LaPlace Birdie’s armed robber gets 20 years

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

LAPLACE — A New Orleans man responsible for the armed robbery of a LaPlace convenience store in late 2014 is facing two decades in prison following his sentencing in a St. John the Baptist Parish courtroom, authorities said.

Kenneth Hayes III, 20, pleaded guilty last month to armed robbery with a firearm and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to 20 years with the Louisiana Department of Corrections without the benefit of parole.

St. John District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut said the violent nature of Hayes’ crime means the defendant will serve a larger percentage of his time, adding that time is calculated by the Department of Corrections.

Kenneth Hayes III

“We don’t have any authority or jurisdiction over the way DOC calculates the time,” Dinvaut said.

According to Dinvaut, prosecutors consulted with the robbery victims, who felt comfortable with the amount of time agreed to in the plea bargain.

“We took a very serious approach in the prosecution of this case, because it was a crime of violence,” Dinvaut said. “It was given a priority and taken more seriously.

“We were frustrated by the fact that defense counsel continuously failed to appear for scheduled court dates. We refused to budge on our position, given the evidence of the case.”

Hayes was arrested in September 2014 after an early morning LaPlace robbery that escalated into an all-out pursuit into Jefferson Parish.

LaPlace victims told investigators two males entered Birdie’s, located at 483 Belle Terre Blvd., at 4:08 a.m. One armed subject went behind the counter, pointed a gun at the cashier and demanded all the money from the registers and the cashier’s personal money.

The cashier complied, authorities said, and the other armed robber ordered a second employee to the floor. Both perpetrators fled the store with an undisclosed amount of money. Investigators identified one perpetrator as Hayes, who authorities said left the store, driving a black Jeep north on Belle Terre Boulevard toward Interstate 10. The second gunman was with him.

A computer check of the Jeep’s license plate revealed the vehicle stolen from Orleans Parish.

During the pursuit at the Causeway/I-10 interchange, the Jeep exited at Causeway and got caught in the grass area off the roadway, at which point the second gunman fled over the fence that runs along I-10 across the frontage road, eluding police.

The driver of the Jeep, identified as Hayes, was arrested at the crash scene.