2009 Mother's Day murders haunt family

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 15 at 10:43 PM

Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News
Email: mhoss@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhosswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- On Mother's Day 2009, the Cassimere house would have been bustling with family gathering for a barbeque, but instead it was a crime scene.

Three years later, what happened that day remains an image family members cannot escape, and now Mother's Day is all but forgotten.

"This just brings so much sadness, so much grief. Honestly it puts me back to that day, that horrible day," Karen Sullivan, the victims' daughter, said.

"It was senseless, and the way it was done, you know," Olander Cassimere Jr., the victims' son, said.

On that day, someone kicked down the door and shot and killed Alphathada Cassimere, 77, and her husband of 54 years, Olander, 79, a former pastor.

It happened in the home where the two devout Christians raised nine children.

It's a heinous crime that still haunts both the police and family.

"What type of person is it that would shoot an old lady four times in the head, shoot an old man eight times while he's asleep? What kind of mindset do you have?" Cassimere said.

The Cassimere murders are now a cold case. New Orleans Police said they have circumstantial evidence, but not enough to take to the district attorney.

It's not a typical cold case either. Investigators believe there may be more. At least three people were involved, one is dead and two others are in prison.

Carl Novell and Kashie Fernandez  were both convicted for kidnapping and robbing the Cassimeres' grandson, Wendell Cousin, in 2008 and are each serving 40 plus years in prison.

Days before Fernandez's trial was to begin, where Wendell Cousin was to testify, the Cassimeres were killed.

Police believe they were executed as retaliation and intimidation.

Cold case detective Decynda Barnes said Fernandez could provide the information to close the case.

"I know...You know how your gut...I know...She knows. There's no doubt about it she knows," Barnes said.

But it's what they don't know that concerns the family.

Police believe there were three involved, but said there could be more still walking the streets.

"Still I have this strange feeling. I have to look over my shoulder. I have to be careful," Sullivan said.

New leads in this case will either come from prison or somebody else who steps forward with the right piece of information, remembering something once thought as insignificant.

"What they think may not mean anything, would actually mean something. It may actually just open up the case," Sullivan said.

The dots are there, they just need to be connected enough to fill a family's emptiness with justice

"Emptiness everyday...everyday," Cassimere said.

With the help of ministers, family and friends, Crimestoppers doubled its reward to $11,000 for information leading to a conviction.

Call 822-1111 with information.  Callers can remain anonymous.

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