2 arrested in deadly robbery at LaPlace feed store

Two men suspected in a deadly armed robbery this week at a LaPlace feed store have surrendered to authorities, with one allegedly admitting his role and the other denying any involvement.

St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators believe Charles McQuarter III and Dracier Dewey, both 22 years old and from Reserve, are responsible for killing Steve Finckbeiner and wounding his wife, Connie, during an armed robbery and subsequent shooting at their LaPlace Feed & Supply Co. on Tuesday afternoon.

McQuarter, who authorities believe was the gunman, surrendered to U.S. marshals about noon Thursday, St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre said.

He was booked on counts of armed robbery, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He maintained his innocence in a profanity-laced statement to reporters as he was marched before them Thursday afternoon.

McQuarter’s bail was set at $1.25 million for the armed-robbery and attempted first-degree murder charges. He will remain jailed, since no bail was set on the first-degree murder charge.

First-degree murder can carry a sentence of death or life in prison upon conviction.

Dewey turned himself in Wednesday afternoon and confessed his involvement, Tregre said.

He was booked with being a principal to armed robbery, principal to first-degree murder and principal to attempted first-degree murder.

His bail was set at $1.6 million.

Tregre has said the suspects went to the Finckbeiners’ store, at Sleepy Redwood and West Fifth streets, about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday and asked to buy shots for a dog.

The couple refused them service and asked them to leave. The men left but “immediately” walked back inside, leading investigators to believe that robbery was their motive from the start, Tregre said.

Connie Finckbeiner called 911 and said she and her husband had been wounded during a robbery.

Deputies arrived to find the cash register missing and Steve Finckbeiner, 63, dead on the scene, the first homicide this year in St. John Parish. Connie Finckbeiner, 58, was airlifted to Interim LSU Hospital in New Orleans to undergo surgery for a wound.

She was back home by Wednesday night.

A search of the area after the shooting led deputies Tuesday to detain two men who were later released because there was not enough evidence to connect them to the crime.

It was not clear Thursday if those men were McQuarter and Dewey. Tregre did not immediately return a message seeking clarification .

McQuarter has several previous arrests, including on attempted second-degree murder, disturbing the peace by fighting, manufacturing and distribution of controlled dangerous substances, resisting an officer and illegal use of a weapon, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Dewey has been arrested before on counts of second-degree battery and criminal damage to property.

Details about those cases were not immediately available.

View surveillance video here.