BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
August 05, 2012
The judge who presided over the murder-for-hire trial of rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch has disqualified himself from presiding over the trials of two other men accused in the 2009 murder because of a heated in-court exchange he had with the lead prosecutor seven weeks after Hatch was acquitted.
During the June 28 exchange, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings told state District Judge Mike Erwin that Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding — who is accused in the killing of six people — would be prosecuted to the fullest and would be tried first for the slaying of Terry Boyd on Vermillion Drive on Oct. 21, 2009.
Hatch, 29, of Baton Rouge, was found not guilty May 11 of paying Louding to kill Boyd. Prosecutors contend Adrian Pittman was the getaway driver. Louding testified at Hatch’s trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s death.
“You are going to take my time up again with that?” Erwin said to a shocked Cummings at the outset of their exchange.
“Yes sir, I am. He (Louding) only killed six people. I think it would be a valuable investment of your time,” Cummings replied.
“Why don’t you get one you can prove?” the judge continued.
The next day, Erwin apologized to Cummings in open court.
The prosecutor filed a motion July 6 asking that the judge recuse himself or be recused. She wrote that Erwin’s initial comments demonstrated he is “biased and prejudiced” against the state and would be “unable to conduct a fair and impartial trial.”
Erwin voluntarily recused himself Wednesday. Louding’s case was randomly re-allotted Thursday to state District Judge Trudy White, and Pittman’s case was sent to state District Judge Don Johnson.
Cummings said Friday she will try to move Louding’s and Pittman’s cases involving the Boyd slaying “as fast as possible.”
She noted that Louding, 19, and Pittman, 38, must be tried separately because both men gave statements to police implicating each other.
Louding and Pittman, both of Baton Rouge, each are charged with first-degree murder in the Boyd slaying. Louding is not eligible for the death penalty if convicted because he was a juvenile at the time of the killing.
Louding told police in May 2010 that he was involved in the killing of six people between February 2009 and April 2010, including Boyd, prosecutors have said.
He testified before a grand jury on June 3, 2010, and a day later, murder indictments were returned against Louding, Pittman and four other Baton Rouge men: Jared Williams, Ryan “Sneaks” Carroll, Kendrick Johnson and Johnathan Rogers.
Two weeks later, Hatch and another Baton Rouge man, Reginald Youngblood, were indicted on first-degree murder charges.
Prosecutors have since dropped first-degree murder charges against Williams and Rogers as a result of Louding’s testimony at Hatch’s trial. Louding denied any involvement in the killing of anyone.
Hatch is imprisoned at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola on drug charges.