Sixth charged in murder of LaPlace man

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004

Investigation chief expects more to be implicated


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Authorities recently arrested a sixth LaPlace man connected to the Nov. 6 murder of 22-year-old Jerry Butler. Butler was shot twice in the head after his severely-beaten body was dumped on the Mississippi River levee in Reserve.

Quentin Lewis, 22, of 1949 Jasper Lane, surrendered to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 19 at 2:34 p.m., after authorities spent two days searching for the man, said Maj. Robert Hay, chief of the Bureau of Investigations Division.

Lewis, who sports a tattoo on his right arm spelling “MOM” and a tattoo on his left arm spelling “DAD”, was charged with principal to first-degree murder, obstruction of justice-simple assault and contempt of court.

All five men previously arrested in connection to the crime implicated Lewis, according to Hay.

The five prior arrests include: Dauren Howard 18, of 612 Revere Drive, charged with first-degree murder; Denyen Gaines, 26, and Frank Williamson, 24, both of 337 Arlington Drive, charged with principal to first degree murder and obstruction of justice, along with Kevin Campbell, 21, of 1504 Glendale. Ryan Triche, 22, of 578 Greenwood Drive, was charged with obstruction of justice and being an accessory after the fact.

All six men, with the exception of Triche, had prior records.

Lewis’ criminal history includes a theft charge, a traffic violation, disturbing the peace and numerous attachments.

“Lewis participated in the Saturday night beating of Butler. He helped place Butler’s beaten body in the trunk, helped transport the body to the levee and helped remove the body from the trunk,” said Hay. “Lewis drove the car while the body was in the trunk.”

Hay said the motive for the murder stemmed from a Nov. 5 quarrel over a handgun.

Butler argued with Lewis, Howard, Gaines, Williamson, Triche and Campbell before fleeing the home of Williamson and Gaines on Arlington Drive.

All six men pursued Butler in a car driven by Triche.

On Nov. 6, Butler returned to the Arlington home for reasons unknown. The men chasing him, with the exception of Triche, beat him brutally.

Butler was placed in the trunk of a cobalt blue 1995 Chevrolet Luma and transported to the Mississippi River levee in Reserve where he was dumped on the ground and shot in the head twice.

Triche was not present when Butler was beaten and murdered. However, he helped remove evidence from the crime scene.

On Monday, authorities seized the Chevrolet Luma used to transport Butler’s body to the levee.

The vehicle, bearing a Mississippi license plate, was found in Canton, Miss. It belonged to the mother of Williamson.

According to Hay, Williamson’s mother drove the car to the Jefferson-Orleans area to attend a funeral service. Hay did not wish to be specific with the direct location.

Williamson’s sister then drove the car to her brother’s home on Arlington to visit him.

Officers have interrogated Williamson’s sister, but so far she has not been implicated in Butler’s murder.

“We will have at least three additional arrests,” said Hay. “We will arrest Joseph Campbell, the 19-year-old brother of Kevin Campbell. Joseph lived with Kevin at 1504 Glendale.”

Hay would not name the remaining two men he expects to be arrested.

The six men already arrested are being held at the Sherman Walker Correctional Center.

Authorities are presently awaiting a search warrant they need to search the 1995 Chevrolet Luma.

“The warrant will allow the Crime Scene Division to search the Chevrolet Luma for DNA trace evidence,” said Hay.

The first five arrestees appeared Friday before Judge Mary Becnel for appointment of attorneys. Bonds will be set at a later time.