Garyville man guilty of manslaughter

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2001


EDGARD – An 80-year-old Garyville man was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury Wednesday, after he confessed to shooting and killing a woman who he claimed he had been paying for sex. Joe Joseph, 78 at the time of the shooting, shot and killed Andrea Washington, 34, Sept. 18, 1999 in front of a trailer on South Fig St. in Garyville where Joseph said they had been having sex. According to Joseph’s confession, he gave the victim money to purchase crack cocaine in exchange for sexual favors. Joseph said he and Washington had fought over money that night. Washington pulled a gun out of her bra, a struggle ensued and Joseph took the gun from her. He shot her once, and the bullet pierced her aorta. According to William O’Regan, the prosecuting attorney for the case, Washington ran out into the street, where she collapsed and died. St. John Parish Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene immediately. “It was pretty quick for Andrea,” said O’Regan. “It was 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. It drew a large crowd.” Joseph, who was charged with second-degree murder, was found guilty on the lesser charge, and O’Regan said the jury relied heavily on his three confessions. “The state’s case was based by and large on the confessions, including one that was video-taped and shown to the jury,” said O’Regan. According to O’Regan, there was also a lot of convincing corroborating evidence. Joseph fled the scene after the shooting, then hid his truck in some very tall weeds near an old house. He then hid in some cane fields for 52 hours. He turned himself in on Dec. 20, 1999. When Joseph turned himself in, he brought a toothbrush and a bar of soap with him. He told deputies that he knew he would be staying a while. He later showed authorities where he had hidden the truck, which they had already located. He also showed them the location where he had hidden after the shooting. Food containers were found at the location. Joseph’s trial began Tuesday and ended the following day. The judge was Mary Becnel, and the defense attorney was Gerald Aurillo. The jury found Joseph guilty around 6 p.m. Wednesday night. Joseph has not yet been sentenced, but he could face up to 40 years in prison when sentencing does occur. According to O’Regan a pre-sentencing investigation is being conducted by the Department of Corrections to measure factors that bear on sentencing.