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Graduation party shooting suspects released from jail

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 26, 1998

DESTREHAN – Five men charged in the June graduation party shooting death of Cleophus Greene III of St. Rose were released Monday by the St. CharlesParish Grand Jury for insufficient evidence.

A 15-year-old New Sarpy male, charged with attempted murder and illegal discharge of a firearm, is still in custody, as the grand jury took no action in his case.

Among those released on Monday was Travis Sumlin, 18, New Sarpy, who had been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Also released were Dedrick Brown, 20, Norco; Kentrell Jenkins, 19, New Sarpy; Randell Jenkins, 21, New Sarpy; and Michael Lane, 21, New Sarpy.

Each had been charged with attempted murder and illegal discharge of a firearm.

Police argued that the six men crashed a private graduation party May 24 on Meadows Drive, Destrehan.

Capt. Patrick Yoes related that a group of young men showed up at theparty, uninvited, and demanded entrance. Greene, 17, allegedly stepped into help prevent their entry and shots were fired.

Yoes said it was not confirmed whether Greene was also armed. Grand jurytestimony as to that claim was also contradictory.

Greene, who was facing trial on a charge of sexual battery of a 15-year- old Destrehan girl, allegedly stepped in front of a bullet aimed at an adult chaperone at the party. A second youth, Dwayne Washington, 16, ofDestrehan, sustained a wound and was hospitalized in Luling for a time under heavy security.

The weapon used in Greene’s shooting, believed to be a .32-caliberhandgun, was not recovered.

Greene’s mother, Barbara Greene of St. Rose, declined to comment on theoutcome of the grand jury’s analysis of the evidence.

Randell Jenkins had been a fellow defendant with Greene in the sex case.

He accepted a plea agreement on three counts of carnal knowledge and one count of being a principal to carnal knowledge and received a five-year suspended sentence, three years of active probation and time served.

Officials have said they believed the shooting incident was not related to the sex case but rather stemmed from a long-standing neighborhood gang feud.

Meanwhile, the case has been returned to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’sOffice and case officer Detective Joe Lawler. Anyone with information toassist in the investigation is urged to phone 783-6807 or 443-0334.

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