SCHRIEVER, La. — A 36-year-old Thibodaux man was convicted today of robbing a Schriever casino in 2017.
A 12-member jury found Robert Lee Johnson, of 105 Ribbon Cane Drive, guilty of armed robbery with use of a firearm.
According to the Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office, shortly before 1:40 a.m. on June 27, 2017, a pair of masked suspects entered the Jubilee Casino at 305 La. 20 in Schriever, struck a security guard on the back of his head and escaped with $51,000 in cash.
The 12-member jury watched surveillance video of the security guard, identified as Derrius Leray McDuffy, being attacked from behind by two masked suspects at the casino entrance. One of the suspects appeared to have a gun and held McDuffy at gunpoint.
The assailants then disarmed the security guard and used his gun to carry out the robbery.
The suspects ordered two people in the casino to lay on the ground as they made off with the cash. The entire robbery took about five minutes, authorities said.
Charges are also pending for McDuffy, Jamall Anthony Sims, 32, and Antoine Baptiste Jr., 43, in connection with the robbery.
After the robbery, police became suspicious of McDuffy, whose statements to investigators were inconsistent. The security guard’s phone also showed calls and texts from a man later identified as Johnson, prosecutors said.
Detectives later learned McDuffy was in on the crime and charged him accordingly, prosecutors said.
Investigators then received a tip that Johnson had committed the robbery, prosecutors said. He was was arrested on Feb. 8, 2018, and booked into the Terrebonne Parish jail.
McDuffy made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft over $25,000. He then testified that Johnson had organized and planned the robbery, prosecutors said.
Although Johnson and his accomplice were masked, an employee told investigators she recognized his voice because he had been a regular customer at the Jubilee Casino in the days before the robbery, prosecutors said,
Johnson took the witness stand Wednesday but offered contradictory and inconsistent testimony, prosecutors said.
“By Mr. Johnson’s own words and actions, he’s telling you he’s guilty,” Assistant District Attorney Chris Erny said. “Mr. Johnson rolled the dice and gambled to establish an alibi, but he lost.”
Johnson’s Chauvin attorney Paul Lapeyrouse said there was no hard evidence proving his client was one of the suspects in the surveillance video.
“I was disappointed in the quality of these videos,” Lapeyrouse said. “They lack quality. Not only could I not see great detail but I couldn’t hear a voice. It was not Robert Johnson. He didn’t commit this crime. We ask for a fair and just verdict.”
“Fair and just in my opinion is guilty as charged,” Erny said in his rebuttal. “A lesser verdict would not do justice to this case.”
Johnson’s post-trial motions are scheduled for June 10 in District Judge George Larke Jr.’s courtroom.