By Natasha Robin | WVUE | April 5, 2021
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The family of slain NOPD Officer Christopher Russell is very upset. The victim’s mother told FOX 8, she received a call from Angola, not the DA’s office to notify her that a man previously convicted of an armed robbery that ended with his accomplice killing the officer was going to be released from prison.
“What has infuriated the victims is that the victims of this case were not consulted. The mother of the slain officer, the widow of the slain officer were not consulted,” says Rafael Goyeneche.
Michael Davis was one of four men who robbed the Club Tango at gunpoint back in 2002. Leaving the bar, Davis’ accomplice, Dwight Patterson, shot and killed Officer Russell. Patterson is currently serving a life sentence.
The District Attorney, at that time, charged Davis and the two others involved, with armed robbery.
“Two of the other defendants were allowed to plead to armed robbery. One of them got 15 years and the other got 18 years. The reason that this defendant wasn’t offered a deal like that is because he was a quad offender. This was his fourth felony offense,” says Goyeneche.
Davis elected to go to trial, and he was convicted by a split jury and sentenced to life in prison.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on unanimous jury requirements entitled Davis to a new trial, but that didn’t happen.
District Attorney Jason Williams said in a statement, “Our office is required to review the case and determine the most appropriate way to re-visit the case. We vacated the charge against Davis and he pleaded guilty to the exact same charge that he was given. Davis was re-sentenced to a sentence comparable to that of the other two people who were convicted of the same crime.”
The Judge sentenced Davis to 18 years and ordered his release.
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says the D.A., though, could have prevented the 18 year sentence by invoking the habitual offender statute.
With that in place, Goyeneche says he would have received a much higher sentence.
“It’s contrary to what the recently elected DA said he was going to do. He was going to impose serious consequences on violent and repeat offenders and this guy checks the box on both of those,” says Goyeneche.
The District Attorney says he did not initiate the habitual offender proceedings against Davis.
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