Dig Baton Rouge

DA says DNA linked suspect to recent killings

District Attorney Hillar Moore said Tuesday that DNA helped investigators link a Baton Rouge man to two recent deadly shootings, including one which killed a longtime worker of Louie’s Cafe near LSU.

Moore said authorities charged Kenneth Gleason, 23, with two murders which happened Sept. 12 and 14. He also faces charges for a third shooting in which nobody was hurt. The victim in the Sept. 14 shooting was Donald Smart, a dishwasher for 20 years at Louie’s Cafe.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Moore said investigators “worked their tails off” to track down the leads necessary to bring charges against Gleason. He said the State Police Crime Lab found DNA on shell casings at the Alaska Street shooting where Smart was killed, and after Gleason’s arrest on unrelated charges this weekend the crime lab was able to match his DNA to the casings.

Posted by East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Moore said it was “extremely unusual” that investigators could both extract DNA from the scene, and process the results quickly enough to lead to an arrest in a matter of days. He said the investigators with the crime lab and agencies involved were to be commended for their quick and diligent work.

Investigators what helped them initially find Gleason were descriptions of a man in a red car at several shooting scenes last week. Video from a security company also showed a red car near one of the scenes as well as a man getting out to remove his license plate, take a gun from the trunk, and put tape over the dealership decals on his vehicle.

Moore said those details helped Baton Rouge Police who were working extra duty to find the shooter’s vehicle spot and pull over Gleason this past weekend. Police initially charged him with unconnected drug offenses, and the sheriff’s office arrested Gleason after he was released on bond Monday for a book theft which they said happened in between the shootings.

Investigators initially said they suspect the killings may have had a racial motivation, but have released nothing new about the motives since then.

The general manager for Louie’s Cafe set up a memorial fund for Smart this week to help cover funeral expenses.

Image: East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office / Facebook


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