Wyatt guilty in 2nd degree murderSep 28th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
District Attorney Charles Ballay reports that a unanimous guilty verdict was reached last week by a jury in Plaquemines Parish in the 2nd Degree Murder trial of Joshua Wyatt. The trial started Wednesday of last week. The jury also found Wyatt guilty of 1st Degree Robbery and Aggravated Arson. Sentencing will be set at a later date by Ad Hoc Judge Robert Klees, who presided over the trial.
In November 2006, the victim, Michael Smoots II, age 40, and the defendant, age 27, both worked together at European Restoration on Engineers Road in Belle Chasse and lived on the work premises. During a weekend of drinking and partying, the defendant shot Smoots in the back of the head, then the defendant placed his body in a truck and took it to Thayer and Patterson Streets in Algiers where he dumped it. Prior to leaving the defendant dowsed the building with paint thinner and lit it on fire to destroy the crime scene.
The penalty for 2nd Degree Murder is mandatory life in prison without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. The possible sentence for Aggravated Arson is 6 to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000. The defendant was charged with Armed Robbery but the jury returned a responsive verdict of 1st Degree Robbery; that has a sentencing range of 3 to 40 years, without the benefit of parole, probation or suspending of sentence.
The case was tried by Assistant District Attorney’s Joseph Roberts and Michael Clement.