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Trial set for May 6 for defendants in Oakman murder case

Author: Administrator Account/Tuesday, February 26, 2013/Categories: Archive

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AMITE -- Trial for three subjects charged with alleged second degree murder in the death of North Baptist Road resident Charles Ockman has been scheduled by Judge Bruce Bennett for May 6.

Judge Bruce Bennett set the trial date following a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 26, for Ronald Berry, 35, of Hammond; Hydi Gail Leard, 25, of Independence and Melissa Cummings, 43, of Ponchatoula.

Following a bench conference with attorneys for the defendants, Bennett said it appeared there was no possibility of a plea.

He said responsive, or lesser, verdicts to second degree murder that the jury could consider are manslaughter and negligent homicide.

Second degree murder carries a mandatory life prison term. The maximum term for manslaughter is 40 years, and for negligent homicide, five years.

The trio was scheduled for trial on Feb. 27, but the trial was postponed, allowing for Tuesday's hearing.

Assistant District attorney Jeff Johnson is  prosecuting the case.

Berry is represented by Jasper Brock, Cummings by Summer Duhe' and Leard by Jeff Oglesbee.

Ockman's body was found in the bathroom of his burned North Baptist Road residence on Oct. 24, 2011.

According to the sheriff's report, Berry took Leard to Ockman's residence for sexual purposes. Not long after Leard entered the house, Berry alleged entered and an argument ensued. Ockman was allegedly bound and taken to the bathroom. The house was set on fire.

A motorist saw the smoke from the burning house and called the fire department.

In February, 2012, a parish grand jury indicted the three for Ockman's murder.

-- Reported by Don Ellzey, AN17

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