The woman accused of second-degree murder in the beating death of a Pearl River man worked as a St Tammany Parish Sheriff's corrections officer, but she couldn't cut it and was fired three months into the job, according to a Sheriff's Office spokesman.
20-year-old Blaine Manalle was booked for second-degree murder on Monday, as deputies continued their investigation into what happened near the Davis Landing Boat Launch June 9.
46-year-old Jeffery Howell died from a blow to the head that he sustained in the brawl, according to St Tammany Parish Coroner, Dr. Charles Preston.
Manalle, one of four arrested so far in the case, was hired by STPSO in September 2016, but was terminated three months later in December for unsuccessfully completing the terms of her probation. Captain Scott Lee, a sheriff's spokesman, said she "failed to respond to training."
"She was unable to comprehend radio communications. Throughout her training, she was reminded of the importance of knowing these codes for her safety and the safety of others located at the correctional facility. She could not communicate on the radio without the assistance from her Field Training Officer (FTO) and had limited knowledge of inmate rules and regulations, although repeatedly encouraged to have a better understanding of them," Lee said about the terms of Manalle's termination.
The details of what led to the brawl and what happened to Howell at a sand bar near the boat launch Saturday are still unclear and Sheriff Randy Smith has been tight-lipped about the investigation.
21-year-old Cameron Alphonso is also facing a second-degree murder charge in connection with Howell's death.
22-year-old Alden Kindergran was arrested for one count of disturbing the peace. He was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail and was released, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Monday.
Thomas Jones, 23, was arrested Tuesday for disturbing the peace. He was also booked on an unrelated Contempt of Court Warrant for Non-support in the amount of $7,052.
The fight occurred June 9 around 5:30 p.m. on a sand bar along the West Pearl River near the Davis Landing Boat Launch.
A coroner's spokesman said Howell had just successfully undergone surgery to remove a brain tumor.
“It just crushes your heart,” said Jack Sessions, Howell’s friend. “You very rarely hear about something like this happening around here. It really really hurts you.”
Howell was a construction worker who loved fishing.
A previous version of the story stated Kindergran was arrested for second-degree murder, however updated information from the St. Tammany Parish Office indicates he was arrested for disturbing the peace.