Michael Louding denied new sentence for 2009 murder
Rejecting a psychologist’s finding of post-traumatic stress disorder, a state judge Friday labeled convicted hit man Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding “rotten to the core” and gave him a Bible before refusing to alter the life sentence without possibility of parole she dealt him last year.
“You were ready, willing and able to murder for the monetary reward,” District Judge Trudy White told a shackled Louding at the end of a nearly four-hour hearing, where his attorneys tried in vain to convince the judge that Louding should get the chance to seek parole after serving 35 years of his term.
Louding, 21, of Baton Rouge, was 17 when he fatally shot Terry Boyd, 35, through a window while Boyd sat on a sofa inside a Vermillion Drive home on Oct. 21, 2009. Louding was ineligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time of Boyd’s death.
East Baton Rouge Parish prosecutors maintain Louding killed Boyd at the behest of rapper Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch. Louding was convicted in April of first-degree murder and sentenced in July in Boyd’s death, but Hatch was acquitted in 2012 on that same charge. Hatch remains behind bars on drug charges. Prosecutors contend Louding, who confessed to police he killed Boyd at Hatch’s direction, lied when he testified at Hatch’s trial that neither he nor Hatch had anything to do with Boyd’s murder.
Friday’s hearing began with psychologist Frederic Sautter testifying he evaluated Louding in December at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola and concluded he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder — and still does — when he murdered Boyd.
Sautter said Louding told him he had witnessed two persons killed by the time he was 9 or 10; was using drugs and alcohol by the age of 8; had been shot at the age of 14; was expelled from school in the seventh grade; and witnessed his sister’s sexual abuse by a family member when both were young.
“When you get them (stressors) younger, it’s more traumatic,” said Sautter, who works with combat veterans and their families and also is a clinical psychologist at Tulune University School of Medicine. “It’s hard to comprehend the kind of hit you take.”
When Louding attorney Lindsay Jarrel Blouin asked if Louding is “irretrievably broken,” Sautter replied, “PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is treatable.”
Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings told Sautter that Louding perjured himself at Hatch’s trial and asked the psychologist, “It wouldn’t matter to you that he’s a documented liar?”
Blouin objected to Cummings’ characterization, prompting the prosecutor to shoot back, “I call them as I see them, judge.”
Sautter persisted, saying it is his opinion that PTSD affected Louding at the time Boyd was killed.
“This is not a hard case for someone who knows PTSD. It’s an easy case. He has PTSD,” the psychologist said.
“He had a lot of traumatic events,” Cummings conceded. “He killed five people. Could that be the stressor?”
“It could be a stressor,” Sautter said.
“We just justify everything because he had PTSD?” the prosecutor persisted.
“I didn’t justify anything,” the psychologist answered.
Cummings, in her closing arguments, said: “He’s comparing Michael Louding with someone who goes to Afghanistan and has his legs blown off.”
Louding also faced four other first-degree murder charges and a second-degree murder charge in a string of fatal shootings that stretched over a 14-month period beginning in early 2009, but Cummings said those charges have been dropped in light of Louding’s conviction and life sentence in the Boyd killing.
Cummings dropped two of the first-degree murder charges Friday. Those charges involved the April 1, 2010, killings of Charles “Nokie” Matthews and Darryl “Bleek” Milton.
Matthews’ mother, Nancy Booker, attended Friday’s hearing and said afterward, “It’s closure for us. He (Louding) only has one life to give. That’s fine with me.” She said Matthews was a loving husband, father and son.
Milton’s mother, Patricia Milton, also was in White’s courtroom and said later, “I’m satisfied. It’s closure. We’ve been going through this for four years.”
Cummings asked Sautter if he would be able to say Louding would not kill again if treated.
“I can’t tell anything about the future,” he replied.
As she did at Louding’s original sentencing hearing, Cummings made mention Friday of a letter Louding wrote to Hatch in April in which Louding states, “I miss them good ol days … I wish I was still in that world to lay the law down.”
White, after listening to Sautter’s testimony and closing arguments from Blouin and Cummings, said Louding’s future is a life without benefit of parole at Angola.
But before the judge sent him back to prison, she gave him a Bible she purchased herself.
“I want to make sure you have the tools that are meaningful to you,” White told him before he was escorted from the courtroom.
Blouin had argued to the judge that Louding was a child when he killed Boyd.
“Michael is still a work in progress,” she said. “He clearly has the capacity for change.”
But Cummings called Louding a predator and said he must never be allowed to walk the streets of Baton Rouge again.
“He can’t be given the opportunity to live on the outside,” she told the judge. “He has earned the right to spend the rest of his life in jail. He is absolutely the worst of the worst.”
Louding also was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of local up-and-coming rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson on Feb. 9, 2009, and Marcus “Gangsta” Thomas on April 25, 2009. Louding was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Michael Smith on Dec. 18, 2009.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that states can no longer automatically sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole in murder cases without first holding a sentencing hearing to consider the defendant’s youth, upbringing, circumstances of the crime and other factors.
In direct response to that ruling, the Louisiana Legislature approved a measure during the 2013 regular session requiring a sentencing judge to hold a hearing to determine whether the sentence should be imposed with or without parole eligibility. If a sentence is imposed with eligibility for parole, the legislation gives incarcerated offenders a shot at freedom after serving 35 years for first- or second-degree murder. The law took effect Aug. 1.