Statements admitted as evidence in Rogers’ case

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 17, 2003


HAHNVILLE – Statements taken by detectives investigating the homicide of James Rogers will be admitted as evidence, at least in two of the three defendants’ court proceedings.

During a recent hearing before 29th Judicial District Judge Robert Chaisson, he ruled to admit the statements given by Timothy Prudhomme and Brandon Stein. A ruling on Calvin Couvillion’s statements will be made at the next pre-trial hearing.

The three men are charged in the Feb. 12 second-degree murder of Rogers, 17, of LaPlace. Trial is set March 10, though Prudhomme has filed for separating his case from the others, according to court records.

Attorneys for Prudhomme and Stein argued their clients were coerced into making the statements. Couvillion and Stein, according to police, admitted attacking Rogers during a party in Paradis on Mardi Gras last year, then joined with Prudhomme in dumping Rogers’ body off Interstate 310 near Airline Drive in St. Rose.

During the hearing, Detective-Sgt. Rodney Madere testified Stein volunteered his statement, volunteered he was still wearing the belt with which he killed Rogers, and added, “He said he had a lot on his mind. He wanted to give his side of the story.” On the other hand, Stein testified he felt pressure from the detective who, he claimed, sat in the room with him and whispered the word, “Life.”

Madere denied that assertion. Prudhomme testified he and his father were at home in LaPlace on Feb. 15 when two St. John Parish sheriff’s detectives arrived. After a few minutes, one took Prudhomme’s father, Kevin, into the kitchen to talk. Then, Timothy allegedly broke down and declared Stein had killed Rogers.

Prudhomme said while he was present at Rogers’ murder, he did not participate in the beating. Both Prudhommes, father and son, also testified they spoke in the belief Timothy was not a suspect in the murder.

Appearing for Couvillion is attorney Randy Lewis; for Prudhomme is attorney Wendy J. Williams; and for Stein is attorney Mark Marino. The prosecutor is Assistant District Attorney Howat Peters.

Attorneys have remained silent on the case, respecting a gag order placed by Chaisson.