The Heroes of the Jonesboro Tragedy

A long, sad chapter in the Town of Jonesboro’s ordeal has come to an end with the felony convictions of the town’s mayor Leslie Thompson.

As in all stories, there are heroes, in addition to the villains.

Those heroes need to be recognized.

First among them is Jonesboro District B Alderwoman Renee Stringer. For over six years, she has withstood the taunts, jibes, and derision of Thompson and his acolytes. Never once did she flinch or show fear. Every action she took, every vote she made on the council, was done mindful of her responsibility to her constituents and the law.

No less courageous was Jackson Parish Sheriff Andy Brown. Back in October, 2010, Brown was the first public official to take concrete action by initiating an investigation.

Early the next year, three citizens – Don Essmeier, James Schmidt, and Dalton Cruse – put their names forward and initiated a civil suit to try and force compliance with the law. That suit was successful all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Yet Thompson still refused to follow the law.

Also heroic was prosecutor Lea Hall, Jr., whose study of government minutiae – budgets, spreadsheets, invoices, check registers – made understandable the crime that was committed.

Second Judicial District Division B Judge Jimmy Teat remained calm at his bench throughout the trial, despite numerous attempts to provoke him.

The six jurors are to be commended. They sat through 2 1/2 weeks of repetitive testimony and arguments, and paid attention the whole time.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera and his staff spent thousands of man-hours trying to decipher records, and then told the public what was happening.

But maybe the true hero is that almost unique USA concept that says every citizen is equal before The Rule of Law. That notion stands in contrast to that Old World custom of a political class superior to the law, with a divine right to decide which rules to obey and which to ignore.

It is indeed a heroic political theory.


27 Responses to “The Heroes of the Jonesboro Tragedy”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    When will the convict be sentenced?

    • Donald Marion Fowler Says:

      November 13, 2013 and why so long from now I don’t know. Teat can be called a hero now but his standing with me rests upon the sentence he imposes on The Former CTIC. In all of my years that I lived in Jonesboro I have seen guilty people sentenced to years in prison and then in the next breath have that sentence suspended. Should Teat give Les Lie some time in jail (say one year for each year he served as mayor – remember his problems began with his first swearing in when his wife or whomever used town funds to pay for his inauguration)), then I will restore the Hero mantle to Teat. Anything less is not acceptable to me after what the incompetent nimcompoop did to my town. Oh by the way, Les Lie is not a convict yet only a convicted felon and to top it all off – he drove away in the town car!

  2. sunrisesunset Says:

    Great, great day for City of Jonesboro and its people!!!!!!

    Truth and honesty have prevailed.

  3. Neighbor Says:

    Indeed, Walter. Well said! Praise God for putting the right people in the right places at the right time !!!

  4. thanx Says:

    Thank you Walter, for your coverage of this story and other similar stories. You have endured some of the same things Ms. Stringer has gone through with these people. Thank you for standing tall and keeping us informed!!

  5. is he or not? Says:

    we have all just came through a bad storm here in jboro . it will take everyone to bring this town back up to what it once was. Thompson set this town back to the 60tys. I hope we can all heal and be a town both the blacks and whites can be proud of. we have a hard road ahead of us but I know we will make this a better place now !

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Walter Abbott is one of the biggest heroes of all. Without his tireless coverage from the start, most of us would have had no idea of what was going on under our very noses. Don’t forget, he underwent a lot of criticism himself by Thompson supporters, but he kept on with news on Jackson and a couple of other parishes.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Walter, thanks for mentioning Don, James and Dalton, they took lots of community heat from one sector of the community, without their courageous stance and sacrifice things might still be dragging on.

  8. Country Gentleman Says:

    Thanks for fighting the good fight Walter. Crooks like Thompson need to be mindful that there are still concerned Americans out there watching their every move just like the Founding Fathers intended. Oversight of public officials requires a lot of time and effort and is never appreciated by those with nefarious intentions, but the only way we citizens can trust that our government officials are protecting our interests is through public oversight. Thompson and his ilk rely on our inability to watch over them as we go about our daily lives. It is through citizens such as you that we are kept enlightened as t the misdeeds of crooks like Leslie Thompson.

    This long sordid ordeal and that of the Lincoln Parish Fire District prove that it is much easier to keep an eye on the public business than to wrest control from those who ingrain themselves in government at our expense.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Mayor pro tem flowers (lower case letters used to show lack of respect for flowers) is now responsible for the assets of the town which includes the t-mobile and town hall. Has flowers gotten back the t-mobile and Leslie’s keys to everything?

  10. TyrantsThriveAmongUs Says:

    Walter A. is a perfect demonstration of what a true reporter should do: make certain people have the truth and understand what is going on, so they can make informed decisions in our society of self-government.
    The Truth is entirely non-partisan, not about race nor class, haves nor have-nots; it is what it is.
    Most now are either repeaters or agenda-driven leftists. Take the Ruston Leader: it is about worthless for informing citizens what is going on, as all they want is their subsidy for being the “legal journal” so they won’t print anything controversial, just little old lady news.
    The news-Star and the Shreveport Times are not much better, and they both print the same wire stories.

    • sunrisesunset Says:

      We all need to remember that TRUTH CAN NEVER BE CHANGED. However, lies can be twisted to accomodate the liar. But, as we see in the case of the esteemed one, his twisted and warped mind lost to TRUTH which never changes.

  11. Dee Says:

    I have one problem with giving accolades to the LLA auditors because they didn’t act in a timely manner.
    It should not have taken 5 or so years of non-compliance by any mayor or any public official before a serious investigation was made and things put in order.
    It would have been less costly to taxpayers for their investigation and intervention to have been performed after year ONE of non-compliance rather than letting the wrong-doing go on and on.
    There would not have been so many “lost” records to search for using our tax dollars for the investigation while all that time more tax dollars were being siphoned from Jonesboro’s coffers.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The news people have to be careful about reporting the news .The state ,parish and city uses newpapers to report legals and they want to keep them happy.

  13. thanx Says:

    Agree with you on heroes but I think two of my favorite heroes in this war was Mrs. Melba Holland and Ms. Reda Houston! Thank you ladies! I pray for both to be blessed!

    • Jim Walker Says:

      I agree with thanx! In my opinion everyone else was just doing their jobs with the exception of the trio that filed the suit. These five are the real heroes!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I will agree with both thanx and walker and we need heros now world wide not just here,

  15. CitizensAll Says:

    Amen! to that!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    One name I haven’t seen is that of Ms. Lexing, I think we all should thank her for doing such a good job.

  17. Augusta Duffer Says:

    Two parties are being overlooked as heroes in this case. They are the CPA firms of Kenneth Folden and Company and Allen, Green, and Williamson, LLP. Without the work of these firms none of these issues would have seen the light of day. Both firms put in long hours working with highly incompetent people on a daily basis. They should be given a pat on the back also.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Surprised to hear that there is an Anonymous that thinks Lexing did a “good job.” She is now 0 for about 25 in her court battles for the Town and Thompson, has been put on probation, and may get worse that that when the legislative group hears about the testimony in this case. That is a real no-no in legal circles. Can you imagine what would happen if lawyers from both sides were allowed to contact witnesses and tell them what they should testify? There would be no end to it, and a poor witness would not know what to say. The witness swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. No way that could ever please attorneys on both sides of the case, which is the reason they are not allowed to even suggest the answers, much less tell them what they should testify. I presume the witness also has the right to not tell the lawyers what they are going to testify.

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