Jefferson Parish deputies combat up-tick in murders - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Jefferson Parish deputies combat up-tick in murders

Updated:
Murder victim Bowie Richard Murder victim Bowie Richard

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA - An Army sergeant and a pipe inspector are two of the most recent murder victims in Jefferson Parish. As investigators try to track down their killers, they're also battling an up-tick in murders there.

Jefferson Parish saw a 30 percent jump in murders from 2012 to 2013. Many of them took place on the west bank, including the two most recent this year.

Justine Richard's husband, Bowie, was killed early Saturday morning outside The Edge sports bar in Harvey. Richard explains, "He was just a husband and father and someone took it away from him."

Richard was an aspiring rapper who, just before he died, recorded a song about his wife and kids.

Sheriff's office investigators say 24-year-old Devin Bonilla pulled the trigger after getting into some sort of verbal exchange with Richard.

SUNO criminologist Dr. John Penny comments, "We've got to change that culture of 'if you diss me, if you disrespect me, then I've got to do this' and retaliation is going to take place."

Penny says most shooters know their victims, in other words, they're not totally random acts. In fact, the sheriff's office just announced that detectives now believe the person who shot and killed an Army sergeant on New Year's day in Marrero, knew Joseph Anderson before the murder.

"There's a possibility there may be some kind of connection along the line," said Cmmdr. John Fortunato.

With 33 murders in the parish in 2012, and 43 last year, Penny says he does feel confident the sheriff's office will be able to get a handle on crime.

"I think it's going to take a while but it's going to level off and decrease," said Penny.

It's important to note that 2012 saw the lowest crime rate in Jefferson Parish since the 70s. Residents there hope the department can get back to those numbers again this year.

As Bowie Richard's family waits to see if his killer will be arrested, they're planning a fundraiser for Saturday night at the Republic. Meanwhile, Crimestoppers raised the reward for information about Joseph Anderson's death to $8,000.

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