Prosecutor cites weaknesses in case
By Terry L. Jones
PLAQUEMINE — A Plaquemine man who was supposed to stand trial Tuesday for a 2012 murder has taken a plea deal in a case a District Attorney’s Office official says would have been difficult to prosecute, in part because the lead investigator in the case recently was arrested on drug-related counts.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Clayton said Cordias Walker, who was arrested in November 2012 for fatally shooting Wilbert Myles following a drug dispute, pleaded guilty late Monday evening to negligent homicide and will be sentenced to five years in prison.
Walker’s attorney has argued his client was acting in self-defense because Myles, 17, attacked Walker at Walker’s home.
“This is a prime example of a case where having to prove specific intent to kill was difficult when the victim went into the man’s house,” Clayton said Tuesday. “The credibility of all the friends there just made it a tough case to take to trial for second-degree murder.”
Clayton then added, “Not to mention, the lead detective is now sitting across from the defendant in the same jail cell.”
Clayton was referring to former Plaquemine police Officer Chad Fonseca, who turned himself in to authorities Dec. 29 after he was accused of selling prescription painkillers to undercover Iberville Parish sheriff’s deputies on three occasions in September.
Fonseca was booked into Iberville Parish jail on three counts of distribution of a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance. Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi said Fonseca is being housed in isolation away from other inmates; his bail is set at $60,000, according to previous reports.
Walker’s attorney, Shannon Battiste, said previously the drug allegations against Fonseca certainly raised some credibility issues in the case against his client but said talk about Fonseca’s legal trouble was a “smoke screen” for other weaknesses in the prosecution’s murder case.
“Sometimes cases like this are hard to put together,” Clayton said Tuesday. “For the sake of the family, we took the best deal we could get from the defendant.”
Clayton said Fonseca, who left the Plaquemine Police Department in 2013 to take a job as an inspector for the city’s planning department, has worked as a detective in other pending cases in the parish, including “one or two more murders” and a number of drug cases.
Clayton said he intends to review those cases as well as previous convictions — particularly those on drug charges — that Fonseca had handled.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.
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