Archive for April, 2016

Ruston City Council Monday


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, May 2, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Notable is a budget amendment for $425 thousand to fund construction of a recycling transfer station at the parish landfill.

See here the document.

Rape @ Union Parish Detention Center


Inmate raped inside Union Parish Detention Center


UNION PARISH (News Release) – A convicted rapist from Claiborne Parish has been charged with raping a 17-year-old female inmate inside the Union Parish Detention Center while he is awaiting sentencing on Tuesday.

Union Parish sheriff’s deputies said Demarcus Shavez Peyton, 28, of Homer, has been charged with third-degree rape after being allowed inside an isolation cell with the teenager after she was booked into the detention center April 19 high on methamphetamine. The Union Parish Police Jury operates the detention center.

According to the arrest affidavit, Peyton even admitted after being read his Miranda rights that UPDC staff opened the isolation cell door for him to enter and again when he got ready to leave. He admitted to having had sex twice with the victim while inside the cell.

Deputies were told by the victim that she could not remember much about the incident because she was heavily under the influence of meth at that time. The detention center’s registered nurse, confirmed to deputies that the victim was still “heavily intoxicated” at the time of the rape.

The victim told detectives that at one time during the encounter, she remembered a woman guard walking up to the cell and opening the door, but did nothing. The victim said she was afraid to say anything for fear of her life.

Detectives also reported that Peyton had written a letter to the victim after the rape stating that she could possibly be carrying his child. Detention center personnel had turned the letter over to the detectives.

District Attorney John Belton said his office take sexual assault cases very seriously and will work closely with law enforcement during its continuing investigation.

“I have every confidence that law enforcement will thoroughly investigate this case and proceed as the investigation results require,” Belton said. “Our goal will be to bring fitting consequences to bear on any person who commits a crime of this nature.”

Sheriff’s detectives said they are continuing the investigation and that more arrests are possible.

Detectives said sheriff’s officials in Claiborne Parish told them that Peyton is known as a serial rapist and that he had been convicted of aggravated rape. The Union Parish Detention Center was holding Peyton until his Tuesday sentencing date in the Second Judicial District Court at Homer. He faces a maximum sentence of life without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

His bond in Union Parish has been set at $250,000. Peyton was booked on the additional rape count Wednesday.


AG Issues Statement on Mays Verdict


AG Landry Statement on Mays Conviction by Lincoln Parish Jury

4/28/2016 4:44:00 PM

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry issued the following statement following today’s conviction of Cameron Mays on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon:

“Today’s verdict would not be possible without the brave victim’s courageous efforts. I am thankful for her assistance, and I am proud of the prosecutorial work done by my Criminal Division. Our office is dedicated to bringing criminals to justice and to keeping our communities safe. Today’s conviction is a testament to both.”


Sentencing of Mays is expected in the coming weeks.

Mays Guilty on all Three Counts


A six-man, six-woman jury this afternoon found Cameron Mays guilty on all three charges in a Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court trial that began with jury selection Monday at the Lincoln Parish Court House in Ruston. Mays was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated rape.

The jury’s verdict was unanimous on the first two counts, and 11-1 on the rape charge. Deliberations lasted about an hour and a half.

The verdict followed testimony this morning from Mays, who took the stand in his own defense over the strong objections of his attorney James Buckley.

Mays admitted that he and his accomplice, identified as Kevin, intended to burgle the residence, but when he realized that it was occupied, he tried to convince Kevin to leave.

As for the rape, Mays claimed he took no part in it, instead going outside to smoke a cigarette. He also claimed that he didn’t kidnap the victim, but admitted driving her car back to her residence with her in it.

On cross examination, Ruddick asked Mays that if his accomplice committed the rape, why did he open the condom package for him. Testimony yesterday revealed Mays’ fingerprints on the package.

As for the kidnapping, Ruddick asked Mays why he texted his friend Brandon Bonton, “I took the bitch for a ride in her Mustang,” if, as he claimed, it was his accomplice who kidnapped the victim.

Mays replied that he was making a false boast to Bonton.

Mays still faces murder charges in the death of Sue Hashway, and Bonton is also facing a September trial as an accomplice to that crime.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Ruddick, who prosecuted the case, said, “The Attorney General’s Office applauds the courage of the victim, the dedication of the jury, and the outstanding police work of the Ruston Police Department.”

Sentencing for Mays is set for May 19, 9:00 AM. Mays faces life in prison for the two more serious crimes.

Presiding at the trial was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.

State Rests in Mays Trial


Prosecutor Mike Ruddick rested his case this afternoon in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston. Ruddick alleged that Cameron Mays, on or about June 4, 2012, committed aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

At 9 AM tomorrow, defense attorney James Buckley will put on his case.

Several other prosecution witnesses testified after lunch, including Jessica Esparza and Richard Beighley of the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory in Shreveport, and Mike Swallow of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Esparza testified that the cigarette butt found at the crime scene had Mays’ DNA on it, Beighley testified the empty condom wrapper found in the home where the assault allegedly took place had Mays’ fingerprints thereupon, and Swallow testified that Mays’ fingerprint was found on the white Mustang that the victim said was used for her abduction.

Other testimony came from Mays’ cousin Vanessa Mays, who testified she saw Mays at her apartment in the early hours of June 4. She also said a white Mustang was in the parking lot with someone in the car who appeared to be covered with a blanket.

A day later, she said, Mays said her cousin made the comment, “I wonder if (the victim) is thinking about me.” Asked by Ruddick if he had said that he had sex with the victim, Vanessa Mays said, “yes.”

Evidence Ties Mays to Crime Scene


Testimony this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston from Ruston Police Department (RPD) investigator Clint Williams tied accused rapist Cameron Mays to a residence where a Louisiana Tech Coed testified yesterday that she was sexually assaulted.

A set of keys was recovered at the crime scene that fit the locks on a trailer house on West Alabama Avenue where Mays lived.

Also recovered at the scene was an empty condom wrapper, a cigarette butt, and a fingerprint on the vehicle in which the victim said she was abducted and forced at gunpoint to withdraw money from an ATM. There has been no testimony yet identifying the fingerprints or the DNA on the cigarette butt as that of the accused, but it seems likely that testimony will be forthcoming shortly.

Mays’ cellphone contained a text message to Brandon Bonton at about 4 AM, 6/4/12, graphically describing what he had done. Another text told Bonton that he had a flat-screen TV for sale that matched the description of one the items listed as stolen.

Other items listed as stolen were recovered, Williams said, including a DVD player.

Bonton is also accused as an accessory to various crimes related to this case. His trial is set for September.

Testimony will resume this afternoon.

Alleged Rape Victim, Roommate Testify in Mays Trial


The alleged victim of Cameron Mays, along with her roommate, took the stand this afternoon, and testified to the events of early Monday, 6/4/2012, the date Mays is accused of sexually assaulting the then Louisiana Tech student. The testimony took place in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

Both testified that they had traveled to Bastrop on Sunday afternoon, and returned to their house located west of the Tech campus around 6 PM. The roommate said she left about 10 PM to spend the night with her sister, leaving the victim asleep on the sofa.

Around 3 or 4 AM, the victim said she awoke to voices in the house. Thinking it was her returning roommate, she got up and went into the kitchen, whereupon she was attacked, tied up, and placed on the sofa where she was assaulted.

Her attacker was armed, she said. She never got a good look at his face because it was covered.

Asked if she tried to fight the assault, she said she didn’t because, “I was afraid he would kill me.”

The attacker then rummaged through her purse and found an ATM card, she testified. She was then abducted and forced to drive to an ATM machine, where several hundred dollars was withdrawn. Taken to an abandoned house for a time, the attacker and victim went to a second location. She recalls driving over railroad tracks, but couldn’t see where, because her attacker covered her with a blanket.

They then returned the house, whereupon her attacker left, and she was able to untie herself. She recalls him telling her, “If you call the police, we’ll find you and kill you.”

Unable to find her cellphone, the victim contacted her roommate via Facebook. The roommate came to the house about 6 AM, whereupon she found the house ransacked, the victim traumatized, and concerned that the perpetrators might still be nearby. TVs, laptop computers, and other electronic equipment were missing, the roommate said.

After traveling to the roommate’s parents home, they contacted the Ruston Police Department.

During cross examination, Mays’ attorney James Buckley focused on the poor visibility at that time of night.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Stephanie Gullette testified that she observed abrasions and bruising on the victim’s arms, chest, and elbows, and that a pelvic exam revealed symptoms consistent with those commonly observed after a sexual assault.

Testimony will resume tomorrow morning at 9 AM.

Opening Statements Today in State v Mays


Opening statements will be heard at 1:00 PM today in Courtroom 1, Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston, in State of Louisiana v Cameron Mays.

Courtroom 1 is on the second floor of the Lincoln Parish Court House.

Mays is being tried in connection with several crimes that allegedly occurred in the Cypress Springs area of Ruston in June of 2012. In this particular trial, Mays is charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

In court yesterday afternoon, jury selection was completed from three fourteen member panels, with 12 jurors selected and two alternates.

The jury is comprised of 6 men and 6 women.

Extensive interviews of the panelists was conducted by Division B Judge Tommy Rogers, prosecutor Mike Ruddick, and defense attorney James Buckley.

Questions included the prospective juror’s occupation, marital status, whether they had children, if they had ever been a crime victim, and whether they knew or were related to anyone in law enforcement. Also, they were quizzed on their opinions about various types of crimes and whether they could render a fair verdict.

Several prospective jurors noted that the duty would work a hardship on their workplace obligations.

Rogers ruled a pending motion for a change of venue to be moot, as the jury was successfully empaneled. The motion alleged pretrial publicity. Of the 42 potential jurors, two said they had heard of the case.

Jury Selection Underway in Mays Trial


Jury selection began this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston for the trial of Cameron Mays. The trial is expected to last three to four days, it was said.

The first of three panels of fourteen prospective jurors underwent questioning by Division B Judge Tommy Rogers as to the jurors residence, occupation, marital status, and children. He also asked whether any of the panel knew the attorneys, the accused, any local law enforcement, or any of the witnesses that might be called, and whether that knowledge might prejudice the juror’s deliberations.

Mays is charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Second Degree murder charges against Mays are still pending.

Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Mike Ruddick. Mays’ defense attorney is James Buckley.

Earlier today, Brandon Bonton was in court, where his trial date was moved to September 26. His trial was originally set for today. He is charged with accessory to 2nd degree murder, accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, and theft of a firearm. He is a possible witness in the Mays trial.

Representing Bonton is Robert Noel.

Courthouse Crowd Destin Junket – Week 2


Earlier this week, we noted the so-called Nuts & Bolts seminar and continuing legal education junket for Louisiana’s courthouse crowd set for early June in Destin, Florida.

The week after that event, the Louisiana State Bar Association holds its annual convention and “summer school” for lawyers, judges, and others. The event is held at the Sandestion Golf & Beach Resort.

See here the event webpage.

Typically, Louisiana’s courthouses are virtually deserted for the most part of every June.

Your tax dollars at work…