(The following is another installment on the myriad of problems involving the judges of the 4th Judicial District Court which includes the parishes of Ouachita and Morehouse. Former KNOE-TV investigative reporter Ken Booth, now living in Arizona, returns to his familiar North Louisiana stomping grounds for the story.)
By guest columnist Ken Booth
A 35-year-old West Monroe man is being sought by Ouachita Parish authorities who have charged him on nine counts of sex-related crimes involving a 15-year-old juvenile here.
And Sheriff’s detectives say they have developed additional information linking the suspect and now fugitive David Lee Toler to even more sexual activity with the same child on two occasions in a Shreveport Hotel and one more at a hotel in Coushatta, Red River Parish.
The OPSO detectives acted on a complaint filed by a member of the girl’s family who had confronted her about texts on her phone to Toler. At the time, she confessed that she and the suspect had exchanged sexually explicit photos and text communications.
According to authorities the family member quoted the child as having said this led to sexual relations with the suspect on at least a dozen occasions beginning in December of last year and lasting until the first or second week of last month.
The affidavit in support of the arrest warrant issued on April 30 for Toler said the juvenile later told detectives the same things she had originally alleged but added that sexual contact with Toler had occurred “more than a dozen times over the last couple of months.”
Specifically, the warrant listed four felony crimes: 1 count each of Aggravated crime against nature; indecent behavior with a juvenile; Pornography involving a juvenile; and Computer-aided solicitation of a minor. That warrant was signed by Duty Judge Larry D. Jefferson who set bonds totaling $60,000 on April 30.
Toler’s name and bond information was then placed into NCIC’s data base and following a multi-jurisdictional effort, Toler was detained in Brookhaven, Mississippi after being pulled over by a Mississippi Highway Patrolman.
Toler voluntarily waived extradition and was returned to Ouachita Parish by Sheriff’s Office detectives and booked into the Parish correctional center.
On the same day Toler was extradited back to Louisiana, May 2, the juvenile victim was interviewed by officials at the Center for Children and Families whereupon she provided details of additional crimes of intercourse between her and David Lee Toler, twice at the family’s previous residence, once in his car outside a West Monroe fitness center, once at her grandparent’s home, and once in a deer stand in a “secluded wooded area within West Lakes Subdivision.”
It was during that secondary interview at the Center that authorities learned of the three additional alleged acts at hotels in Caddo and Red River Parishes.
Another arrest warrant was issued, this time by District Judge Carl Sharp who had been officially assigned the Toler case for trial. On the five new additional charges in Ouachita Parish, Judge Sharp ordered no bond pending an appearance by the District Attorney.
Armed now with information on the five new charges, Sharp did not touch Jefferson’s $60,000 bond on the first set of 4 charges—but instead set a new total bond of $2.5-Million on the five new charges.
At some point unknown, Judge Jefferson called to the Correctional Center to see if there were any unsigned 72-hour bond matters that needed to be signed, and although clearly indicating no bond but nevertheless outlining the five additional charges, Jefferson added another $25,000 to bring Toler’s bond up to $85,000 which he posted and was released.
When deputies went out to the Correctional Center to re-book Toler on the newest charges, he had already posted the $85,000 bail set by Jefferson and had been released. He is now the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for five counts of aggravated crime against Nature with that new bond of $500,000 on each count.
He has not been seen or heard from since. He is scheduled for a May 17 court appearance.
Meanwhile, court officials were questioning how a ‘duty’ or on-call judge can alter bond instructions from a Judge who was already properly assigned to the case at hand.
Add all of this to Jefferson’s inexplicable not guilty ruling in the case of a career criminal indisputably linked by his DNA to the kidnap/robbery of a 76-year-old live-alone Grandmother the other day and before that, a slap on the hand very lenient sentence to a former state police Sgt. who was convicted of stealing dope from an evidence room and enabling an accomplice to sell it on the street for over $1-million.
On top of that, one of the 4th JDC Judges has sued four of her fellow jurists in federal court for allegedly covering up payroll fraud by their law clerk.
That law clerk, Allyson Campbell, apparently has all the right connections to warrant protection from the four jurists named as defendants in the suit filed by Judge Sharon Marchman.
Campbell’s father is George Campbell, an executive with Regions Bank. George Campbell is married to the daughter of attorney Billy Boles who was instrumental in the growth of Century Telephone and who is a major contributor to various political campaigns.
Allyson Campbell is also the sister of Catherine Creed of the Monroe personal injury law firm of Creed and Creed.
As if the courts and judges of the 4th JDC didn’t present enough problems, it was learned this week that the Louisiana Legislative Auditor is reviewing an undisclosed issue with the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s office.
A couple of items state auditor Daryl Purpera’s office could be taking a close look at stem from the latest audit that shows Clerk of Court Louis Bond paid herself more than $238,000 in salary and perks (that’s over $100,000 more than the governor’s salary) in 2014—even as her office incurred a deficit of more than $242,000, the third consecutive year her office has ended the fiscal year in the red. The deficit for the year ended June 30, 2014 was more than $423,000, according to the latest audit figures.
(LouisianaVoice Editor Tom Aswell also contributed to this story)