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Ball player charged in drug-related murder

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 5, 1998

RESERVE – A Grambling State University baseball player has been arrested in the weekend shooting death of a Reserve man.

St. John Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones announced the arrest of Juan JosephAlexander during a press conference Tuesday.

Alexander is charged in the shooting death of Severin Gaspard, 18, 418 Reg’s Trailer Park, Reserve, whose body was found early Saturday in a bullet-ridden pickup truck in the midst of the Reserve Housing Project.

Alexander, 21, was charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bond. Jones said Alexander surrendered to authorities Monday at 5p.m. Alexander is a St. Augustine High School graduate and a Gramblingbaseball player who recently completed his sophomore year. According tosports information director Scott Boatright, Alexander played 43 of 47 games last season, batted .379, led the team in stolen bases with 32 of 39attempts and was third on the team with runs batted in with 38 total.

It was the third homicide in St. John Parish in 1998. Each have resulted inarrests.

According to police accounts, Gaspard was apparently driving out of the area on East 13th Street at 1:34 a.m., headed for River Road, when severalbullets struck his 1997 Nissan pickup truck.

“It seems to be a drug-related shooting,” Jones said, adding Gaspard apparently had words with Alexander and attempted to leave when he and his vehicle were struck by the gunfire. At least one bullet struck Gaspardin the back of the head.

Almost immediately, the sheriff’s office was swamped with neighbors’ calls regarding numerous gunshots in the area.

Gaspard’s truck smashed two parked vehicles as it went off the road. Abystander, Darryl Augillard, 39, was struck by one of the parked vehicles and required 20 stitches in his chest at River Parishes Hospital, LaPlace.

Gaspard’s vehicle then barrelled through the East 13th Street bedroom wall of the residence of Angelina Cosey and created a massive hole, which was barricaded later with plywood.

As luck would have it, Cosey was not at home at the time of the incident and there were no injuries inside the residence.

Lt. Michael Tregre of the St. John Sheriff’s Office said 11 shell casingsfrom a semi-automatic pistol were found by investigators in the 300 block of East 13th Street.

Gaspard was found dressed in black pants and a white polo shirt, slumped over on the seat of the pickup truck, with a massive amount of blood soaking into the cloth-covered seat.

He was pronounced dead at 2:53 a.m. by a representative from the parishcoroner’s office.

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