2nd suspect arrested in LaPlace homicide

Published 1:49 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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LAPLACE — A second suspect has been arrested in connection to the shooting death of Ja’Riel Sam, 25, of LaPlace.

Kevin Hollinger, 36, of LaPlace, was arrested Monday and charged with principal to first degree murder. As of Tuesday afternoon, he is being held in custody in lieu of a $100,000 bond. 

Corrie Wallace, 37, of LaPlace turned himself into authorities around 10 a.m. Monday morning. Wallace was charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond. Additional charges may arise pending investigation. 

At about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 400 block of Belle Terre Boulevard in LaPlace for the report of a hit-and-run after a vehicle crashed into the guardrail near the Ford dealership. Officers found a full container of gas on the front passenger seat of the crashed vehicle. No one was inside the car, and officers began a canvass of the area.

Less than 1/10 of a mile down Belle Terre Boulevard, going toward Airline Highway, officers discovered a deceased female identified as Ja’Riel Sam. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head.  

After identifying the victim, officers made entry to her apartment just off of Linda Lane in LaPlace. Once inside, police discovered Sam’s 4-year-old son sitting on the bed, unharmed but traumatized. Officers turned to crime camera video, as well as neighborhood video from nearby businesses. From the video, Wallace was developed as a suspect.

Footage revealed that a subject entered Sam’s apartment. At some point in time, the subject, identified as Wallace, pulled her out of the apartment and stuffed her into the trunk of her vehicle. 

After placing Sam in the trunk, the perpetrator drove from Linda Lane to Belle Terre Boulevard. Police believe Sam found a way to escape the trunk and exit the moving vehicle. Wallace also allegedly jumped out of the moving vehicle, causing it to crash into the guardrail.  

“Corrie Wallace jumped out of that moving car and attempted to catch her, which he did. We believe he shot and killed her right there on Belle Terre Boulevard,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said. 

According to Tregre, Hollinger was seen on video following the victim’s car while Wallace was driving.

Divers with the St. John Sheriff’s Office search for the murder weapon.

Divers with the St. John Sheriff’s Office searched a canal where Belle Terre meets Fairway Drive and located what they believe to be the murder weapon. 

Police believe Wallace and the victim were acquaintances.

Sam’s 4-year-old son is with family members, and Tregre said he is proud of the little boy for assisting police in their investigation.  

“I want to commend my officers for working nonstop in the midst of this pandemic,” Tregre said. “It’s truly sad that someone would do something this vicious to this young lady.” 

Anyone with further information on this homicide is asked to call the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office TIPS line at 985-359-TIPS, SJSO dispatch at 985-652-6338 or the Criminal Investigations Division at 504-359-8769. Citizens can also submit tips on the Sheriff’s Office website at http://stjohnsheriff.irg/submitatip.php