BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
October 10, 2012
The jury that tries Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding next year in the October 2009 shooting death of a Baton Rouge man will be allowed to view Louding’s entire confession to police in which he also allegedly admits his involvement in several other slayings, a judge ruled Tuesday.
State District Judge Trudy White’s ruling came shortly after prosecutor Dana Cummings called the 19-year-old Louding a “gutless assassin.”
Louding’s attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, said she will ask the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal to review White’s decision. Lagattuta said she is prepared to take the matter to the Louisiana Supreme Court if necessary.
Louding, of Baton Rouge, is scheduled to stand trial March 18 on a first-degree murder charge in the Oct. 21, 2009, killing of Terry Boyd. Louding is not eligible for the death penalty because he was a juvenile at the time of the slaying.
Prosecutors contend Baton Rouge rap artist Torence “Lil Boosie” Hatch, who is imprisoned on drug charges, paid Louding to kill Boyd.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury in May acquitted Hatch on a first-degree murder charge in the alleged murder-for-hire.
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.
Louding also is charged with attempted first-degree murder in an alleged Feb. 22, 2010, attempt on Matthews’ life. That shooting occurred on Tioga Drive.
At the conclusion of a hearing Tuesday, White ruled that prosecutors can introduce so-called “other crimes” evidence at Louding’s trial in the Boyd slaying. The judge said she will allow evidence relating to the Jackson, Thomas, Matthews Milton and Smith killings.
Jackson, 33, was shot through a window while sitting on a couch at a house on America Street; Thomas, 20, was shot while driving on West McKinley Street; Boyd, 35, was shot through a window while sitting on a couch at a house on Vermillion Drive; Matthews, 37, and Milton, 25, were shot inside a parked car on Monte Sano Avenue; and Smith, 19, was shot behind a residence on Wisteria Street.
Cummings argued Tuesday that the shootings are “all so very similar” because “gutless wonders” ambushed the victims.
“He (Louding) is gutless because he does sneak up on people, and he doesn’t believe in a fair fight,” Cummings told White. “He was a paid, hired assassin. That’s what he does.”
Lagattuta called prosecutors’ request to present “other crimes” evidence a “back-door attempt” to introduce inadmissible character evidence to prove Louding killed Boyd.
“I haven’t heard anything that links him to these murders other than the statements from his own mouth,” she argued. “They don’t have any other evidence. They have to bolster up a weak case.”
Cummings, who accused Louding of lying at Hatch’s trial when Louding testified he and Hatch had nothing to do with Boyd’s death, countered that Louding’s recorded statements to police are backed up by “a great deal of corroboration.”
“He (Louding) worked with us for months until Torence Hatch got to him and he lied,” the prosecutor said.
Louding also denied killing anyone else when he testified at Hatch’s trial.
Baton Rouge police detective Elvin Howard testified Tuesday that Louding knew “too many intimate details” of the homicides in which Louding admitted involvement.
“It’s hard to ignore what he told us,” Howard said in response to questions from Lagattuta.
Prosecutors have said the “other crimes” evidence will help them establish Louding’s “identity, motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, and absence of mistake or accident.”
Louding told police in May 2010 that he was involved in the killing of all six people. He testified before a grand jury on June 3, 2010, and a day later murder indictments were returned against Louding and five other Baton Rouge men — Jared Williams, Adrian Pittman, Ryan “Sneaks” Carroll, Kendrick Johnson and Johnathan Rogers.
Hatch was indicted two weeks later, as was Reginald Youngblood, also of Baton Rouge.
Citing Louding’s testimony at Hatch’s trial and a lack of corroborating evidence, Cummings dismissed first-degree murder charges against Williams and Rogers in June and July, respectively. Williams was accused in the Thomas killing, and Rogers was charged in the killing of Matthews and Milton.
Pittman is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 5 in Boyd’s killing. He is the alleged getaway driver.
Carroll, Johnson and Youngblood are charged in the slaying of Matthews and Milton.