Three men charged with murder still awaiting trial dates in St. John

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 7, 2005


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – Three St. John the Baptist Parish men, who each confessed to committing a separate murder within the parish, have not yet been scheduled for trial, according to the Clerk of Courts Office.

Awaiting trial dates are Giovanni “Gio” Highstreet and Anthony Trahan, both indicted for second-degree murder, and Brandon Collins, charged with manslaughter.

Highstreet and Trahan were both formally indicted by a parish grand jury.

Collins was scheduled to appear before a grand jury on Feb 9, but the hearing was canceled.

On Dec. 8, 2004, Highstreet pled not guilty to the Oct. 17 murder of Esmeralda “Chachi” Valdez in the couple’s upscale home nestled on Golfview Drive. State District Judge J. Sterling Snowdy accepted Highstreet’s plea.

The plea reversed an earlier confession Highstreet made to authorities after his arrest, whereby he told authorities he killed Valdez.

A grand jury indicted Highstreet for Valdez’s stabbing-death on Dec. 6.

Attorney Vincent Miceli is defending Highstreet and Assistant District Attorney George Ann Graugnard is prosecuting the case.

Judge Madeline Jasmine will preside over a motion hearing scheduled March 7, on behalf of Highstreet.

On Feb. 14, Trahan pled not guilty to the Jan. 10 murder of his former employer, James Wiley. Judge J. Sterling Snowdy accepted Trahan’s plea.

Trahan, like Highstreet, confessed to authorities after his arrest.

He told investigators he planned to kill Wiley before he left for work that morning and that the two men shared a history of feuding.

A grand jury indicted Trahan for Wiley’s stabbing death on Feb. 9. He remains in the Sherman Walker Correctional Center, in lieu of a half-million dollar bond.

On Dec. 28, 2004, Collins was charged with the shooting death of Robert Jones.

Collins called authorities and told them he shot Jones during a shoot-out between the two men at a Reserve convenience store.

According to an autopsy, Jones died from four gunshot wounds.