NEW ORLEANS — Dr. Pat Dennis is angry and frustrated the teenager accused of pointing a gun in his face and robbing him, is now free to potentially commit other violent crimes.
Dennis was robbed in front of his house on Philip Street in the Garden District as he left for work last December.
“I’ve been robbed once by the individual and I feel like I’ve been robbed by the city on the second count just because of the way the district attorney’s office handled the entire case from start to finish,” Dennis said.
The New Orleans physician told prosecutors he wanted to testify at the 16-year-old’s trial. The suspect was 15 when he allegedly committed the crime. But to his surprise the trial came and went in July without his participation.
With no witness testimony linking the teen to the crime, the juvenile suspect was found not guilty.
“I was never contacted,” Dennis said.
Dennis says he found out what happened just last week when he was called to testify at the trial of one of the other young people accused in the crime.
District Attorney Jason William’s office sent WWL-TV, a copy of the subpoena prosecutors claim was issued to Dennis to appear in July. It indicates they tried to serve the document at his home, three times.
The doctor says he never got it, and prosecutors never called him to testify.
“It’s almost like the citizens of this city and the victims of crime don’t carry any weight,” Dennis said.
Dennis continued that this is another example of ineffective government in New Orleans. He claims Juvenile Court shares some of the blame.
“I was a cooperating witness. I don’t have to be subpoenaed. The DA’s office knew that I was a cooperating witness. The court should have known that.”
Dennis says he’s now learned the 16-year-old who is accused of robbing him was part of a group of teenagers allegedly responsible for a three-day crime spree involving at least 14 armed robberies and carjackings across the city.
District Attorney Jason William released this statement:
“After learning of this matter, I personally reached out to Mr. Dennis to apologize on Friday after recessing the Darren Bridges First Degree Murder case I am personally trying. My office is clear that the system is not supposed to work this way. We desperately wanted him in court to help us convict this perpetrator and based on what I know he desperately wanted to be there for the same reason. We have certified records of our Attorneys requesting in court that subpoenas be issued to Mr. Dennis. Additionally, we have records of multiple attempts of subpoena service at his address prior to the July 14th trial date. Nonetheless, victim engagement is a pillar of our office and Mr. Dennis has my word - I will work to get to the bottom of where this breakdown occurred. As the victim in this matter, he is our priority, and we will make sure to figure what happened in this case. We hope that Mr. Dennis knows we were able to secure the conviction of one of the juvenile co-defendants who has been sentenced to 5 years and the other defendants’ cases are open and our office will work to see justice through in those matters.”