Caddo DA files almost 3,000 documents in cold case murder

By Nancy Cook |, Lynn Vance |

Published 08/05 2014 08:54PM

Updated 08/06 2014 08:17PM

Late Monday the Caddo Parish District Attorney's office filed more than 2800 documents with the Caddo Parish clerk of Court from the extensive investigation of the New Years Day 1979 murder of Deanna Montgomery that led to the arrest of her husband, James Haywood Montgomery and habitual offender, Larry Thompson Sr.

Deanna Montgomery was fatally shot in the head while riding in the front seat of a vehicle driven by her husband, James Haywood Montgomery III, around 7 that evening as they were northbound on Line Avenue between Ockley and Dudley Streets in Shreveport.

Thompson and Montgomery – who were good friends - were suspects in Deanna Montgomery’s murder from the beginning, but an extensive investigation by a number of Shreveport police investigators did not come up with anything definitive enough to make arrests in the case.

The two-year investigation led Caddo Parish investigators across the country to interview various witnesses and relatives of the victim and the suspect, as well as trips to Angola to interview Larry Thompson Sr. who is currently serving an 80 year sentence for burglary and attempted first degree murder for a 2003 ATM heist.

In the course of the investigation, detectives learned that not only was Thompson the hit man who shot Deanna Montgomery, but he was also responsible for at least four other deaths, including the highly publicized New Jersey murder of Maria Marshall. 

Thompson was tried and acquitted of Marshall’s homicide although her husband was found guilty and is still in prison in New Jersey.  Thompson was acquitted because one of his sons testified that his father was in Shreveport and that he took him to the dentist that day. 

That son now has recanted his testimony, but the statute of limitations has run out so he cannot be charged with perjury. Though Thompson has now confessed to the Marshall killing, he can’t be retried because of double jeopardy laws. During the course of the investigation, Thompson was interviewed several times, and in addition to confessing to the New Jersey murder, as well as the murders of Chester Underwood of Harrison County, Texas, and Larry Lester of Desoto Parish.  

Thompson agreed to confess and implicate Montgomery in Deanna’s murder if he could assure he would not be prosecuted for the murder Lester and Underwood. Caddo Parish investigators were able to get those assurances in writing from district attorneys in DeSoto Parish and Harrison County, Texas.

The investigation into Deanna Montgomery was re-opened in May 2012, after a newspaper spoke to an investigator with the Caddo Parish district attorney’s office. The DA’s office spoke with the Shreveport Police Department and requested information on Deanna Montgomery’s murder. It was difficult to find, however, as the case was 33 years old.

Eventually, enough information was pulled together to re-open the case, and then it was full-speed ahead. Law enforcement and district attorneys offices from Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey all worked together to solve Deanna Montgomery’s murder, as well as others that had similar features.

Less than a year later, when Deanna Montgomery’s mother died, Deanna’s daughter came to Shreveport for her grandmother’s funeral. At that time, she spoke with police about her mother’s case, and also alleged that Montgomery sexually abused her from the time she was 9 years old until she was 12 and went to live with her father after her mother’s death.

An investigation into those allegations was what prompted a Caddo grand jury to indict Montgomery on charges of aggravated rape on May 15, 2003. Montgomery was arrested at his Bossier townhouse by Bossier Police, and extradited to Caddo Parish.

Montgomery was held on a $500,000 bond until a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his bond was excessive and lowered it to $100,000. He was able to bond out, but his freedom was short-lived. Less than a week later, a Caddo grand jury indicted him on a 2nd degree murder charge, and he was re-arrested.

This time, Montgomery’s bond is $1,250,000.  He will be in Caddo District Court August 27th.


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