Officer accused of evidence tampering
A Livingston Parish sheriff’s deputy has been fired after being arrested Sunday on accusations of tampering with narcotics evidence and illegally firing a weapon at his home, the Sheriff’s Office said Friday — five days after the arrest.
Leo Barthelemy Jr., 30, of 13025 Vermillion Drive in Denham Springs, was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on counts of malfeasance in office/tampering with evidence and illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities.
Barthelemy was given a $25,000 bail, but he bonded out Monday, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lori Steele said in a news release.
Deputies began looking into complaints Sunday about shots being fired on Vermillion Drive in the Pine Meadows subdivision south of Denham Springs, Steele said.
Deputies did not find anyone when they arrived in the area, Steele said.
Later that same morning, deputies were called about a vehicle in the ditch on Milton Lane in Walker and discovered the vehicle belonged to Barthelemy, Steele said.
Deputies searched the vehicle after seeing an evidence envelope inside, Steele said. The envelope, which held narcotics evidence, had been tampered with, Steele said.
Deputies questioned Barthelmy at his home, and Barthelemy told them he had fired a gun near his home on Vermillion Drive earlier that morning, according to Steele. The news release did not indicate what he had to say about the evidence envelope.
Steele said deputies are still investigating why the shots were fired and what kind of weapon was used, Steele said.
Barthelemy’s girlfriend, Tiffany B. Kennedy, was arrested along with him in the case, Steele said.
Deputies believe Kennedy cleaned up shell casings from the scene before deputies could investigate the complaint, Steele said. Kennedy also allegedly discarded some of the narcotics evidence inside the envelope, Steele said.
Kennedy, of 13215 Rougk Lane in Walker, was booked on counts of accessory after the fact to illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities and accessory after the fact to malfeasance in office/tampering with evidence.
Kennedy’s bail was set at $35,000 but she has since bonded out, Steele said.
Barthelemy has been working at the Sheriff’s Office since August 2009, Steele said. He was working at the Livingston Parish Detention Center at the time of his arrest.
The Sheriff’s Office released details of Barthelemy’s arrest Friday, five days after his arrest and after numerous media requests for the information.
Parish jail officials confirmed to The Advocate that Barthelemy had been booked but declined to release any information about the counts on which he was booked.
Jail officials, in telephone conversations and face-to-face conversations at the jail, declined to release the counts and referred any questions to Steele.
Steele confirmed Friday morning that Barthelemy was the subject of an internal investigation launched by Sheriff Jason Ard. Steele initially said Ard would release details sometime next week. However, the Sheriff’s Office released the details Friday evening.