Jourdan to be released on bond after clean mental evaluationDec 25th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
Emotions ran high in Judge Kevin Conner’s courtroom on Thursday, December 20, as Leonard Jourdan III’s family members— hugging each other and wiping tears from their eyes—anxiously awaited to hear the results of a psychiatric evaluation that would determine whether or not Jourdan would be released on bond. He wouldn’t. Not that day or until after school was let out on Friday; nor would he ever return to Belle Chasse High School.
Jourdan, a senior, was arrested Monday, December 17 on terrorizing charges after BCHS administrators reported him for threatening to shoot up the school and slit his teacher’s wrists on Friday, December 21, the end of the Mayan Calendar, highly publicized as the end of the world.
In an interview with PPSO preceding his arrest, Jourdan admitted to making the comments, but said he did so in a joking manner. Per Judge Conner’s ruling at Jourdan’s magistrate hearing, Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Richard Richoux and Forensic Psychologist Dr. Rafael Salcedo extensively interviewed Jourdan, his family members, his teachers and school administrators, and a few of his classmates. Richoux testified that based on those interviews, and Jourdan having no history of violence, there was “no basis to believe he is a threat to himself or others.”
Despite that finding, Judge Conner ruled no bond for Jourdan until the following day, which kept him behind bars until school was released on Friday, December 21.
Doctors and Jourdan’s attorney chalked this up to a youth not realizing the consequences and reaction of a such a statement, not to any kind of mental illness. Comparing it to yelling fire in a crowded theater, Conner reprimanded the 18-yearold.
“You frightened a lot of people,” Conner said. “Because of the seriousness, because of the timing, the court is not going to issue a bond today.” Conner said that a bond would possibly be issued the following day, but that Jourdan would have to adhere to several restrictions, including undergoing regular mental health evaluations. The official list of restrictions was not released as of our press time.
“If there’s any good that came out of this, it’s the lesson that there are consequences to what you do, and to what you say,” said Conner. “We’re all accountable for our words.”
During his testimony Richoux stated that Jourdan was perceived by school personnel as intelligent, and teachers described him as “even-tempered and kind.” Richoux said that “the worst thing” said about him came from the teacher whose class was the scene of the comment: “when he verbalizes certain things, doesn’t know when to stop… he goes off on a tangent.”
Richoux said the only peculiarity observed in Jourdan was a “flat affect,” which he described as not showing a great deal of outward emotional expression, but also stated that it could be an indicator of “a person under tremendous amount of stress.”
Jourdan’s grandfather, Leonard Jourdan Sr. testified and stated that there were no guns of any kind in his home, and that Jourdan III, known amongst friends and family as L.J., had never fired a gun before. He further added that L.J. volunteers at City Park in New Orleans as a children’s entertainer, train operator and tour guide. Jourdan Sr. also testified that L.J. has never been in any fights or has had any disciplinary problems in school.
Once Jourdan’s bond is set and paid, and he is released on Judge Conner’s strict conditions, District Attorney Charles Ballay said he will then review the case and determine whether or not to pursue the charges.
“We’ll likely wait for the holidays to pass, give this time to settle down and come back and take a look,” explained Ballay.
In the meantime, Superintendent of School Denis Rousselle says the Jourdan will not be returning to BCHS. Rousselle stated that Plaquemines Parish Schools take any violence or threats of violence very seriously.
“After what happened in Connecticut, I met with the Sheriff and had deputies in schools before the Belle Chasse incident even occurred just to make the students, teachers and parents comfortable,” Rousselle explained. “We have a zero-tolerance for
behavior like this, we set that standard.”