PARDONED: Concordia Parish man convicted of violent crimes in the 1980s freed

Published 1:35 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

BATON ROUGE, La. — A Concordia Parish man convicted of aggravated kidnapping and armed robbery in Ouachita Parish in 1988 was pardoned by former Gov. John Bel Edwards with a total of 56 inmates.

Leroy Brown Jr., a former Louisiana State Trooper and Clayton resident now in his mid-60s, reportedly abducted a convenience store night clerk at gunpoint, tied him up in the trunk of a vehicle and carried him from Monroe to his Concordia Parish residence.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 15 years in prison at hard labor without parole, to be served consecutively.

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Edwards began signing pardons on Oct. 11 and continued into December. Of the inmates pardoned statewide, 32 were convicted of second-degree murder and eight were convicted of first-degree murder.

Brown applied for a Pardon and Commutation of Sentence to the Board of Pardons in 2020. Edwards pardoned Brown in November 2023.

The history

On Oct. 22, 1987, Monroe police were informed of the disappearance of Richard Landers, a night clerk at Merry Mart Convenience Store in Monroe. Later the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office informed Monroe officers that Landers had been found and that an investigation was ongoing.

During questioning, Landers told Concordia Parish deputies that he was abducted.

He said he’d been tied up inside a closet and held for ransom the day before. After being tied up for several hours, Landers escaped and went to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Monroe police had placed a recording device on Lander’s home phone in Monroe and a phone call was recorded in which an individual demanded $50,000 in cash from Landers’ employer, corroborating Landers’ story.

The radio operator at the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office identified the caller as Leroy Brown Jr., having worked with Brown for approximately two years. Landers’ description of his kidnapper also matched the operator’s description of Brown.

Authorities apprehended Brown after a two-day manhunt that ended in a wheatfield near Tallulah. Brown’s attorney Neal Johnson has said that circumstances surrounding Brown’s termination from State Police Troop E had “destroyed his mind,” according to news reports.

At the arraignment on Dec. 7, 1987, Brown entered a plea of not guilty because of insanity but was later denied the appointment of a sanity commission.

While imprisoned he also was reported as having been on a 40-day hunger strike, liquids only, until he received national media attention to his “flimsy” termination from Troop E.

Brown contended that one of the reasons he was fired was because he kept a dirty police car. Troop E said that it was “for violations of State Police policy and procedures.”

Brown also claimed that after receiving notice of termination from the department, he was threatened with a burning cross and a pile of burned State Police uniforms in the front yard of his home and that the State Police made only a feeble attempt to investigate.

Other pardons

Included below is a full list of pardons Edwards made to close out the 2023 year.

October 2023

David Allen Tullier, Jr., Tangipahoa, Possession of Schedule II (methamphetamine)

Timothy Jason Wilkinson, East Baton Rouge, Theft, Seven counts of First-degree Robbery

Dawn Danielle Bennett, Livingston, Second-degree Murder, Armed Robbery

Merritt John Dykstra, Jr., Iberia and St. Martin, Second-degree Murder

Herber James Fuselier, Calcasieu, Second-degree Murder

Marion Francis Gowan, Ouachita and West Feliciana, Second-degree Murder, Simple Escape Type 1

Cleveland Harris, III, Orleans, First-degree Robbery

Anthony Riggins, Jefferson, First-degree Murder

Noble Robinson, Jr., Acadia, Second-degree Murder

Jack David Segura, Iberia and St. Martin, Second-degree Murder, Simple Escape Type 1

John Vincent Spano, Caddo, Second-degree Battery

Louis Milton Taylor, Orleans, Attempted Second-degree Murder, PWID Heroin

Venson Dean Vampran, St. Tammany, Second-degree Murder

Jimmy Allen Vidrine, Evangeline, Second-degree Murder

George Woodcock, Jr., Orleans, First-degree Battery

Creighton Lee Wuneberger, Jefferson, Habitual – Armed Robbery

November 2023

Leroy Brown, Jr., Ouachita, Aggravated Kidnapping, Armed Robbery

Herbert Butler, East Baton Rouge, Second-degree Murder

Roy Joseph Dickerson, Jefferson, Habitual – Aggravated Arson

Nathaniel Wayne Gibson, Jr., Orleans, Habitual – Attempted Second-degree Murder

Jeffrey Hawkins, Orleans, Second-degree Murder

Jeffery Dale Hilburn, Richland, Second-degree Murder

Van Douglas Hudson, Jefferson, Second-degree Murder

Gregory Allen Johnson, Jefferson, Second-degree Murder

Dana Glenn Miles, East Baton Rouge, Second-degree Murder

George Moore, III, Madison, First-degree Murder

Jake Michael Ortego, East Baton Rouge, Second-degree Murder

Frank Michael Shulark, Rapides, Second-degree Murder

Connie Laron Sledge, Jackson, Second-degree Murder

Neal Spencer, Jr., Jefferson Davis, Second-degree Murder

Steve E. Stewart, St. John The Baptist, Second-degree Murder

Danny Melvin Young, Terrebonne, First-degree Murder

December 2023

Isiah Jones, Jr., Iberville, Second-degree Murder

Nathan Edward Arnold, Lafayette, Second-degree Murder

David Wade Foy, Calcasieu, Murder

Keith Elmon Messiah, Orleans, First-degree Murder

Christopher William Picard, St. Tammany, Second-degree Murder

Carl Carnuious Ruffins, Caddo, Second-degree Murder

Ricky Washington, Caddo, First-degree Murder

Donovan Randal Johnson, East Baton Rouge, Second-degree Murder

Darrell Sterling, Calcasieu, Second-degree Murder

Danny Ray Lee, St. Mary, Second-degree Murder

Robert Lee Whitaker, Jr., East Baton Rouge, Second-degree Murder

Robert Early Lewis, Jr., St. Tammany, Habitual – First-degree Robbery

Travis Lee Miller, St. Mary, Simple Burglary, Simple Burglary – Inhabited Dwelling, Attempted Armed Robbery Armed Robbery – Use of a Firearm Enhancement, Two counts of Simple Burglary

Lutgardo Raymond Silva, III, Jefferson, Second-degree Murder

David Daniel Rushing, St. Tammany, First-degree Murder

Edward Joseph Price, III, St. Tammany, Perjury

Frank Joseph Marullo, Sr., Jefferson, Receiving Stolen Things, Illegal Discharge of a Firearm

Gary Childers, Vermillion, Second-degree Murder

Juastin Perez Brown, Beauregard and Vernon, PWID Marijuana, Distribution of Marijuana

Nick Charles Nicholson, Caddo, First-degree Murder

Frederick Kirkpatrick, St. Tammany, First-degree Murder

John Wayne Tonubbee, St. Charles, Two counts of First-degree Murder

Donald J. Gallow, Evangeline, Simple Burglary, Theft, Second-degree Murder

Tommy Dewayne Floyd, Iberville, Second-degree Murder