St. John Parish ‘menace’ sentenced to 50 years as habitual offender

Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

EDGARD — Convicted of drug dealing, simple rape and manslaughter, an Edgard man lashed out in a profane outburst when faced with spending the next 50 years in jail, authorities said.

According to District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office, 53-year-old Howard Burl Jr. made three profanity-riddled outbursts, leading Judge E. Jeffrey Perilloux to add 90 days via contempt of court punishments on top of his multi-decade rulings handed out earlier May 2.

Burl, convicted in December, was sentenced last week for crack possession, intent to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon and other crimes. According to the DA’s office, the Court explained Burl was a menace to the community and his repeated criminal actions endangered St. John the Baptist Parish residents.

Prosecutors filed a Habitual Offender Bill, enhancing Burl’s possible sentence as a repeat offender. Burl had previous convictions for manslaughter, simple rape and battery of a correctional officer.

In 2015, pursuant to a traffic stop St. John detectives arrested Howard Burl Jr. who they said was in possession of crack cocaine, cocaine, marijuana and numerous guns.

Perilloux sentenced Burl to ten years for attempted obstruction of justice, five years for crack possession, 25 years for intent to distribute cocaine and 10 years for possession of a firearm with a controlled substance, each to be served concurrently.

Additionally, the Court sentenced Burl to 25 years for felon in possession of a firearm, which the Court ordered Burl to serve consecutively to the other charges.

Since Burl was determined a habitual offender, all of Burl’s sentences must be served without benefit of suspension of sentence.

Assistant DAs J. Philip Prescott Jr. and Briana Robertson prosecuted the case.

Burl previously waived his right to a jury trial, electing to have Perilloux hear his most recent case in December. After a two-day bench trial, Burl was convicted, setting up this month’s sentencing.

According to Dinvaut’s office, prosecutors elicited testimony from a number of St. John Sheriff’s Office narcotics officers who testified an anonymous tip led to an investigation and Burl’s arrest.

After observing Burl commit a traffic violation, officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Burl, but he fled. Testimony showed as officers pursued, Burl attempted to discard powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. The officers were finally able to apprehend Burl, recovering drugs and a loaded firearm.

During the trial, prosecutors said Burl testified in his defense wherein he admitted to his prior felony convictions but denied knowing that the firearm was in his vehicle and denied discarding the drugs.