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Man pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit 2nd degree murder after victim found dead in ditch

EDGARD — Kentrell Dyion Bailey’s mother provided a statement to the court, summing up in excruciating fashion, what’s its been like in the five years since her son was found dead in a LaPlace ditch with a gunshot wound to the head.

According to St. John Parish District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut’s office, the statement was provided in relation to the criminal case’s resolution, which ended May 6 with two guilty pleas.

“(My son’s) life was taken away from him senselessly. I miss him more than any words could describe. He is missed dearly by all of those who knew and loved him,” his mother said, adding “today represents a small step in the overall healing process,” and she is “happy that justice will be served on behalf of my son.”

That justice came via pleas of guilty to conspiracy to commit second degree murder and obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation, and they were submitted by 28-year-old Alonzo Wilkens of LaPlace.

Alonzo Wilkens

Prosecutors said Judge Madeline Jasmine imposed the maximum sentence of 30 years on Wilkens for conspiracy to commit second degree murder and 30 years for the obstruction of justice of a homicide investigation charge. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Bailey’s body was found July 28, 2014, along Main Street at the intersection of Farm Road in LaPlace.

The subsequent investigation recovered crime camera footage showing Bailey in an older model Oldsmobile.

Prosecutors said detectives determined Wilkens was with Bailey on the night of the murder but were unable to recover video of the final moments before or after Bailey was killed.

Detectives recovered the Oldsmobile and noted the smell of bleach permeating from the vehicle. DNA evidence recovered from various places on the backseat tested positive for Bailey’s blood.

The murder weapon was not found during the investigation, according to the D.A.’s office.

After being identified by police as a suspect, Wilkens’ manhunt and apprehension made headlines as it included numerous local and national law enforcement agencies and spanned several parishes.

Wilkens, 23 at the time, was arrested at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 7, 2014, at his sister’s home on North Derbigny Street in New Orleans.

U.S. Marshals and the New Orleans Police Department aided in the arrest.

St. John Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said a resident’s tip also helped, announcing the day after the arrest that several of Wilkens’ family members were booked on obstruction of justice charges.

Numerous attempts by Sheriff’s Office detectives to find Wilkens were unsuccessful after a judicial court ordered arrest warrant was issued for him on Aug. 1, 2014.

According to authorities, detectives attempted to locate Wilkens through talking to his mother, several aunts and cousins.

Detectives and members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force spoke to Wilkens’ cousin, who police said told authorities he did not know Wilkens’ whereabouts and had not seen or talked to him.

That cousin later told detectives he was with Wilkens two days earlier and was booked with obstruction of justice.

Detectives also arrested and booked Wilkens’ mother with obstruction of justice after police said the investigation revealed she was actively communicating with her son during the search.