Judge rules against Louding in murder-for-hire case

A judge dealt Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding a pair of setbacks Monday, refusing to throw out one of his first-degree murder indictments and declining to suppress incriminating statements he reportedly gave Baton Rouge police in 2010.

The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office contends rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch paid Louding to kill Terry Boyd in October 2009.

Louding, who was 17 at the time, is the alleged triggerman in Boyd’s slaying and is scheduled to stand trial March 18.

An East Baton Rouge Parish jury acquitted Hatch last May on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of Boyd, 35.

Adrian Pittman, the alleged getaway driver, pleaded guilty in November to a manslaughter charge and is scheduled to be sentenced April 24.

Louding’s attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, asked state District Judge Trudy White Monday to quash Louding’s first-degree murder indictment in the Boyd case because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June that states cannot automatically impose life sentences without the possibility of parole on juveniles in murder cases.

The high court said judges must consider a defendant’s youth, the nature of the crime and other factors before putting him behind bars with no hope for parole.

A first-degree murder conviction in Louisiana carries only two possible penalties: death by lethal injection, or life in prison.

Louding, 20, is not eligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time of Boyd’s death. The Supreme Court in 2005 abolished death sentences for those under 18 who are convicted of first-degree murder.

Lagattuta argued she would be unable to tell the jury what kind of sentence Louding might face if he is found guilty.

“That does not make the whole (first-degree murder) statute unconstitutional,” prosecutor Dana Cummings said to White.

The judge agreed with Cummings and said the court can cross that sentencing bridge if and when the case reaches that stage.

Lagattuta said will ask the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to review White’s denial of the motion to quash the indictment.

The judge also denied a defense motion to suppress Louding’s statements in May 2010 to Baton Rouge police detectives Sgt. Chris Johnson and Cpl. Elvin Howard. The detectives testified Louding was advised of his constitutional rights before he was questioned and was not threatened or promised anything.

During that questioning, Howard said, Louding admitted his involvement in five separate homicides, one of them being a double murder.

Louding testified at Hatch’s trial that he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s death. Louding also denied killing anyone else. Prosecutors maintain he lied to the jury.

Boyd was shot through a window while sitting on a couch at a house on Vermilion Drive on Oct. 21, 2009.

Louding also is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009; Marcus Thomas on April 25, 2009; and Charles Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton on April 1, 2010. He is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.

Hatch is currently imprisoned on drug charges.

Citing Louding’s testimony at Hatch’s trial and a lack of corroborating evidence, Cummings dismissed first-degree murder charges against Jared Williams and Johnathan Rogers in June and July, respectively. Williams was accused in the Thomas killing, and Rogers was charged in the killing of Matthews and Milton.