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Jury finds Monique Kitts, Karl Howard guilty in murder-for-hire case

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Monique Kitts sits in the back of a police unit after being found guilty Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the Port Allen courthouse.

The monthlong trial for a woman accused of killing her husband in a murder-for-hire scheme came to an end Thursday when a West Baton Rouge Parish jury found her and the gunman she hired guilty of second-degree murder. Monique O. Kitts, 45, of Livingston, and Karl Michael… Continue reading →

New Roads mayor Robert Myer rings up $130K-plus in credit card charges; receipts lacking

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- New Roads mayor Robert Myer speaks in his office Tuesday about discrepancies in his use of the city credit card. The exterior of the New Roads City Hall building.

New Roads Mayor Robert Myer has rung up nearly $134,000 in charges on his city credit card over the past four years, records show, including thousands spent on personal purchases ranging from movie theater tickets to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club shopping trips and restaurant visits. Myer has reimbursed the city for… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Nov. 19, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Museum is kicking off its holiday season Dec. 7 with a Louisiana-themed holiday Open House. Visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy warm open-hearth fragrances coming from the Allendale Cabin during open-hearth cooking demonstrations from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day. They also can… Continue reading →

Here's what happened Tuesday, what you can expect Wednesday in Kitts murder-for-hire trial in West Baton Rouge

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Monique O. Kitts exits the West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. ORG XMIT: BAT1411061804042910

Prosecutors called Monique Kitts back to the stand Tuesday afternoon, as the murder-for-hire trial accusing her of paying a man to kill her husband wound down. Monique Kitts was asked not about the 2010 death of her husband, Corey Kitts, but about tax documents she filed… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Nov. 12, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Healthy Community Coalition recently received a $625,000 grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that will be used over the next five years to implement the Drug-Free Communities program. The grant’s purpose is to enhance community collaboration to reduce substance abuse among youth under the age of 18.… Continue reading →

Resumption of Monique Kitts murder-for-hire trial postponed a week

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Monique O. Kitts exits the West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014. ORG XMIT: BAT1411061804042910

The murder-for-hire trial of Monique O. Kitts, accused of hiring a contract killer to murder her husband, has been continued until Nov. 17. Defense attorneys for Kitts, 45, of Livingston, and Karl Michael Howard, 30, of Roswell, Georgia, were expected to resume their cases at 9 a.m. Monday, but 18th Judicial… Continue reading →

Murder-for-hire Kitts case focuses Wednesday on DNA evidence

Monique Kitts, left, and Karl Howard

Testimony Wednesday in the murder-for-hire trial in the death of Corey Kitts focused on DNA evidence, with defense attorneys implying the person who killed Kitts might have been a lover rather than a hired gunman, and prosecutors suggesting crime scene investigators might have left their own minor traces of DNA on Kitts’… Continue reading →

Lefeaux elected Brusly police chief

After rocket explosion, Iberville students prepare again to send experiment to Space Station

From left, Lilah Morgan, Nicole Warner and Elizabeth Irwin, fifth-grade students at Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy-West in Plaquemine, work on the science experiment that went up with the Antares rocket. They're skyping with a scientist, as they work.

For three fifth-grade students at the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy-West, the explosion Oct. 28 of the Antares rocket bound for the International Space Station was more than headline news — it had a personal significance. On board the unmanned rocket — and destroyed in the explosion… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Nov. 5, 2014

The Iberville Salute to Veterans will feature some new twists this year, including special performances and the collection of supplies to send to the troops overseas. The event kicks off with pre-ceremony and activities at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Iberville Veterans Memorial on Railroad Avenue in Plaquemine, followed by the ceremony at 4:30… Continue reading →

Cell phone records detail general whereabouts of accused in West Baton Rouge murder-for-hire trial

Monique Kitts

Cellphone data was presented to a West Baton Rouge Parish jury Monday detailing the possible whereabouts of several people suspected as major players in an elaborate murder-for-hire case involving a woman prosecutors believe had her husband killed so she could cash in on $800,000 in insurance and retirement benefits.… Continue reading →

Jurors hear 9-1-1 call in Addis murder-for-hire case

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The family of Corey Kitts leaves the courthouse in Port Allen for lunch Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, on the third day of the second-degree murder-for-hire trial of Kitts' wife Monique O. Kitts and Karl Michael Howard.

When Monique O. Kitts discovered the body of her husband, who had been shot to death in their bed on July 9, 2010, she made a frantic 911 call. “Oh my God! Help me! My husband is dead! Someone is in my house!” Kitts’ voice echoed through the courtroom Friday as… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge man arrested in Port Allen murder

Police arrested a Baton Rouge man Thursday and are trying to determine whether a second person was involved in a fatal shooting Monday night in Port Allen, Chief Esdron Brown said Thursday. Police arrested Javonte T. Morgan, 19, on counts of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed robbery, Brown said.… Continue reading →

Key witness in WBR murder-for-hire trial admits being getaway driver

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The family of Corey Kitts leaves the courthouse in Port Allen for lunch Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, on the third day of the second-degree murder-for-hire trial of Kitts' wife Monique O. Kitts and Karl Michael Howard.

The prosecution’s star witness, the man who admitted he was the getaway driver in a murder-for-hire, testified Thursday he was one of the people approached to do the deed. Corey Knox, 29, told a West Baton Rouge Parish jury that Karl Michael Howard 30, of Roswell, Georgia, asked him if he… Continue reading →

What to expect in Kitts murder trial Thursday: Alleged co-conspirator will testify

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The family of Corey Kitts leaves the courthouse in Port Allen for lunch Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, on the third day of the second-degree murder-for-hire trial of Kitts' wife Monique O. Kitts and Karl Michael Howard.

A key witness in the case against a man and woman accused of killing the woman’s husband in a murder-for-hire conspiracy will take the stand despite an attempt Wednesday by defense attorneys to have him barred from testifying against his alleged co-conspirators. Shortly after the jury was dismissed Wednesday afternoon in… Continue reading →

Sheriff: Woman in critical condition after Pigeon Coop bar co-owner tosses her out

Caleb Thurman

Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputies jailed a Bayou Pigeon man Tuesday after he shoved a woman out the door of his bar over the weekend with enough force that she fell, landed on her head and suffered a serious injury, Sheriff Brett Stassi said. Deputies arrested Caleb Thurman, 24, a co-owner of the Pigeon Coop bar, on… Continue reading →

One dead, another wounded in Port Allen shooting Monday night

PORT ALLEN — Two men were shot Monday night when they went to Port Allen to buy drugs, but the drug dealer attempted to rob them instead, Police Chief Esdron Brown said Tuesday. Police on Tuesday continued to interview witnesses to the incident, which occurred about 9:30 p.m., Brown said. They have not yet identified… Continue reading →

Aldrich ‘Tudy’ Dupree, a force in Iberville politics, dies at age 76

Former Iberville Parish Police Juror, Aldrich

Aldrich “Tudy” Dupree, the first black president of the Iberville Parish Police Jury in the modern era, died Sunday morning at Baton Rouge General Medical Center. Dupree, 76, fell last Tuesday and broke his hip; he had been paralyzed for 12 years on the other side of his body after a series of strokes, family members… Continue reading →

Iberville President wants closer inspection of new medical complex

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Adrianne Crouse, from Baton Rouge, inspects the .50-caliber waist machine gun in the B-24

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso informed the Council Tuesday night that he wasn’t pleased with some of the construction work being done on a $20 million medical facility and will conduct another walk-through inspection before he signs off on the project’s completion. But Ourso’s displeasure with some of the “finishing touches”… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Oct. 22, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Museum is preparing for several events in November, beginning Nov. 8 with the opening of “Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Paintings.” Thomas Cole was a painter and founder of the Hudson River School who is best-known for his landscape paintings of untamed America in the… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Oct. 15, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Parish Library, West Baton Rouge Museum and Port Allen Community Center promise tricks, treats and terribly fun activities at the organizations’ annual Halloween event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature storytelling, trick-or-treating and a magic show. Those attending… Continue reading →

Judiciary commission recommends 30-day suspension of West Baton Rouge judge for all-expenses paid hunting trip

Judge J. Robin Free

State District Court Judge J. Robin Free, of Port Allen, showed “poor judgment” and deserves to be punished for taking an all-expenses-paid trip to a hunting ranch owned by a Texas lawyer who only days earlier had settled a lawsuit in Free’s court for $1.2 million, the judge’s attorney acknowledged Monday.… Continue reading →

False River Academy teacher fired, booked on sex count involving a student

Image provided by Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office -- Nick Domingue

A private school biology teacher accused of having a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old student was arrested Friday afternoon, authorities said. Nick Domingue, 27, of Ventress, surrendered and was booked into Pointe Coupee Parish Detention Center on counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and oral sexual battery, said Capt. Steve… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Oct. 8, 2014

The city of Port Allen is gearing up for a host of patriotic campaigns in conjunction with its 10th annual Veterans on Parade, which is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in downtown Port Allen. The city is asking residents to donate supplies to the “Fill A Float” campaign; the donations will… Continue reading →

Evidence shows Scott Rogers, Hodgkinson killed with same gun

Mathew Hodgkinson; Scott Rogers

The Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office says it has confirmed that the gun found in the home of slain TV host Scott Rogers was the same one used by the man who killed the 52-year-old local television personality before turning the gun on himself. Maj. Ronnie Hebert said Tuesday data received from the state’s crime lab… Continue reading →

In Port Allen, angry shouts have turned to prayers for unity

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee makes a point during a breakfast meeting with city ministers to discuss their vision for the city. Lee is trying to fulfill his campaign promise of bringing the community together. This marks his six-month benchmark as mayor.

This time a year ago, City Hall was a tension-filled place as council members engaged in contentious battles with former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter over the budget and other issues. But it was prayers rather than shouts echoing from the third-floor council chambers Wednesday as new mayor Richard Lee met with… Continue reading →

Guns and biscuits: Port Allen eatery offers discount to patrons packing heat

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Interior of the restaurant at Bergeron's Boudin and Cajun Meats in Port Allen. The restaurant has been getting some national media attention over owner Kevin Cox's 10 percent discount to any gun-toting customer that eats at his establishment.

Business has been booming at Bergeron’s Restaurant since owner Kevin Cox came up with an emphatic declaration of his support for the Second Amendment: offering any gun-toting customers a reduced price on their meals. Cox said Tuesday he’s seen a 15 percent spike in his Port Allen business after news spread that… Continue reading →

Around the Westside for Oct. 1, 2014

The West Baton Rouge Museum on Sunday will host its 19th annual Sugarfest — a family-oriented event that will feature live music, a Sweets Contest and culture-rich entertainment on the museum’s grounds in Port Allen. The free event spawned from a 1995 celebration of the 200th anniversary of sugar-making in Louisiana. It will feature… Continue reading →

Pointe Coupee Police Jury appoints new member

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Tuesday appointed former School Board member and local pastor Russell Polar as its District 3 representative for the next 18 months. But Polar’s appointment was not without some friction: A small faction of the jury attempted to block Polar’s appointment, which was approved at… Continue reading →