Collins, Jones indictments refused by St. John grand jury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Staff Reporter

EDGARD- Two suspects with a bizarre connection were let off by two separate St. John the Baptist Parish grand juries last week.

On Wednesday, a grand jury refused to indict Brandon Collins, 22, on a charge of manslaughter for the death of Robert Jones, 21, of Reserve.

Collins testified in front of a grand jury that he shot and killed Jones in self- defense on Dec. 29 in the parking lot of a convenience store in Reserve after Jones walked up to Collins’ car and began firing.

The attack is believed to have stemmed from an earlier argument Jones had with Brandon’s brother, Tran Collins, at Club Dream nightclub in Reserve. Brandon Collins was not present at the club.

Also on Wednesday, the grand jury refused to indict Joshua Jones, 18, for the murder of Byron Davis, 22, who was killed by a gunshot wound to the head while in his car on Jan. 23.

Robert Jones was Joshua Jones brother.

According to Maj. Mike Tregre of the St. John Sheriff’s Office, both men received a “no true bill” decision from the jury, which means there was not enough evidence to indict.

At the time of Davis’s murder, Sheriff Wayne L. Jones said it was possible Jones targeted Davis because he mistook him for Collins, according to an initial report on the incident by L’Observateur.

“Davis was driving a car similar to that of Collins,” said Jones.

Joshua Jones was charged along with four other men who were the car with him when Davis was killed. The men were leaving Club Fusion, a LaPlace nightclub.

According to the criminal court’s office, Javon Martin, 23, was indicted on a count of principal to first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder. Martin’s brother, Joelle Martin, 18, was indicted on five counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Police believe Torrey Parquet, 23, was the trigger-man. He is indicted on one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Charles Lorio of the district attorney’s office could only say that the evidence presented against Jones and the fifth man, Josh Lee Wilson, 17, was insufficient, though he did not elaborate on what any of the evidence was.

Lorio would not comment on Sheriff Jones earlier claims of Joshua Jones mistaking Davis for Collins, nor would he comment on who is believed to be the driver of the car in which Jones was a passenger.

Maj. Tregre said that, though it is possible that Davis’ death is connected with a mistaken identity on Jones part, they believe Jones did not do the actual shooting, and the sheriff’s office respects the decision of the grand jury and is ready to precede to the next step.

“It’s not a change in our investigation,” Tregre said, “and there’s nothing we could do about it.”

Lorio seems to have similar feelings about the Collins/ Jones incident, saying they present the evidence and then abide by the decision of the jury.

“It’s a practical matter,” Lorio said, “If 12 people from the community don’t indict, then 12 people would not convict.”