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OC Louisiana lawyer killed by Ark. Deputy

KBCraig

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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/localnews/2010/10/12/deputy-kills-suspect-71-71.php
http://www.ktbs.com/news/25354636/detail.html

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

PT111

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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.
 

LA Confederate

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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.
 

KBCraig

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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.
 

55bowtie

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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.
 

KBCraig

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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.
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.
 

55bowtie

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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."
 

LA Confederate

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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.
 

KBCraig

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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."
Well, then, that settles it. Whatever the police claim, must be true.
 

KBCraig

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( 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.
 

PT111

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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.
 
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Fuller Malarkey

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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".
 

KBCraig

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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.
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?
 

Grapeshot

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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".
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.
 
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