Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Cullen man going to prison for 10 additional years

Judge John Robinson sentenced Jean Hawthorne, 57, of Cullen to 10 years at hard labor for aggravated battery, illegal use of a weapon and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was previously convicted of distribution of crack cocaine.

Cullen Police Department investigated the case.

"Even though the sentences are concurrent with one another," said Webster Parish Assistant District Attorney Sherb Sentell, "the felon in possession of a firearm sentence is without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence."

According to Sentell, Hawthorne had already rejected one plea offer on two felony charges before his trial began on Monday, May 14.

"We offered aggravated battery and convicted felon with a firearm," Sentell said. "After we presented our entire case, we refused to allow Hawthorne the same deal. We felt confident the jury would convict him."

During the guilty plea, Hawthorne reportedly admitted to being at a cookout in Cullen on May 20, 2011 and shooting the victim, Rodney Carter.

"He also admitted to being a convicted felon, having previously been convicted of distribution of crack cocaine, and to intentionally firing a handgun in such a manner that it was foreseeable that human life could be in danger," Sentell said.

Prior to the plea, Hawthorne's attorney, David Belfield of New Orleans, had argued the shooting was self-defense and happened inside Hawthorne's home.

"We presented evidence showing Hawthorne brought the gun to the cookout at his wife's house," Sentell said. "We called witnesses who said that after an altercation, the victim ran into the house, locked the doors and was trying to call 9-1-1 when Hawthorne got the keys to the house and came in after him with a handgun and shot him in the arm."

District Attorney Schuyler Marvin said he was pleased with the outcome.

"We appreciate the jurors for serving, and we got justice for the victim," Marvin said. "This case is an example of why convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms."






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