Prosecutors offered a preview Monday of their case against a Baton Rouge boy charged with murder in a deadly home invasion last year as they sought to persuade a judge to allow the youth to be tried as an adult.
Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson, of East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Court, could rule later this month whether to transfer to state District Court the proceedings involving Darien Bailey, who was 14 when authorities say he took an active role in the Nov. 6 robbery and fatal shooting of 34-year-old Derrick Marioneaux.
Bailey, now 15, is charged with his older brother, Benjamin Bailey, 20, and a cousin, 21-year-old Juan Herbert, with strapping on ski masks and bursting into Marioneaux’s home on Wyandotte Street.
Their alleged getaway driver, Tameka S. Hawkins, 36, was arrested as an accessory to the crime, according to court records.
Hours of testimony Monday revealed new details in the case, including a claim that surveillance cameras at Acadian Superette, a nearby grocery store, captured footage of the suspects around the time of the shooting. At least one suspect can be seen toting a firearm on tape, testified Detective Steven Z. Woodring, of the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Prosecutor Curtis Nelson Jr. has said Darien Bailey also was linked to the crime through DNA found on a ski mask near the scene. Investigators found one of the masks and some clothing by a garbage bin near the grocery store.
Nelson sought to portray the teen as more of a knowing accomplice than an unwitting tagalong. While no weapons were recovered, Woodring said, casings of three separate calibers — including shotgun shells — were found in and outside of Marioneaux’s home.
The home invasion happened about 6:30 p.m. at 3184 Wyandotte St. The suspects shot through and kicked in the front door and outer screen door before shooting Marioneaux several times, Woodring said. The hail of gunfire left bulletholes in walls and a freezer, crime-scene photographs show.
“Sporadic” blood stains, some smeared on the floor, were found in the residence, Woodring said. Marioneaux is believed to have been sitting at a table eating dinner when the intruders found him and opened fire, he added.
The victim’s wife and daughter were inside the home but were not injured, the detective said.
Investigators happened upon a lead in the shooting once the suspects, one of them bleeding, showed up at a local hospital. Herbert had been inadvertently shot by his juvenile cousin, according to court filings.
During a midnight interrogation, Darien Bailey sought to distance himself from the slaying, even as Woodring confronted him with inconsistencies in his statements, according to a tape of the questioning played at Monday’s hearing.
“You’re in a man-sized situation, a grown man-sized situation,” Woodring can be heard on the tape telling the boy after he agreed to talk. “This is the most important day of your life so far.”
Dressed in a forest-green jumpsuit, Darien Bailey listened attentively throughout the hearing Monday, scanning the gallery and laughing at one point as the tape played.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III has said his office is seeking to transfer the boy’s case to the 19th Judicial District Court in the interest of public safety. The boy could be held only until his 21st birthday if convicted in Juvenile Court, prosecutors said, while state law provides that a 14-year-old tried and convicted as an adult “shall not be confined for such conviction beyond his thirty-first birthday.”
To try Darien Bailey as an adult, prosecutors must prove, under state law, that “there is no substantial opportunity for the child’s rehabilitation through facilities available to the court” based on a number of criteria. Those criteria include prior acts of delinquency, the maturity of the child and whether the child’s behavior “might be related to physical or mental problems,” among others.
Johnson’s ruling is pending the completion of a forensic evaluation of the boy. The proceedings are scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. March 28.