How it Went Down in 4th JD Court Today

It was kind of a giveaway when Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) arrived in Fourth Judicial Court this morning shortly after 9:00 AM to find no prospective jurors in the room for the scheduled trial of former City of Monroe Director of Revenue and Taxation Patrick Onyemechara’s (Ohn-ya-men-CHAIR-ra). Somehow, they knew not to show up.

At about 9:40 A. M. an in-chambers conference among Assistant Fourth Judicial District Attorney (ADA) and Lead Prosecutor Neal Johnson, ADA Fred McGaha, Defense Counsel Charles Kincade and Ad Hoc Judge James Boddie ensued, that lasted about fifteen minutes.

The defendant was brought into the courtroom, at which time Johnson stood and advised the court that a plea agreement had been reached and that the defendant had agreed to plead guilty to ten of the thirty-one counts against him – counts 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 27, 28, and 29.

See here the bill of indictment.

The remaining twenty-one counts, including count 31 – racketeering – were dropped.

As the judge read off the list of guilty pleas, he noted that each count was felony theft and each had a maximum sentence of ten years. He also noted that the total amount of money involved in the thefts amounted to about $124 thousand, and that the sentence likely would include restitution of that money to the City of Monroe’s sales tax fund.

The judge then read Onyemechara his rights and asked did he understand what was taking place. He asked him where he was born (Lagos, Nigeria) and how much education he had (MBA, Business Administration). He asked Onyemechara if he was an American citizen and for how long, to which he replied “about three years.”

The judge suggested that at his sentencing that the time Onyemechara has spent in pre-trial detention (about two years) would be taken into account, as would the fact that he was a first-time offender.

ADA Johnson then read off each of the specific ten counts and the amount of money involved in each. He noted that the crime consisted of endorsing the sales tax payment checks from these entities, and then taking the cash from the city’s cash drawer and keeping it.

Asked by the judge if he agreed with Johnson’s characterization of the crimes, Onyemechara looked at his defense attorney. After several moments, Kincade approached him (he was at that time in the witness chair) and spoke briefly with him.

Onyemechara then replied “yes” to the question and said “no” to the question of whether he had anything to add or delete to Johnson’s recitation of the crimes.

Johnson said after the hearing that with the guilty plea Onyemechara had “about 100 years of exposure (potential sentence), and that’s about what we would have gotten had we gone to trial.”

Defense attorney Kincade said “Patrick is a good man who made a mistake, and he’s accepted his responsibility” for what he did. “He looks forward to putting it behind him,” he added.

Sentencing is scheduled for Monday, June 13, 2011 at 1:30 P. M.

2 Responses to “How it Went Down in 4th JD Court Today”

  1. Tax and Revenue Buddy Says:

    Patrick is a good man, a king, who has $20 million and 17 vehicles waiting for him in Lagos, Nigeria. He’s accepted his responsibility for what he did. He looks forward to putting a short sentence behind him. All of his fellow conspiritors beneath him and above him thank him for being a stand-up person serving time for all.

  2. b afraid Says:

    every man a king to the prosecutor, King Dawson walked away smiling when the DA dropped the ball.The good man can get a job with the city again working for Ricardo Nance and Morrison. He can then retain his retirement and get much needed overtime pay for time served. Let’s forget the scams he used on local lenders. He is after all a good man as long as he keeps his mouth shut about his partners in crime. Oh yes, he became a citizen just before he went to jail. Welcome to America Patrick.

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