ABBEVILLE — The death of a 3-month-old Abbeville girl has been ruled a homicide.
Lt. David Hardy, chief of investigations for the Abbeville Police Department, said the baby, who has not been identified, died from blunt force trauma to the head, and sustained head injuries and fractures.
Hardy says officers were alerted on Monday that the baby had died on Friday, two days after she was taken to the emergency room at Abbeville General Hospital. Investigators said the child was transported to Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Lafayette and then to a hospital in Baton Rouge, where she died.
No charges have been filed in the infant’s death, but Hardy said the investigation is continuing.
2 calves found shot in Dulac
DULAC — Authorities are investigating deaths of two calves found floating a bayou in Dulac.
Terrebonne Parish sheriff’s deputy responded to a complaint of cruelty to animals Sunday and found a padlock to the front gate of a pasture had been shot off. Authorities say deputies then entered the gate to find two calves had been shot and killed.
The Courier reports deputies believe the calves were killed between Saturday and Sunday.
Decision on school mandates delayed
BATON ROUGE — The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has delayed a decision on shrinking the number of mandates required of local school districts.
Superintendent of Education John White proposed getting rid of the statewide school calendar, changing physical education standards to allow credit for extracurricular activities like cheerleading and removing requirements for how many librarians and counselors schools should have.
Those were among recommended changes to 150 different sections of policies governing school systems.
White says the goal is to eliminate red tape and remove outdated regulations.
BESE members in committee raised concerns Tuesday about individual items. Board member Holly Boffy of Lafayette said more time was needed to comb through the list and get further details. At Boffy’s urging, the panel voted 6-3 to postpone a decision until January.
Former Delcambre officer found guilty of kidnapping
ABBEVILLE — Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell says a Vermilion Parish jury has found a former Delcambre police officer guilty of sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping.
Caldwell said in a news release Tuesday that Friday’s conviction of 53-year-old Ernest Billiot stemmed from a 2008 incident in which Billiot abused his authority to detain and commit sexual acts upon an Erath woman.
Billiot faces a maximum sentence of 40 years for the second-degree kidnapping charge and a maximum 10 years in prison on the battery charge.
LHC Group says SEC probe ended
LAFAYETTE — LHC Group Inc. said Tuesday that a federal investigation into its Medicare payments is complete and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not plan to take any action against the health care company.
The company, based in Lafayette, provides health, hospice and other post-acute care to patients in their homes.
The SEC began looking into the company’s Medicare reimbursement practices in 2010.
Guice to head Louisiana Tech
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Tech University has a new president who will take the leadership position in mid-2013, chosen Tuesday by the governing board of the University of Louisiana System.
Leslie Guice, executive vice president of the university, will move up to the top job in July when long-time president Dan Reneau retires.
Guice has been at Louisiana Tech for 34 years, starting as an assistant professor of civil engineering. In addition to being executive vice president, he works as vice president for research and development at the Ruston school. He’s also an alumnus of the university.
“We’re 100 percent sure we selected the right person based on input from all the university stakeholders. The Tech community told us from day one of this search that they wanted Dr. Guice, and this process confirmed that he is the best leader for Louisiana Tech,” Wayne Parker, chairman of the UL System Board of Supervisors, said in a statement.
Guice was the sole finalist recommended by a presidential search committee. The panel based its decision on interviews with Guice and a second semi-finalist, as well as feedback from faculty, staff, students and community leaders who met with both candidates on Tech’s campus.
Reneau announced in September that he would retire as the university’s 13th president at the end of June after 26 years in the position.
Judge rejects bid for new trial
in Katrina case
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has rejected defense attorneys’ claims that a video shot at the scene of deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina reveals new evidence warranting a new trial for five former police officers.
In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said the footage shot of the Danziger Bridge by a CBS affiliate in Miami is “far from determinative” that a government witness lied during the officers’ trial.
Defense attorneys argued the video refutes testimony that Sgt. Kenneth Bowen kicked shell casings off the walkway before crime scene technicians could process the scene.
Engelhardt hasn’t ruled on a separate request for a new trial based on claims that prosecutors engaged in a “secret public relations campaign” that inflamed public opinion against the officers.
Ethics Board cites mayor loan conflict
BATON ROUGE — The Louisiana Board of Ethics has levied conflict of interest charges against Independence Mayor Michael Ragusa.
The Advocate reports the allegations stem from Ragusa’s involvement in a loan application to the Town of Independence Historic District Fund that financially benefitted his sons and his daughter-in-law.
Under state law, no public servant shall participate in a transaction “involving the governmental entity in which, to his actual knowledge” any member of his immediate family has a substantial economic interest.
The Ethics Board published the charge on its website and asked the Ethics Adjudicatory Board to set a hearing.
City-parish halts Broussard animal control service
LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette City-Parish Council has voted down a proposal to provide animal-control services in Broussard.
The Advocate reports Broussard had a contractual agreement to pay city-parish government about $52,000 a year for animal-control services, but Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel opted not to renew the contract earlier this year.
Durel argued Lafayette should cut the service since Broussard declined to drop a lawsuit challenging Lafayette’s annexation of more than 200 acres, some of which was being eyed by Broussard.
The council’s vote Tuesday was on a proposal by City-Parish Councilman William Theriot to override Durel’s executive decision. The proposal failed 6-3.
Durel said after the meeting he would approve the contract for animal-control services if Broussard dropped the annexation challenge.
From The Associated Press.