
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 local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie’’ Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; Thomas on April 25, 2009; Boyd on Oct. 21, 2009; and Matthews and Milton on April 1, 2010. He also is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
Pittman, 38, also is charged with first-degree murder in Boyd’s slaying. He is the alleged getaway driver.
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.