Thursday, September 20, 2018

Judge rules HPD obtained consent in search for weapon

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 | Views: 2257

Judge rules HPD obtained consent in search for weapon
AMITE—An attempt by defense counsel to discredit investigators’ search for a possible murder weapon did not sway a 21st Judicial District Court judge who scheduled an additional pre-trial conference in the 2017 case murder against a Hammond resident.

Wednesday’s brief hearing was part of pre-trial motions in the state’s case against Demetrius Anderson. The 43-year-old Hammond man is charged with second degree murder in the the shooting death of Jose Manuel Varela, of Tickfaw.

Judge Jeff Johnson ruled that Hammond Police officers had obtained consent before searching a residence on Blackburn Extension in connection with the Oct. 22 murder. HPD Det. Chase Zaffuto testified that he had obtained written consent from the defendant’s wife, who he claimed told investigators where to find the gun that was allegedly used to shoot Varela.

That weapon was found “in plain sight” on the kitchen counter, where the woman told them it would be, Zaffuto told the court Wednesday.

Zaffuto testified that investigators were only in the home for a few minutes and that the weapon was the only thing seized from the home. Defense attorney J. Garrison Jordan asked if officers had demanded the defendant’s clothing at the time of the search. He also asked if the victim was armed at the time of the shooting, a question that the district attorney’s office objected to during Wednesday’s hearing.

Johnson found that consent was obtained and set an additional pre-trial conference in this matter for Nov. 28.