'Covered in blood': Suspect still sought 14 years after New Sarpy club murder

July 11, 2014 at 9:13 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

'Covered in blood': Suspect still sought 14 years after New Sarpy club murder
Fourteen years ago, St. Charles Parish deputies were called to a bloody scene after a group of juveniles had tried to force their way into a New Sarpy club. As deputies were trying to control the crowd in the parking lot, a shot rang out from inside the club and a stream of people came running out of the building.

Deputies rushed inside of Club Forest and found 17-year-old Kevin Oliver dragging himself across the floor, a bullet wound in his side.

Oliver later died of his injuries and no one has ever been prosecuted for his murder.

Through eyewitness accounts, deputies discovered that Oliver had allegedly been fighting with a man in the club known only as “Isadore” who was from St. Rose. However, that was one of many fights going on in Club Forest at the same time that night.

In fact, when deputies assessed the crime scene it was difficult for them to determine whose blood was splattered throughout Club Forest.

“There had been three or  four fights there; two of them going on at the same time as the shooting, and one just prior. The ladies bathroom was covered with blood. There was blood in different locations from different fights that were going on,” Maj. Rodney Madere, who is now chief of investigations for the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said during a court hearing. “So when we got there, there was some blood, but it was smeared all over the place. I mean, you couldn’t get a pattern out of anything.”  

Madere said he attempted to speak to Oliver, but couldn’t due to his condition.

“I went to the hospital to see if I could speak to Kevin Oliver before he passed away. He was being worked on in surgery,” he said.

Within an hour of the shooting, Oliver passed away from his wounds and the attempted murder became a homicide.

While Madere was at the hospital, other deputies on the scene located six witnesses–some who said they saw “Isadore” in a brawl with Oliver and others who said they saw “Isadore” pull a gun from his waistband and fire one shot into Oliver’s side before fleeing the establishment.

In fact, witness Shelita Collins’ was even able to identify the weapon as a silver .25 caliber handgun.

Two hours after the shooting, as the eyewitnesses were speaking to deputies, a man wearing a blood-stained t-shirt and jeans appeared in the area looking for a set of keys he dropped in the club. This was Isadore Sutton, a 27-year-old St. Rose man.

Madere said Sutton was quickly apprehended and charged with first-degree murder.

“He had blood all over his shirt and everything, so they grabbed him knowing he was Isadore and knowing that we were looking for a subject named Isadore,” he said.

Sutton did not dispute that he had been in the club that night, nor that he had been fighting with Oliver. However, he maintained that he was not the one who had pulled the trigger.

The Sheriff’s Office also secured a search warrant for Sutton’s car that was parked near Club Forest and found a loaded AK-47 with 30 rounds of ammo in the clip, but did not find a handgun

Later in a hearing on the murder, two of the witnesses to the crime did not appear.

According to a court filing by Sutton’s attorney, Greg Miller, who is now a state representative, only one witness ever testified that she had seen Sutton shoot Oliver.

“Only one witness against Mr. Sutton, Shelita Ann Collins, has ever testified that Mr. Sutton was the shooter, despite the fact that the shooting occurred in a crowded night club,” the filing stated.

In testimony at a preliminary hearing, Collins said she had in fact seen Sutton shoot Oliver.

“The fight had broke out and I seen Isadore and Kevin fighting. Isadore came out his pocket with a gun,” she said.  Collins said the attack was provoked by Oliver’s interaction with another bar patron.

“He bumped Isadore, Isadore bumped him, and a fight had broke out,” she said.

However, Collins admitted that she had never met Oliver before and at that time she did not know Sutton by name although she had seen him around bars in Kenner, only learning his name after the incident.

Following Collin’s testimony, further research into the incident by Miller and other defense attorneys revealed that other witnesses in the club at the time of the shooting identified another man as the shooter.

According to Miller’s filing, Marcella Bailey, who originally identified Sutton as the shooter, later said she had seen Sutton fighting in another area of the club at the time and had not seen him shoot Oliver. Her statement was backed up by the owner of Club Forest.

“Louis John, owner of Club Forest, has stated that Mr. Sutton was involved in a fight in another area of the bar from where the shooting occurred. This was corroborated by Marcella Bailey,” the filing stated.  

A witness later contacted by Sutton’s defense team, Destrehan resident Christopher Robinson, actually admitted that he was the one fighting with Oliver at the time of the shooting, not Sutton.

According to Miller, Robinson said that Brent Reynaud showed him a chrome .25 caliber pistol in Club Forest prior to the shooting and that a man named Rondell Jenkins admitted to shooting Oliver.

Madere admitted in testimony that there were rumors that other people may have been involved in Oliver’s murder, but he maintained that Sutton was the prime suspect.

Sutton was eventually released from jail after his bond was lowered to $400,000 and his grandmother put up her home as collateral for his release.

On June 25, 1997, six months after the shooting occurred, the case against Sutton was dropped by the St. Charles Parish District Attorney’s Office. Sutton died of a heart attack shortly after.

Madere and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office would not speak about the case when contacted by the St. Charles Herald-Guide citing a gag order. Miller did not return several phone calls regarding the case.  

Those who may have information on the death of Kevin Oliver should contact the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office at (985) 783-1135 or contact Crimestoppers at (877) 903-STOP.

View other articles written Kyle Barnett

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