Two men who were among six people indicted last week in the July 7 highway hit-and-run that killed a New Orleans police officer were indicted Thursday for a pre-Katrina homicide, according to police.
Police say both Kenneth Halley and John Chambers, both 28, were arrested in 2005 but never prosecuted in the shooting death that year of Joseph Lucien, 21, in the 2500 block of Egania Street. According to an NOPD news release, Thursday’s indictment stemmed from “new intelligence” that led investigators to take another look at the murder case.
Robert Glass, Halley’s attorney in the killing of Officer Rodney Thomas, said late Thursday that he was unaware of the fresh indictment.
Halley and Justin McKey, 25, were indicted last week on manslaughter charges in the death of Thomas, who was killed on Interstate 10 when he got out of his car after a fender-bender and was struck by a white Porsche SUV, which then drove on, shedding Thomas from the smashed front hood.
McKey turned himself in and confessed to being the driver shortly after the fatality. However, Halley was stopped driving the SUV several hours before the wreck, and he allegedly drove it again afterward.
Halley has a lengthy criminal record that would likely mean a stiff prison sentence if he were convicted. He also faces charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to act as an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.
Authorities claim Halley helped engineer an attempted cover-up of the fatality, taking the Porsche to a Mid-City body shop to remove the evidence. The body shop’s owner, Bill Cager, also was indicted, along with three others: Chambers, James Ratliff and Nephateria Jones, who is believed to be Halley’s girlfriend.
Jones, Chambers and Ratliff each face counts only related to the alleged cover-up. Authorities have not yet described how they were allegedly involved.
In that case, Criminal District Judge Julian Parker set bond at $1.6 million for Halley and $800,000 for Chambers.
Bond for each in the 2005 murder was set at $1 million Thursday.