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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 Arkansas 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.

  2. #2
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    After reading the KTBS and find a grave reports (the other one required registration) I have a few questions about this.

    Why did they send Game and Fish agents to serve the warrant rather than the normal Deputies or State police? This is a little strange.

    In the OP you say that they approached him from the disputed strip but the article says they met on private property adjoining his homesite. This is a strange way to say that they were on the disputed property.

    The Find a Grave site says he has been known to fire shots at people on the disputed property. With that history I would say they needed to be extra careful. Since he was shot with a rifle they were expecting him to pull his guns and had someone away from them as a backup.

    As for aclling him up and saying how about come in and work this out; I would say that would be met with a KMA and shove it. He has already to have it survey done to prove it was his property.

    As for his OC I didn't see where anyone made a deal out of it other than he had always worn them and used them. This probably could have been handled better but looks like it was planned out and unfortunately it appears to me that they got the result they were expecting. A lot more info in needed before making a decision on this but it doesn't sound good for anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PT111 View Post
    As for his OC I didn't see where anyone made a deal out of it other than he had always worn them and used them. This probably could have been handled better but looks like it was planned out and unfortunately it appears to me that they got the result they were expecting. A lot more info in needed before making a decision on this but it doesn't sound good for anyone.
    If that is in fact the case then the responding "officers" would be guilty of nothing other than premeditated murder. Instead of trying to prevent shots fired, the article indicates they went in to cause conflict.

    My question is this...where was he shot? Was he on his land that he owned in Caddo Parish? If so, the officers were not in their jurisdiction and are also guilty of nothing more than murder.

    There has to be more to this story. Things just don't add up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LA Confederate View Post
    If that is in fact the case then the responding "officers" would be guilty of nothing other than premeditated murder. Instead of trying to prevent shots fired, the article indicates they went in to cause conflict.

    My question is this...where was he shot? Was he on his land that he owned in Caddo Parish? If so, the officers were not in their jurisdiction and are also guilty of nothing more than murder.

    There has to be more to this story. Things just don't add up.
    Reading between the lines of the news reports is a dangerous way to draw conclusions, but it's often the only way we have to gain insight into what really happened.

    As I understand it, I believe his position was that the disputed land was all in Caddo Parish, and the state line was in the wrong place.

    I'll be passing through Ida this weekend. We always stop at the corner store for a drink and some fried pies. I'll try to pick up the local gossip, as much as I can.

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    The land and home were here, on Redbud Lane.

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    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."
    You can't point a gun at a LEO and not expect to get shot/killed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    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."
    You can't point a gun at a LEO and not expect to get shot/killed.
    You can't dress up in cammo and sneak through the woods on someone's private land and expect to not have them point a gun at you.

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    YOU WERE THERE????? Thats what you saw???

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    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    YOU WERE THERE????? Thats what you saw???
    You were there? You saw him pointing his gun at men clearly identified and identifiable as police?

    Thought not.

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    No thats what YOU posted in your first post .......... 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."

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    Whether they are LEO or not is somewhat irrelevant. Property rights and property lines still ply to LEO regardless of what they think. Were they out of their jurisdiction is the real question. If they were AR State Police in Caddo Parish, LA then they were out of their jurisdiction and therefore they were the equivalent of civilian trespassers. If that's the case, the person who pulled the trigger would be guilty of murder, just the same as Lon Horiuchi was guilty of the murder of Vicki Weaver. The other trespassers would be also guilty of murder, or accessories after the fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    No thats what YOU posted in your first post .......... 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."
    Well, then, that settles it. Whatever the police claim, must be true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    Well, then, that settles it. Whatever the police claim, must be true.
    ( I am, it's worth noting, a law enforcement officer working for a federal agency.)This is from your op. So we should believe your version of what happened??

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    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    ( I am, it's worth noting, a law enforcement officer working for a federal agency.)This is from your op. So we should believe your version of what happened??
    I have not offered a version of facts other than what is reported: that the police entered disputed land from adjoining private land, found and challenged Mr. Morneau, and shot him dead.

    The news report that I quoted was not my words; perhaps you should ask Sadler if he was there.

    I concede that I do not know the officers were wearing camouflage, but my years of experience just a few miles from the site of the shooting tells me there is an extreme likelihood of that being the case. Sneaking through the woods on private land isn't even in dispute; that's what they were doing.

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    I do not like the way this went down and it all sounds very strange to me. I was not there and only have the news reports to rely on. Now kbcraig lives nearby and I am sure has a much better understanding of it than I do but several of his posts seem to infer that he was there or has made some assumptions or exaggerations that do not fit into the news reports. I would like to know more on this but I prefer facts rather than wild exaggerations that may or may not be true.
    Last edited by PT111; 10-15-2010 at 11:42 AM.

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    Lesson 1.

    Lesson 1: Don't bring a pistol (or pistols in this case) 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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    Quote Originally Posted by 55bowtie View Post
    ( I am, it's worth noting, a law enforcement officer working for a federal agency.)This is from your op. So we should believe your version of what happened??
    all due respect, this just taints your claim and shows a bias in your beliefs.

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    For such a horrific tragedy, there seems to be very little information coming out. Crickets. I see references in the comments section of news articles to a hunting club, previous day trespassers, deer feeders removed by the deceased. A hunting club might indicate a membership with influence. I'd hate to think the law was sent in to insure a good days hunting for the "good 'ol boys".

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    Quote Originally Posted by PT111 View Post
    I do not like the way this went down and it all sounds very strange to me. I was not there and only have the news reports to rely on. Now kbcraig lives nearby and I am sure has a much better understanding of it than I do but several of his posts seem to infer that he was there or has made some assumptions or exaggerations that do not fit into the news reports. I would like to know more on this but I prefer facts rather than wild exaggerations that may or may not be true.
    I can't think of anything I have said that implies I was there. I wasn't. Can you point to something I've written that would lead anyone to infer that I might have been?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuller Malarkey View Post
    For such a horrific tragedy, there seems to be very little information coming out. Crickets. I see references in the comments section of news articles to a hunting club, previous day trespassers, deer feeders removed by the deceased. A hunting club might indicate a membership with influence. I'd hate to think the law was sent in to insure a good days hunting for the "good 'ol boys".
    Gleaned from all that I have read:

    The judge had a long going problem with issues involving ownership of land he claimed was his, problems with trespassers including hunters, LEOs may have been dressed in camo thereby looking not unlike hunters trespassing.

    Could be that the judge thought that what he had were armed trespassers/hunters and just didn't think they would shoot to avoid being run off - supposition on my part.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    You can't dress up in cammo and sneak through the woods on someone's private land and expect to not have them point a gun at you.
    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    I can't think of anything I have said that implies I was there. I wasn't. Can you point to something I've written that would lead anyone to infer that I might have been?
    I didn't see anything in the reports that said anything about them sneaking through the woods dressed in camo. I also said they approached frm adjacent private property which I would take as not being his property.

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    I still don't see anything that would lead a reasonable person to infer that I was there. I stated plainly that I was not, and didn't know the facts of the case (in the first post). I also said that the camouflage was supposition, based on almost two decades of experience.

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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."

  24. #24
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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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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    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.
    Simple, cover-up. A pro-firearms guy stands up to the JBTs and gets murdered with a shot in the back and the coroner is trying to cover it up for some reason. The thin blue whine strikes again, just like it did for Lon Horiuchi after he shot a nursing mother in the face.

    --Note from Moderator--

    Conclusions assumed do NOT justify LEO bashing!

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