Witness intimidation counts added
A threatening phone call placed hours after she was released from Parish Prison on Saturday, where she was being held for witness intimidation, landed a Baton Rouge woman back in custody Tuesday.
Lelecia Williams was arrested Friday on a count of threatening a witness who claims to have seen Keyon Williams, no relation, run over Mark Heald with a car on Sept. 4, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Keyon Williams, who was booked with second-degree murder in the case, was also being held on a count of witness intimidation. She was accused of saying she would kill the witnesses if they cooperated with law enforcement.
Two other witnesses told investigators Monday that Lelecia Williams threatened them on Sept. 4, too, and then again when she posted $10,000 bail and was released from Parish Prison on Saturday, according to the affidavit.
The witnesses, who happened to be together when Lelecia Williams called, told authorities Williams made it a point during the telephone conversation “to tell them that she had posted bond and was no longer in custody,” the affidavit says.
The affidavit says the witnesses reported that Lelecia Williams “again made threats to harm either of them if the cooperated with law enforcement.” The affidavit does not go into more specifics about what was said.
East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Lelecia Williams, 6733 Sumrall Drive, Baton Rouge, on Tuesday and returned her to Parish Prison, where she was booked with two more counts of witness intimidation, prison records show.
Keyon Williams was also rebooked Monday with two more counts of witness intimidation after the two other witnesses spoke to deputies.
Hillar Moore III, the parish district attorney, said his office takes witness intimidation very seriously and that he anticipates filing a motion to revoke Lelecia Williams’ bond. He said witness intimidation is a persistent problem in every major city that has violent crime.
“It is a factor and it is something that people try to use more and more,” Moore said. “It’s something that we need to combat seriously and take action as quickly as we can, not only to protect our witnesses and our case, but because it is a very serious offense.”
Deputies have said Heald was arguing with a woman acquaintance on Sept. 4 about narcotics when the woman called a friend to pick her up.
A vehicle containing several women and driven by Keyon Williams, 13298 La. 74, Gonzales, arrived soon after to pick up Heald’s acquaintance, and Heald tried to block the vehicle from leaving by standing in front of it, according to an account of the incident provided by the Sheriff’s Office.
Keyon Williams then drove forward, striking Heald, causing him to fall, deputies have said. Heald was able to get back up, but Williams then struck him again with her vehicle, causing him to fall down and become pinned under the vehicle.
Keyon Williams is accused of then putting the vehicle in reverse, driving away and threatening to kill Heald’s acquaintance if she told anyone about the incident.
Second-degree murder carries a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole or probation.
According to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:129.1, in cases in which life in prison or a death sentence may be imposed, a person convicted of witness intimidation faces up to 40 years hard labor in prison, a fine up to $100,000 or both.
The case involving Heald’s death is the second instance of witness intimidation in a homicide investigation that sheriff’s deputies have investigated this year.
On July 6-7, two members of the Baton Rouge-based Block Boyz gang, Gerald Luke, 17, 8032 Skysail Ave., and James Miskell, 18, 8023 Skysail Ave., were arrested on counts of intimidating a witness in the June 6 shooting of Honduran man Franklin Ely Lara-Solis.
Another Block Boyz associate, Trevor Georgetown, 18, was arrested on first-degree murder and armed robbery counts in the death of Lara-Solis.
The witness was walking in the Gardere neighborhood at about 7:20 p.m. July 5 when Luke allegedly assaulted him and called him a “rat” before promising to return, according to the affidavit warrant. Luke returned a short while later with Miskell, the warrant says.
They threw the witness to the ground, punched and kicked him, then Miskell pulled out a handgun and said they would kill him when Georgetown was released from prison, the warrant says.
Cpl. Don Coppola, a Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman, said that from January to August, police have arrested three people suspected of witness intimidation.