Wednesday, June 20, 2018

"What Kind of Human Being Does This?"

Video of the short but emotional hearing is posted below. 

So said Hinds County Circuit Judge Jeff Weill as he sentenced  Loran Blackwell to spend the rest of her life behind bars for participating in the murder of 81 year-old Lee Kendrick in 2015.  Judge Weill told the self-admitted prostitute "You, Loran Danielle Shell-Blackwell, are devoid of conscience."  A jury convicted her last week of capital murder. 

The darkened courtroom grew darker as the sentencing hearing began with statements made by the victim's family.*  Lee Kendrick's son-in-law told the court what Mr. Kendrick meant to his family.   He described a man who was "good but not perfect."  He continued, "I want Loren to understand that what she took was more than a life.".  He told how Lee Kendrick cared for a wife suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.  He came home every day to feed her at lunch and did so the day of his death.  The son-in-law, a Baton Rouge physician, said that Mr. Kendrick was healthy and "should have had more years to live."  Kendrick went missing for two days before his body was found.  No one knew went without care until the next day when someone delivered supplies for the house. Mrs. Kendrick's condition "went down tremendously" after his murder as depression took hold of her already depleted mind.  The family was forced to sell the home and she moved in with her oldest daughter as they could not afford full-time care. He said the family forgave Loren Blackwell as Loren looked on and dabbed tears from her eyes.

A tearful granddaughter  said Mr. Kendrick wasn't able to see her get married or meet her husband. "I will never get to hug his neck again," she said. She continued, "But despite all this, I pray for God's grace and mercy on your life." Andrrea Parker, the Hinds County Victim's Coordinator, read a statement from another granddaughter.

Loren Blackwell finally stood before Judge Weill to plead her cause and plead she did.  She opened "I have never been more hurt or confused than I am right now.  I do not understand or make any sense of what happened last Friday."  Her alleged accomplice in the murder, Walter Lee Young, testified against her last week.  Blackwell repeatedly screamed at the prosecutors when her guilty verdict was pronounced.  She told Judge Weill today "The only thing the state had was various assumptions and a co-defendant that everyone knew was lying. Walter Lee Young is a murderer,  but this has all allowed him to be painted as a hero who 'wanted to do the right thing' ", said the convicted.  She attempted to justify her actions that dreadful day "I hope that none of you are forced to choose between not calling the police and staying alive."  "Lee was a good man who didn't deserve to be murdered. Lee was one of the only people in my life to keep his word to me."  She said "I'm an easy target for the blame, however this is not justice."  She mentioned the two children she had since Mr. Kendrick's murder. She said she wished she had not began using drugs and started associating with the wrong people.  Her plea ended in sobs.

Judge Weill sat through it all, showing sympathy for the Kendrick family and sitting in stony silence through Blackwell's plea.  He proceeded to give the convicted a history lesson that explained why she was going to prison for the rest of her life. 

Judge Weill said "Mr. Kendrick was a flawed but kind and elderly man who was lonely due to his alzheimer's wife's suffering and that he sought your sexual attention.  The Judge pulled no punches: "He  actually tried to help you.  He bought you a car and food when you needed it and helped you with the rent although you tried to sell the car after he went missing."  Blackwell told her Grandmother in Franklin County not to tell anyone she had seen her after she arrived in Kendrick's car.  Her grandmother testified against her.  A long-time friend testified she tried to sell him Mr. Kendrick's car for $400 when it was easily worth $4,000.  Judge Weill told the plump prostitute "then slowly as the evidence was presented against you (by police) including your own DNA found near Mr. Kendrick's body, you began conceding you were in fact in that grimy apartment where Mr. Kendrick was found naked,  shot in the back of the head by children who no doubt will remember that awful scene forever." "Young testified that you stood behind Mr. Kendrick and shot him in the back of the head,"  continued Judge Weill.

He added that Walter Young will "face trial" later this year.  The jury also heard evidence that Blackwell met Kendrick at Romantic Adventures and that he had withdrawn several thousand dollars in cash from the bank.  The word "set-up" and "robbery" were used by the Judge in describing how Kendrick was fatally lured to the vacant apartment.   He said the "money was missing" and noted that the car was stolen as well.  He said "almost immediately, you went to buy some drugs to get high. Hardly the actions of an innocent and concerned citizen." 

Judge Weill ended his admonishment by calling her actions "a tornadic path of destruction."  He sentenced her to serve five years for auto theft and ordered it to be served consecutive to the life sentence for capital murder.

Hinds County Public Defender Chris Routh represented the convicted.

1:30: Son-in-law's statement
6:30: Granddaughter's statement
11:45: Loran Blackwell begs for mercy
19:15: Judge Weill spells out the evidence against her and lowers the boom. 

*Only three of the main lights and half of the ceiling lights worked in Judge Gowan's former courtroom.


Anonymous said...

Hold on! SHE is a prostitute? I just lost faith in mankind. But, we're talking the Highway 80 crowd, right?

Anonymous said...

Dude was 81 years old, and he stopped by to for a little service work!!!
I wish I knew Grandpa's secret. Gotta be more than just a blue pill.

Anonymous said...

If the State doesn’t go for death, or the jury declines to give the death penalty, the only possible sentence for capital murder is life. What was the purpose of the sentencing hearing?

Anonymous said...

@6:49 The purpose was for Weill to be able to give some self-grandizing garbage speech that no one but himself and Kingfish care about. Don’t be fooled by the campaign stunt. He had absolutely no discretion in the sentence.

Anonymous said...

@5:38. You are without a doubt deeply disturbed and I would suggest in need of therapy at a minimum.

Anonymous said...

Weill’s insecurity on display again. He’s a terrible judge and a bully.

Anonymous said...

Hold on there 7:50.

Therapy for a little comment?

Lighten up Francis.

Anonymous said...

at 7:50 PM
I am a therapist, do you need a session?

Anonymous said...

Some discretion, could have sentenced her to life rather than LWOP.

§ 97-3-21(3):

Every person who shall be convicted of capital murder shall be sentenced (a) to death; (b) to imprisonment for life in the State Penitentiary without parole; or (c) to imprisonment for life in the State Penitentiary with eligibility for parole[.]

Anonymous said...

She looks like she was just at a girls' softball game in Tennessee.

Anonymous said...

I am just waiting for the man to stand trial.
Wonder if he will get the same sentence?

Anonymous said...

MDOC policy treats any conviction for murder (capital, first degree, second degree) the same. No parole. He could have given her life but it is all the exact same sentence. No real discretion.

In any event, he’s the most reversed judge in the state, so there’s a better chance than normal that it will be reversed we’ll before parole becomes an issue.

Anonymous said...

@9:35 Watch the newspapers. You'll be waiting a very long time. He won't be going to trial.

Anonymous said...

maybe someone will kill her in prison and save us the taxpayers a bunch of money.

Anonymous said...

Cant get through the "Internet Archive" wall. Never heard of it but wants me to sgree to a contract. Huh?

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec...after reading and re-reading and attempting a Venn Diagram I still am lost. Whoever wrote this mish-mash of an account produced something as tangled as the event itself. An old guy got killed and a plump whore with a hyphenated surname yelled stuff. That's pretty much all I gleaned.

Anonymous said...

Time to get your facts straight 11:22. Fact: Weill has been affirmed more than any other Hinds judge. Twice by Supreme Court just last week.

Anonymous said...

Correct. Tommie Green is the most frequently reversed. Not even close.

Anonymous said...

As of 2016, Green had been reversed more often, but that amounted to only 4 cases, because only 11 of her decisions had been appealed. A fifth was affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Weill had been reversed "only" 21 percent of the time, but that amounted to 8 cases, because he is so frequently appealed--38 of his decisions. A 9th was affirmed in part and affirmed in part.

I have not seen more recent statistics.

Anonymous said...

The male co-defendant in this case, Walter Lee Young, just entered a plea deal with the DAs office which judge Weill just accepted. He will walk out of jail in less than 8 months. I wonder how much we’ll hear about that from Kingfish and his ilk.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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