Deputies arrest 3, search for 2 more in Geismar slaying

Deputies arrested three men and searched for two others in the slaying Wednesday night of a Donaldonsville man who separately was facing prosecution on a 2011 murder charge, the Ascension Sheriff’s Office reported Friday

Deputies said Bernard Solomon, 20, 907 Pine St., Donaldsonville, pulled a handgun on a man trying to sell him cough medicine containing codeine, known as “lean,” at the intersection of Ellem Road and Stevenson Road in Geismar.

The alleged seller, Ledell Maxwell, 38, 3644 Dalton St., Baton Rouge, responded by pulling out his own gun and shooting Solomon, deputies said in a news release. Maxwell was identified through a Crime Stoppers tip, deputies said.

Solomon was found about 8 p.m. Wednesday lying in the intersection near La. 73 with multiple gunshot wounds. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital, deputies have said.

After Maxwell surrendered to deputies Thursday evening, he was arrested and booked into the Ascension Parish Prison near Donaldsonville on a count of first-degree murder, deputies said

Deputies said Friday Solomon’s slaying was not tied to the November 2011 killing of Phillip Allen, 38, 305 W. Fourth St., Apt. 3, Donaldsonville, but strictly to Wednesday night’s attempted drug transaction.

Solomon and two other defendants had faced prosecution on second-degree murder counts in Allen’s death. Solomon had refused a plea deal for his testimony, although his attorney said Thursday word in the community continued to falsely label Solomon as a snitch.

Four other men rode with Solomon in a sliver Nissan Altima from Donaldsonville to the east bank of Ascension to buy the codeine on Wednesday night.

Two of them, Marcus Sterling, 27, of 1002 McGinnis St., Donaldsonville; and Richard Gauthier Jr., 18, of 307 Bourg St., Donaldsonville, also were arrested Thursday and booked into parish prison on counts of first-degree murder, deputies said.

Deputies said arrest warrants for first-degree murder were also issued Friday for two other men who rode with Solomon: Jyrah Bringier and Shedrick Norra.

Deputies did not provide ages or addresses for Bringier and Norra.

Deputies said they were still trying to identify a second person riding with Maxwell when he drove from Baton Rouge to Geismar prior to the Wednesday night drug transaction.

Both vehicles as well as the guns involved in the slaying have been seized, deputies said.

Judge Thomas Kliebert Jr. of the 23rd Judicial District Court set Maxwell’s bail at $1 million and Sterling’s and Gauthier’s bail at $250,000 each, deputies said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office by phoning (225) 621-INFO (4636) or by texting 847411 to the sheriff’s anonymous tip line from any cellular device or calling Crime Stoppers at 225-344-STOP (7867).