NEW ORLEANS — Scott Toups, the man who was shot, carjacked, and nearly lost his life last July, is still hopeful the 17-year-old suspect in his case will be tried as an adult.
Seven months after Toups was shot and carjacked while dropping off Mardi Gras bead donations Uptown, he is out of a hospital but still recovering. His progress has been miraculous, and he gives much credit to his wife, Stacie, who then died suddenly at 55 in November. As Stacie spent her final months fighting for her husband to live, she also fought for justice in his case.
Scott Toups spoke with us over the phone Sunday after learning the case was dismissed against 17-year-old suspect Kendell Myles who is accused of carjacking and shooting him after escaping from the Bridge City Center for Youth.
“I’m hoping they try them as an adult for what these kids did or what this one guy did to me by shooting me twice. It’s just, through all the 71 days I was in ICU and the rehabilitation I’ve been going through for like two months, it’s been getting hectic,” Toups said over the phone Sunday. “With my wife passing away, that didn’t help either.”
Toups said the DA’s office has kept him updated on the case.
“They have been keeping in touch with me about what has been going on with this trial, and they told me a judge turned them down to try them as an adult,” he said.
In September, District Attorney Jason Williams said he would try Myles as an adult as he was already serving a juvenile life sentence, but the DA’s office missed a 30-day deadline to bring formal charges in adult court. That could send the case heads back to juvenile court.
Keith D. Lampkin, a spokesperson for the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office, sent the following statement to WWL-TV on Monday:
“First, these defendants are still in custody and we will endeavor to ensure that remains the case.
This a case of being careful rather than careless. We worked systematically to build cases that we could win at trial, which included visiting the victim’s bedside and listening to the wishes of the family during the victim’s incapacity. It is imperative that this matter is handled with the appropriate level of care, in a way that is lasting rather than hasty. We owe it to Scott Toups and the memory of his loving wife to do this right and in a way that offers the best odds of prevailing at trial.
The system is not set up to be able to make a thoughtful and informed decision within the limited time period. However, the law is clear that even if the State doesn’t to meet this time limit, dismissal of the prosecution is not an appropriate remedy. Therefore, the judge who quashed the indictments in these cases did so in error and we are taking this matter to the Court of Appeal and State Supreme Court if necessary.”
The defense attorney for another suspect in this case, 16-year-old Kayla Smith, who faces an armed robbery charge, told us Saturday he couldn't speak to Myles' case but said that he believes his client's case needs to be in juvenile court.
"Teenagers, you know, they make weird decisions. We think we should treat kids like kids, and these accusations should be dealt with in juvenile court because she was a juvenile. She's a 16-year-old,” said Jerome Mathews, Criminal Defense Attorney.
Williams said he would appeal the decision to dismiss the case, telling our partners at NOLA.com in a statement: "Charging a juvenile in adult court is a serious decision; in this case, the process to conduct a thorough investigation, review all evidence, and have conversations with the victim and his family was thorough, as we wanted to make sure we made the right decision to ensure appropriate accountability for the defendants."
Toups said the DA’s office alerted him of the updates several days ago.
“They said they would keep going after them like going with another judge to file as an adult,” Toups said.
He is trying to remain hopeful the case will end up in adult court.
“I’m hoping they will do that, but when he shot me, he was 17, and I don’t know, I’m kind of hoping they will do it, but I don’t know,” Toups said.
For now, both Myles and Smith are in the juvenile detention center.
The DA’s appeal will be heard on April 3.
► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.