Grand jury indicts Clinton man in fatal beating

An East Feliciana Parish grand jury returned a second-degree murder indictment Tuesday against a Clinton man in a 2011 fatal beating.

Also, the grand jurors cleared a Baton Rouge man in a fatal shooting last summer and indicted two people involved in a fatal traffic crash last year.

The grand jury returned a “true bill” on the murder count against Donald Ray Thompson, 29, 10432 Grant St., Clinton, in the beating death of Dee Earl Shoemaker, 59, also of Clinton.

Clinton police said Thompson is accused of beating Shoemaker twice on Nov. 1, 2011, because Shoemaker allegedly owed him $130 for some cocaine. Shoemaker died the next month of wounds to his head.

The grand jury declined to indict Patrick Nathaniel Ladner, 22, 9565 Greenbriar Road, Baton Rouge, who fired a fatal shotgun blast at James Mark Hardwick, 41, on July 21 at a residence on La. 67 near the Mississippi state line.

Sheriff’s Detective Don McKey said Hardwick barged into the mobile home carrying a .410-gauge shotgun after causing a disturbance in the area. Hardwick’s gun was unloaded, but Ladner did not know that when he fired at Hardwick, McKey said.

The grand jurors charged Derrick D. Daniel, 39, 9460 Pride-Port Hudson Road, Zachary, with vehicular homicide in the Nov. 17 death of a passenger in his car, Kenneth Taylor, 33, of Baton Rouge.

The grand jurors also charged Reggie Wayne Gross Jr., 37, 12725 Gross Road, Clinton, with first-offense driving while intoxicated in connection with the same traffic crash on La. 67 south of Clinton.

State Police said Daniel was driving south on the highway when his Dodge Charger struck Gross’ pickup truck as it turned from a private drive into the Charger’s path.