Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Mays Sentenced to Life w/o Parole

05/19/2016

Cameron Mays, convicted last month of Aggravated Kidnapping, Aggravated Rape, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, was this morning sentenced in Third Judicial District Court in Ruston to two life terms, plus twenty years.

The sentences will be concurrent (served at the same time), and are not eligible for parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

Division B Judge Tommy Rogers said that there was no victim impact statement, but that the victim “dramatically and eloquently testified to her absolute terror” during her testimony at trial.

Rogers also said that Mays’ testimony at his trial showed a “total disregard for the truth,” and that he was “unwilling to take responsibility” for his crimes.

A Second Degree Murder charge against Mays is still pending, and his alleged accomplice in the murder, Brandon Bonton, is scheduled for trial on September 26. Susan Hashway, 64, was found dead in her home several days after the Monday, 6/4/12 kidnapping and rape.

Kevin Owens, Mays alleged accomplice in the rape and kidnapping, was originally scheduled to be a prosecution witness, but last February “dropped of the face of the earth” and couldn’t be located by prosecutor Mike Ruddick.

Owens has never been charged in the case.

Ruston Police Chief Steve Rogers, and Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone were seen in the courtroom today.

Federal Lawsuit has Connections to ABC News Ruston Visit

05/13/2016

The visit of ABC News’ Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross to Ruston last week likely is connected to a whistle-blower lawsuit now wending its way through federal court, Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has learned.

Ross was working on a follow-up to a March, 2016 news story that reports on the high cost of helicopter ambulance service. He interviewed Carl Cheshire, a former employee of Air Methods Corporation (AMC), the subject of the earlier interview, according to court documents.

Sky-Rage: Bills, Debt, Lawsuits Follow Helicopter Medevac Trips

The lawsuit, Cheshire v Air Methods Corp., was originally filed in a state court, Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in February, 2015. In March of that year it was moved to federal court, U. S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, in Monroe.

Plaintiff Cheshire alleges in his lawsuit that his former employer AMC fired him in retaliation for:

Reporting safety violations to his supervisors.
Reporting improper fuel burn rate calculations to his supervisors.
Reporting that aircraft mechanical issues were being ignored, and proper maintenance was not performed.
Reporting that maintenance records were not accurately reported.

Cheshire also alleges that controlled dangerous substances were adulterated, which compromised flight safety, and caused inaccurate insurance reports.

AMC denied the allegations.

The Ruston connection is that Pafford EMS, a local emergency services provider is allied with AMC who provides air ambulance service to Pafford, according to a Pafford Facebook posting.

From the Pafford Air One Facebook page:

Pafford Air One enjoys a special partnership with Air Methods Corporation to provide practical solutions to Critical Care Transport needs within our area of operation.

For several years Air Methods has provided the aircraft, pilots, and maintenance personnel to support the AirOne mission.

It is notable that much of the deposition testimony in the lawsuit has been sealed and kept secret by court orders signed by either by U. S. District Judge Robert James, or by Magistrate Judge Karen Hayes.

072215 – Order to Seal Exhibits
042816 – Order to Seal Documents
050316 – Protective Order
050316 – Memorandum Order

Cheshire opposed the gag orders, particularly a report by David Downey.

050316 – Opposition to Protective Order

Downy is a Texas-based consultant on aircraft safety, certification, and training.

Downey Aviation Services

This week, AMC filed a motion requesting a fishing expedition to determine whether Cheshire or his attorney violated the gag orders.

051116 – Motion for Discovery
051116 – Memo in Support

In the documents, AMC discusses the Wednesday, May 4 Cheshire interview with ABC news at Ruston Regional Airport, and claims that the interview may have violated the court’s orders.

Cheshire filed a motion in opposition to the discovery requests the next day.

051216 – Opposition to Memo for Discovery
051216 – Memo in Support

The opposition memo notes:

Safety was the topic of the interview. The case was not discussed during the interview. No confidential information was disclosed prior to, during, or subsequent to the interview. Expert reports were not discussed, nor were their findings.

Cheshire’s attorney is Ashley Paige of Ruston.

AMC’s attorneys are Kristine Keenan and Jeremy Landry, the Kullman Law Firm, Baton Rouge.

ABC News Big in Fender-bender @ Ruston Airport

05/11/2016

Brian Ross, Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News was involved in a fender-bender at Ruston Regional Airport last Wednesday, May 4, according to a Ruston Police Department (RPD) Incident Report obtained by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) pursuant to a public records request.

From the report:

On the day of 05/04/16 at approximately 1621 hours. I. Sgt. Brown responded to Ruston Regional Airport. 128 Flightline Dr. in reference to a private property accident. Upon arrival, I spoke with driver of vehicle, Brian E. Ross who advised that he was backing away from the hangar when he struck a parked vehicle. I observed minor damage on the right rear bumper and quarter panel of Ross’s vehicle. I observed damage on the parked vehicle to be minor on the driver front quarter panel driver side door and side mirror. The other vehicle was properly parked and was not occuppied at the time of the accident. Ross advised that the vehicle he was driving was a rental vehicle and is self insured. I observed no insurance on the rental agreement which Ross provided. I advised Ross to contact RPD the next business day with the insurance information. All parties were advised that a report would be on file.

Last week, it was reported that the news crew was working on a story regarding air ambulance work. RPD was responding to a trespassing complaint against the news crew. No arrests were made, nor was any report filed on the original complaint, LPNO was told.

See here the complete incident report.

Incident @ Ruston Airport w/ABC News

05/06/2016

By Chris Butler

ABC REPORTER VISITS RUSTON ON ASSIGNMENT

ABC News reporter Brian Ross was indeed in Ruston Wednesday, and he was there to do a story on air ambulance service work in the area, Mayor Ronny Walker told Ruston Rants Thursday.

Ross was at a privately-owned hanger at the Ruston Airport when the owner called the Ruston Police Department. Ruston Police then asked Ross and his ABC News crew to leave the hanger as it was private property, Walker said.

While leaving the scene, a member of the ABC News crew backed into a city-owned vehicle, Walker added.

Walker did not say if either of the two vehicles sustained damage, and he also said he did not have a written report on the incident to refer to.

Walker said he was not at the scene.

Monroe attorney Mark Neal told Ruston Rants that Ross and his crew “were doing some type of inquiry.”

“They were not, to my knowledge, there to any degree to discuss Pafford,” Neal said, referring to the emergency medical services provider, which has an office in Ruston.

Ruston Rants has sent an open records request to the Ruston Police Department for a copy of any report related to Wednesday’s incident.

UPDATE (5:39 p.m.) Ruston attorney Ashley Page said she disputes something Walker said.

“The owner of the hangar gave permission last Friday and again yesterday morning for ABC to film in his hanger.”
Page did not say who the hanger belonged to.

Ruston City Council Monday

04/30/2016

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.

AG Issues Statement on Mays Verdict

04/28/2016

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

04/28/2016

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

04/27/2016

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

04/27/2016

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

04/26/2016

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.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 416 other followers