SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Sparring continued Monday between prosecutors and defense attorneys as the trial of the two men accused in the shooting death of Shreveport Police Officer Chatéri Payne entered into its third week.
Co-defendants, 29-year-old Tra’vion Anderson and 41-year-old Glenn Frierson, are charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder in the Jan. 9, 2019, death of the 22-year-old rookie officer.
A third defendant, 24-year-old Lawrence Pierre, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before the trial got underway on April 4 and was sentenced to life in prison. He was called to testify Thursday, but refused to answer questions, asserting his 5th Amendment rights. District Judge John Mosely told Pierre repeatedly that he did not have 5th Amendment rights, having pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Still, Pierre and his attorney, Edward Mouton, defiantly disobeyed the judge’s orders. It is unclear whether they will be penalized or sanctioned for their behavior.
Monday afternoon, the state called SPD violent crimes detective Sgt. Lane Smith to testify about the initial interview he and Sgt. Shawn Henderburger conducted with Frierson.
Frierson has maintained his innocence throughout the past three years, saying he asked Pierre to give him a ride to Walmart, and then Pierre asked Frierson to drive his car and drop him off because he wanted to go visit a girl who had a boyfriend and Frierson didn’t want him to see his car.
After much bantering back and forth between the state and defense attorneys, the jury was brought in and allowed to watch the video of the interview.
In the video, the detectives claimed that Pierre had dropped the dime on Frierson. Smith told Frierson that Pierre had already “spilled the water,” as he urged Frierson to talk.
Frierson said the only thing he knew about Payne’s murder was what he saw on Facebook, adding that he didn’t know Tra’vion Anderson, and that, “I was not there.”
But the officers persisted, telling Frierson that he could be charged with first-degree murder, that he needed to tell the truth, and that his phone had a GPS that put him at the scene of the crime.
In her cross-examination, Frierson’s attorney Mary Harried, pointed out the statement that Pierre “spilled all the water,” when actually the police had information “that Mr. Frierson had nothing to do with it.”
She added that in the course of the investigation, police learned that Frierson didn’t even know Tre’vion Anderson, yet told Frierson he could be charged with first-degree murder.
Harried also pointed out that when the officers told Frierson they were dumping information from his cellphone during the interview, they knew no such thing was happening.
But Smith said police can use deception when trying to get information from witnesses or suspects, adding, “I do.”
Stamps concurred, saying deceit is “an interrogation technique that is accepted by the Court.”
The state’s case continued Monday with the testimony of SPD Sgt. John Elie, a training officer at the Shreveport Police Academy who knew Payne, as she was in his first graduating class.
Prior to joining the Police Academy, Elie was a homicide detective and was called by SPD Sgt. Lane Smith to join the multiple-agency task force investigating Payne’s death.
Elie did the first interview with Pierre on Jan. 15, 2019, after it was learned he was connected to the crime. Elie was one of the two officers who went to the Pines Road apartment of Pierre’s cousin, Dunnivick Hicks, to retrieve the murder weapon after Pierre disclosed where the Glock 23 was hidden.
In his cross-examination, Anderson’s lawyer, John Bokenfohr, pointed out that the video recording of that first interview with Pierre had malfunctioned so there is no actual digital record of that interview. Elie confirmed this, adding that there were issues with that equipment and as a result, the Shreveport Police Department got new equipment.
Bokenfohr, who said he read Elie’s report, asked the officer if he asked Hicks when he retrieved the gun if he ever touched it. Elie said he did not.
So, Bokenfohr asked Elie if he asked Hicks if he knew anything about the gun, and Elie said he didn’t recall.
Then, Bokenfohr asked if Elie if he thought about seizing Hicks’ cellphone, to which Elie answered that he “didn’t think it was pertinent.” Bokenfohr concluded his cross-examination by asking Elie, “Are you aware it’s against the law to hide a weapon?”
Elie replied, “Yes.”
In a redirect, Prosecutor Ron Stamps asked Elie why he didn’t talk to Hicks, and Elie replied, that he didn’t feel there was a need to interview Hicks as Pierre led them to the scene.