St. Charles Herald-Guide

2 teens arrested in connection with St. Rose murder

By Kyle Barnett - June 14, 2012

Two teenagers have been arrested and charged with the murder of 19-year-old Jared Mealey, who was shot several times while sitting in his car in St. Rose on May 29.

Keywine "Poppa" Bradford, 16, of 126 First St. in St. Rose, and Leslie Reed, 19, of 500 Mockingbird Lane in St. Rose, both turned themselves in to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and were booked with second-degree murder. Bradford is being held at the St. James Juvenile Facility, while Reed is being held at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center on $1 million bond.

Authorities would not release the motive for Mealey’s murder or how Bradford and Reed were connected to the crime. Mealey’s father, Leo Mealey, said Bradford was the younger brother of Mealey’s ex-girlfriend.

Because Reed and Bradford are being charged with second-degree murder, St. Charles Parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson said his office will not be able to pursue the death penalty in either case.

"To be a first-degree murder case it has to meet certain criteria," Chaisson said. "You have to be engaged in the commission of some other type of felony or kill more than one person. There’s a list of things that makes us differentiate just a murder, which would otherwise be a second-degree murder, from a first-degree murder in which you can seek the death penalty.

"This does not fall into that category."

Mealey graduated from Destrehan in 2011 and had hoped to one day get back into football. He played for the Wildcats for four years and was a backup defensive lineman.

"He was talking about how he was going to get back into school and one of our former coaches at Destrehan was helping," cousin and former teammate Dillon Dent said. "The plan was for him to do his part at Delgado (Community College) to get his GPA up and [the coach] was going to try to get him to go to a Division II or junior college to play football somewhere."

Dent said he grew up with Jared from the age of five and lived right down the street from him.

"He was pretty much a peacemaker. If he saw two teammates getting into it he would break it up," Dent said. "Anyone Jared came across they were like family to him. He would give them the shirt off his back if he had to. Whatever you needed you could always go to Jared."