New Orleans man arrested in St. Amant shooting death

Sheriff’s deputies arrested three people Monday in the fatal shooting of an Ascension Parish man Friday night in St. Amant, including the shooter, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

A sheriff’s deputy found the body of Fred Martin Jr., 37, in a St. Amant driveway along Stringer Bridge Road on Friday night while the deputy was on his way to answering a resident’s call about a nervous man stalking a nearby street.

That “nervous” man, Barry Lee Diggs, 57, 2734 Milan St., New Orleans, has been accused in the shooting death of Martin, Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said Monday.

Diggs had gone with Martin to the St. Amant home of Dana Milano and Louis Topham for a short time Friday night when Diggs shot Martin in their driveway, Bacala said in a news release.

Diggs was booked Monday into the Ascension Parish Jail near Donaldsonville on a count of first-degree murder.

He was arrested Sunday by East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies on a count of possession of narcotics after the discovery of Martin’s body prompted an intensive investigation over the weekend, Ascension deputies said.

The investigation was aided by evidence the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab analyzed but deputies did not disclose.

Milano, 45, and Topham, 39, both of 45214 Stringer Bridge Road, St. Amant, were arrested and booked Monday on counts of being principals to first-degree murder, possession of Schedule II drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

After the shooting, Bacala said, Diggs ran off, ending up on Penny Duplessis Road, a parallel street to Stringer Bridge.

It is there that a resident spotted the “agitated” man walking and speaking on his cellphone and reported him to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies said.

By the time deputies arrived, Diggs had left. Acquaintances had picked him up and drove him to Baton Rouge, Bacala said.

The deputy who was investigating the “agitated man” came across Martin’s rental car in a ditch along Stringer Bridge on his way to the call. When the deputy got out to investigate the car, he found Martin’s body in Milano and Topham’s nearby driveway, deputies said.

Deputies were uncertain of the motive for the shooting Monday but, Bacala said, the case remains under investigation.