Judge Overturns Conviction, Robbery Charge Dropped by Jefferson D.A.

Judge Overturns Conviction, Robbery Charge Dropped by Jefferson D.A.

The Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office has dropped the armed robbery charge against a Marrero man whose conviction was overturned by a state district judge last month.

In October, a jury convicted Kerry Brown, 21, of the armed robbery of the McDonald’s restaurant at 3407 Lapalco Blvd. But Judge Robert Murphy threw out the conviction Feb. 1 when defense attorney Tommy Calogero showed that sheriffs deputies were not telling the truth about how Brown was apprehended.

In the trial, several street crimes deputies testified that Brown was caught trying to enter his home after a lengthy chase through the streets of Woodmere. About $200 in a McDonald’s bag was found near Brown’s residence.

But in a hearing in which he sought a new trial, Calogero called Deputy Joseph Ragas, who testified that he picked up Brown at a bus stop that day. Brown had said he was waiting for a bus when he was arrested. Ragas did not testify during the trial, but Calogero called him for the hearing after he listened to recordings of police radio traffic made during the search for the robber. The tape recording conclusively showed that no chase had ever taken place. Noting that the robber wore a mask, Calogero also questioned the restaurant manager’s identification of Brown as the robber. Prosecutor Walter Amstuts, who dropped the charge against Brown on Monday, said Wednesday that he acted “because there were a number of inconsistencies in the descriptions that I couldn’t resolve.”

After Murphy threw out the conviction last month, Amstuts had said that he was confident Griffin’s testimony was accurate and that he expected to retry the suspect. “But, based on what I have to go with now, I had no choice but to dismiss the charge,” he said. Brown avoided a minimum sentence of 15 years. Calogero could not be reached for comment.

Re-printed in part from Times-Picayune