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Thread: OC Louisiana lawyer killed by Ark. Deputy

  1. #1
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    OC Louisiana lawyer killed by Ark. Deputy

    Cross-posted to the Louisiana forum.

    This story bears watching. I have no idea what the actual facts of the case will turn out to be, but the official police story, which was duly parroted by KTBS, just doesn't make sense. I smell a lot of stink in the potential fallout. I have very little faith that there will be a full investigation by the local news media.

    My summation, to avoid quoting too much copyrighted material:

    John Morneau, a Caddo Parrish lawyer with an office in Vivian and a home in Ida, had a long-standing dispute about his property lines. He reportedly claimed that an old railroad map showed his property line extending "several dozen feet" north of the accepted line.

    Morneau was reportedly known for wearing a cowboy hat and a double revolver Old Western rig. Open carry is not just legal, but is constitutionally guaranteed under the Louisiana Constitution.

    Miller County obtained a warrant against him for threats allegedly made on the (territorially disputed) strip of land. Miller County deputies, and Arkansas Game Fish & Wildlife rangers were reportedly on hand to serve that warrant. For unknown reasons, they approached from the disputed "few dozen feet" strip of land, rather than having Caddo Parrish deputies serve the warrant at Morneau's home.

    The official police statement is that "...when they identified themselves, Morneau drew two revolvers and pointed them, Sadler said. The fatal shot came from a rifle fired by the deputy after Morneau refused to drop his weapons."

    News citations:
    http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news...pect-71-71.php
    http://www.ktbs.com/news/25354636/detail.html

    Another report, from an unusual source:
    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg...&GRid=59950275



    Personal commentary:
    I'm not a police hater. I am, it's worth noting, a law enforcement officer working for a federal agency. I'm also not a thin blue line apologist, and I call 'em like I see 'em. And this one stinks.

    I've never seen a local case of Arkansas police, especially deputies, responding to a case in the woods that didn't involve dressing out to the max in cammo and tacticool gear. I have to wonder whether these officers on disputed private land were clearly identifiable as law enforcement officers ("announcing themselves" doesn't count), or if they looked like trespassing poachers carrying guns.

    I also have to wonder why they chose to approach the disputed land at all, rather than having a Caddo Parrish deputy walk up to Morneau's house and serve him. Or, just call his law office in Vivian and say, "Hey, we have a warrant here. Can you come up to our office and work this out?"

    There are too few "peace officers" left, and too many law "enforcement" officers who think every interaction with the public is best served with guns drawn.

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    KBCraig:

    I agree..., as..., something about this is not right.

    However, was the Lawyer disputing State Boudaries, OR was He just wanting Arkansas to acknowledge His claim of Property that He had stake in Arkansas?

    aadvark

    P.S.: Arkansas does not allow Open Carry, BUT there can be made a Legal Arguement that it technically would be Legal, given the right circumstances.
    Last edited by aadvark; 10-13-2010 at 12:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aadvark View Post
    KBCraig:

    I agree..., as..., something about this is not right.

    However, was the Lawyer disputing State Boudaries, OR was He just wanting Arkansas to acknowledge His claim of Property that He had stake in Arkansas?

    aadvark

    P.S.: Arkansas does not allow Open Carry, BUT there can be made a Legal Arguement that it technically would be Legal, given the right circumstances.
    Does Arkansas allow a property owner to open carry on their own land? It appears that there was a dispute as to who owned what land. I did read where the deceased had a railroad map showing that the property in question was legally his. It also seems that this has been an ongoing dispute. The deceased, an attorney, seemed to be putting the burden of proof that ownership of this land in question was otherwise owned back onto the county authorities. Theres more here than meets the eye. This man was a fixture in the community. I don't understand why he was approached by law enforcement in this manner. All things indicate law enforcement went into the woods for a confrontation. It disturbs me to think this is the method of resolution that we allow police to use to "keep the peace".

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    Odds are...: THE LAND WAS HIS.

    Yes, Arkansas, does allow Open Carry on your own Personnal Private Property.

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    Good blog post:
    http://mybossier.blogspot.com/2010/1...-advocate.html


    http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news...igation-57.php
    The Arkansas State Police are continuing to investigate whether the Miller County, Ark., sheriff’s deputy who shot an Ida, La., man Sunday was justified in doing so.

    “Once we get the autopsy report and the evidentiary information in from the State Crime Lab, all of that will be turned over to the district prosecutor. It’s not unusual for more investigative work to be done once we hand it off, however,” said Bill Sadler, Arkansas State Police spokesman.

    The deputy has been put on administrative leave for fatally shooting John Morneau, 71.

    The deputy’s report to investigators said he and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers were attempting to locate Morneau to serve him with outstanding warrants. He was located on private property on the Arkansas side of the Arkansas-Louisiana state line. The property was adjacent to his Louisiana home.

    Officers identified themselves and Morneau allegedly drew two revolvers and pointed them at the officers. The deputy shot after Morneau refused to lower his guns. Morneau was pronounced dead at the scene.



    Still no explanation about why they decided to serve a warrant by entering this disputed strip of land in hopes of finding him there, rather than having Caddo SO serve it at his home. I don't know which house on Redbud Lane was his, but the closest house to the border is about 300 yards away.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Dont bring a pistol to a rifle fight.

    Lesson 1: Don't bring a pistol (or 2) to a rifle fight.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    What were game officers doing being involved?

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    I couldn't stop for any local opinions in Ida, but I did pick up a copy of the local Shreveport-Bossier crime tabloid, The Inquisitor (motto: "If you don't want it printed, Don't let it happen!")

    As I said, it's a weekly crime tabloid. The print all (all!) the local police and jail bookings, with mug shots. They love nothing more than when a local celebrity gets busted, and they are absolutely tenacious bulldogs about local political corruption.

    As expected, it was their #1 story. The front page headlines:

    LOCAL ATTORNEY
    GUNNED DOWN
    BY ARKANSAS DEPUTY!
    WAS HE LURED ACROSS STATE LINE?

    SHOCKING INQUISITOR PROBE REVEALS INCIDENT
    COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED!


    It's a long article, 50 column inches. They don't have an online presence except for subscribers (full $52 a year for online access to their stories), and I'm not going to scan the article or transcribe the whole thing, so here are selected quotes (in bold) and my comments (in italics):

    The land was indeed in dispute, and the Arkansas/Louisiana question is still unsettled (at least to me). The land where he was killed was not his, it belonged to another local attorney named Alan Stegall. Morneau had permission from Stegall to hunt that land, but a local hunting club, the Clements-Story Hunting Club, had an adjoining lease and that's where the boundary dispute arose.

    The misdemeanor warrant was being served by one Miller County deputy and three Arkansas game wardens.


    Evidence uncovered Wednesday suggests that Morneau was lured across the state line by someone who called him and requested him to go out into the woods on Sunday.
    ...
    Miller County Sherfiff's Lt. Duke Schofield says his deputy fired a single shot from a rifle.

    Morneau, who for years wore his western-style gun belt and holsters in public, never discharged his weapons, and neither did the game wardens, according to Schofield.
    ...
    Morneau's stepson, Joe Ebarb, said Morneau went to church on Sunday and sang in the choir and even served as an usher at the Catholic church in Vivian. He said he was in a great mood that day and enjoyed spending time at his country home near Ida when he heard four-wheelers in a wooded area behind his home, where he had permission to hunt. He said Morneau went to investigate it because about two weeks prior he had an encounter with a local hunting club over a property dispute.


    There follows a long exchange between the reporter and Lt. Schofield, about why the MCSO didn't get Caddo Parish to serve the warrant, or simply notify Morneau about the warrant and seek his cooperation. Schofield "would bet my career on it" that there can be no interstate extradition for misdemeanors, so the reporter called CPSO, who said of course they could extradite for misdemeanors. When presented with this, Schofield refused to talk any more, so the reporter called the Miller County deputy prosecutor, Carlton Jones, who also confirmed that they could extradite for a misdemeanor warrant.

    On Wednesday of this week, after The Inquisitor made a public records request with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office for documents related to any complaints that Morneau had made in the past few months regarding property disputes and trespassers on his land, a letter to Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator from Morneau surfaced. The letter was written and mailed, according to the postmark, on Friday, just two days before he was gunned down by the Arkansas deputy.

    In the letter Morneau expressed concerns that someone was attempting to lure him "into a trap."

    Police complaints filed with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office indicates Morneau had been having a land dispute with the Clements-Story Hunting Club out of Fouke, Ark.
    ...
    The reports state that Morneau told deputies that someone had bulldozed fences down on the property when Morneau was at church. It also indicates that Morneau had been in contact with Louisiana Wildlife Agent Frank Reger, who apparently used a GPS to locate the Arkansas-Louisiana line for Morneau.

    Two letters were mailed by Morneau to Sheriff Prator in September, which were dated Sept. 24 and Sept. 28.


    The article then quotes the letter of October 8, where Morneau informs the sheriff that his no trespassing signs had been torn down, and replaced with new signs at the southern line of the disputed property. He also received a phone call from someone who claimed to have had a falling out with the hunting club, and told him where to find a hunting blind that had been stolen from Morneau, and suggested it would be easy for Morneau to go get it. The name and phone number used by the caller were fake.

    (quoting the letter) "...So it appears that they were trying to lure me into a trap. This is not the first time. They tried it last year. It appears that they are going to continue trying to provoke a fight where they will have the upper hand. They will be back this coming Sunday with a new and more extreme effort to provoke a fight. Eventually, they are likely to try something in or around my home."

    Morneau concludes his letter stating, "This has got to stop. The situation will continue to escalate until it ends in a violent confrontation. We have both seen this happen."


    The reported contacted Lt. Schofield with this new information and asked if the officers lured Morneau across the state line. Schofield refused to answer any more questions, and said the sheriff was "out and gone" and wouldn't answer any questions either.

    The hunting club lease-holder, Harold Clements, said they suspected Morneau would illegally gun-hunt the land on Sunday (opening day of gun season in Louisiana, but before gun season in Arkansas), and "I don't know how many times they had been down there waiting, trying to catch him. He was kind of hard to catch. We figured he would be in there on gun season."

  9. #9
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Don't worry, this will be fairly and impartially investigated by the second cousin of the hick Barney Fife who gunned him down. (Come to think of it, aren't they all second cousins in Arkansas? Common link being a clinton?)
    Last edited by Gunslinger; 10-18-2010 at 05:40 PM.

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    There are several plausible reasons for a "good shoot" in the back, especially in defense of another.

    I can't think of any plausible reasons for a coroner to first find that someone was shot in the back, then reverse that finding.

    http://www.ktbs.com/news/25467729/detail.html

    Coroner Does About-Face On Where Lawyer Shot
    by Julie Parr
    POSTED: 4:03 pm CDT October 21, 2010
    UPDATED: 9:16 pm CDT October 21, 2010

    TEXARKANA -- The medical examiner in the investigation into the death of north Caddo Parish attorney John Morneau, who was shot and killed by a Miller County, Ark., sheriff's deputy two weeks ago, has made an about-face when it comes to saying where Morneau was shot.

    Morneau's first death certificate said he was shot in the back. Miller County Coroner Eddie Hawkins Jr. has now issued a new one that indicates Morneau, 71, was shot in the chest.

    Hawkins would not go into specifics Thursday about why that was done, except to say there was a mistake.

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    That's typically, as Massad Ayoob has mentioned in articles, because the exit wound looked more like an entrance wound or vice-versa. The fact they recanted tells you that whatever the projectile was entered with great speed AND exited with great speed. Likely fired from an M-16.
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

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    Breaking news: I'm not sure how the moderators are treating quoted material from copyrighted sources. I really can't cut much out of this, because it's all relevant. So, here goes:

    http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news...yer-int-14.php

    Family alleges officers lured lawyer into a ‘kill zone’
    By: Lynn LaRowe - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 10/25/2010
    An attorney representing the family of a Louisiana lawyer shot and killed by a Miller County Sheriff’s Department deputy earlier this month issued a press release Thursday asking for a thorough investigation into the incident.

    Shreveport attorney Daniel Keele’s release indicates a free, confidential tipline has been established that the family of 71-year-old John Morneau hopes will lead to information in the case.

    Morneau was shot Oct. 10 on property in Arkansas bordering Morneau’s land in Ida, La., according to earlier reports. Morneau reportedly refused to drop two handguns when deputies and Game and Fish Commission officers identified themselves.



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    Latest update, in the Louisiana section: a lawsuit has been filed in federal court.

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...=1#post1645654

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundar View Post
    Lesson 1: Don't bring a pistol (or 2) to a rifle fight.
    At OCDO there are two things that are not tolerated, open carry intolerance and "long gun open carry", ??? why no long gun carry? in·tol·er·ance

    noun
    1.
    lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.



    A long gun can be a defensive weapon or did i misunderstand the sentence ? Does your ORG. not want a person to OC carry a long gun ? if so is there a link to view ? Just looking for info, Thank You.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robdean View Post
    At OCDO there are two things that are not tolerated, open carry intolerance and "long gun open carry", ??? why no long gun carry? in·tol·er·ance

    noun
    1.
    lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.


    A long gun can be a defensive weapon or did i misunderstand the sentence ? Does your ORG. not want a person to OC carry a long gun ? if so is there a link to view ? Just looking for info, Thank You.

    First let me welcome you to OCDO then set the record straight for you.

    To give you a short response:

    1) OCDO is dedicated to promoting and defending the right to open carry properly holstered handguns as we go about our normal everyday life. That restriction has been set by the site owners.

    2) OCDO is not an all encompassing RKBA site, much less a one entailing the rest of the Constitution except as it effects or pertains to #1 above.

    3) Suggest that it would be beneficial to you to read the Forum Rules before proceeding further, especially Rule #14 pertaining to long guns.

    Please do not pursue this line of thought on this thread - it is decidedly off topic for this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    Breaking news: I'm not sure how the moderators are treating quoted material from copyrighted sources.


    [/I]
    This is likely fair use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    This is likely fair use.
    Of course it is, but I posted that almost two years ago, when everyone was in an uproar about Righthaven, the copyright trolls that were shutting down websites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aadvark View Post
    Odds are...: THE LAND WAS HIS.

    Yes, Arkansas, does allow Open Carry on your own Personnal Private Property.
    Even if that's the case, as we clearly see, attempting to prove your case in a court of the woods against federal officers is a potentially more deadly course of action than proving your claim in the courts.

    What caught my eyes was this: "Arkansas State Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 71-year-old north Caddo Parish man who was killed as law officers tried to serve an arrest warrant that accused him of shooting at other people as part of a property dispute."

    Shooting at other people isn't the best way to solve a property dispute, either, unless it meets state law allowing self-defense of property. However, that should have been followed up immediately with a 911 call and a full police report.

    Another statement caught my eye: "agents from Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife and a Miller County sheriff's deputy came into contact with Morneau on private property adjoining his home site. The law officers were there to serve Miller County District Court warrants charging Morneau with first-degree assault, criminal mischief and second-degree harassment."

    If you want to go down in a blaze of glory with an OK Corral type shootout, this is definitely one way to accomplish that. However, if the dispute involves a property line, the courts are where that should have taken place. Surveyor's aren't all that expensive, either, and would have been happy to review his old railroad map, compare it to the platte(s) on file, and render an opinion which would have been used by any bona-fide real estate lawyer to argument for an amendment to the platte(s) on file.

    This story reminds me of one of Heinlein's sayings: You can be a dead lion or a live jackal, but it's usually easier to be a live lion...
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    If you want to go down in a blaze of glory with an OK Corral type shootout, this is definitely one way to accomplish that. However, if the dispute involves a property line, the courts are where that should have taken place. Surveyor's aren't all that expensive, either, and would have been happy to review his old railroad map, compare it to the platte(s) on file, and render an opinion which would have been used by any bona-fide real estate lawyer to argument for an amendment to the platte(s) on file.
    He wasn't out to make a stand of any kind. He received an anonymous call telling him where he could find his tree stand, which had been moved from his undisputed property to the disputed strip. When he got there, the deputies and game wardens were waiting in ambush positions, and a deputy shot him in the back.

    That's not conjecture or hyperbole, that's from their own reports.

    Also, there had been multiple surveys attempted, all with different and conflicting results. The thick tree cover makes GPS unusable with any degree of accuracy, and obviously makes shooting a straight line with a transit also impossible. The railroad bed and a local iron deposit create a magnetic anomaly, also making an accurate survey difficult.

  21. #21
    Regular Member Fuller Malarkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    He wasn't out to make a stand of any kind. He received an anonymous call telling him where he could find his tree stand, which had been moved from his undisputed property to the disputed strip. When he got there, the deputies and game wardens were waiting in ambush positions, and a deputy shot him in the back.

    That's not conjecture or hyperbole, that's from their own reports.

    Also, there had been multiple surveys attempted, all with different and conflicting results. The thick tree cover makes GPS unusable with any degree of accuracy, and obviously makes shooting a straight line with a transit also impossible. The railroad bed and a local iron deposit create a magnetic anomaly, also making an accurate survey difficult.
    Yo. KB. Thanks for any and all updates on this case. I recall like it was yesterday when this appeared here, and did a lot of research on what was available about it a the time. A true atrocity that needs to be kept held to the light of day.
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    The suit has been moved to the federal court in Texarkana. There's an article in the Texarkana paper today (Thursday, 9/20), but it's subscriber-only. I'll check for other sources.

  23. #23
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    Anyone know the latest on this?
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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