A judge ordered a 23-year-old Baton Rouge man to spend 35 years in prison Monday for his role in a violent crime spree in 2010 that included the shooting injury of a good Samaritan trying to help a pregnant woman who was being robbed at gunpoint near LSU.
State District Judge Don Johnson sentenced Jonathan Brit Murray to 30 years in prison on three counts of armed robbery and tacked on five more years for engaging in a pattern of criminal street-gang activity.
“You’ve forfeited your right to be outside with the rest of us,” the judge told Murray.
Johnson also sentenced one of Murray’s co-defendants, Leslie Harris, 24, also of Baton Rouge, to 30 years in prison on 10 counts of armed robbery. Prosecutor Will Morris told the judge that Harris placed numerous victims in “unimaginable fear.”
The prosecution of Murray, Harris and Leroy Molden Jr. marked the first time the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office utilized a rarely used 1990 Louisiana law that makes it a crime for three or more people, formally or informally, to engage in a “pattern of criminal gang activity.’’
The 1990 law required that the sentence Murray received on the gang-related charge run consecutively with the sentence he received for the armed robberies, Morris said.
“It’s an enhancement. The statute is a good tool to tack on additional time when people decide to gang up and commit crimes,” he said after court. “It’s a tool that I know we plan to use in the future when appropriate.”
Murray faced 10 to 99 years on each armed robbery count, and one to 50 years on the gang-related charge, the prosecutor said.
“Thirty-five years is a long time, so we’re happy with that,” he said.
Molden, 19, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty in December to an attempted first-degree murder count and the criminal street gang charge. He will be sentenced Tuesday.
The gang-related charge to which Murray and Molden pleaded guilty included a Nov. 7, 2010, incident in which Charlie Cangelosi, of Baton Rouge, was shot in the stomach while trying to help a robbery victim outside the Stadium Square apartments on the edge of the LSU campus.
Morris, who contends Murray was the triggerman, said he read over the weekend
that Cangelosi recently married.
“Still lives with this to this day,” the prosecutor said of Cangelosi, who was not in Johnson’s courtroom Tuesday but was in April when Murray pleaded guilty.
Morris said Cangelosi is fortunate to be alive, and Murray and Molden are lucky the case was not a murder case.
The three armed robberies that Murray pleaded guilty to occurred in 2010 on Oct. 23, Nov. 19 and Nov. 21. Two of the victims were pizza delivery drivers, Morris said.
The gang-related indictment of Murray, Harris
and Molden alleged that the activity included 15 armed robberies and two attempted first-degree murders between Oct. 23, 2010, and Dec. 8, 2010.