On April 17, 2017, Kenneth Hayes III of 8056 Gus St. New Orleans, LA., age 20, pled guilty to Armed Robbery following the 2014 robbery of a convenience store in Gonzales. Hayes was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi, and presiding over this matter was the Honorable Judge Jessie LeBlanc. This guilty plea was the result of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
On September 21, 2014, members of the Gonzales Police Department were dispatched to the Murphy Express convenience store located on S Airline Hwy in Gonzales. Through the course of the investigation, detectives learned that two black males armed with guns approached a store clerk and two customers outside of the store. One of the customers was able to flee the area, but the store clerk and other customer were held at gunpoint. The two subjects escorted the clerk and customer back into the store, and the clerk was forced to take the money from the register and place it into a backpack, all while still at gunpoint. Both subjects fled the area in a 2003 Jeep. The same jeep used in the Gonzales robbery had been stolen during a carjacking in New Orleans approximately 1 hour prior to the robbery. Approximately 30 minutes after the subjects fled the Murphy Express in Gonzales, the two subjects committed another armed robbery at Birdies Food and Fuel located on Belle Terre Blvd. in Laplace. Shortly after fleeing the area of the Laplace robbery, St. John Parish Sheriff’s Deputies were able to locate the getaway vehicle and engaged in a high speed pursuit. The chase continued through St. John Parish, St. Charles Parish, the city of Kenner, and ended in Jefferson Parish when the jeep struck a Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office unit head on. Shortly after, the driver of the vehicle, identified as Kenneth Hayes III, was apprehended and taken into the custody of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. When apprehended, Hayes was still wearing a ski mask and had the same clothing on that was described by the victims during the robberies. Hayes also had a backpack fitting the description of the backpack used during the robberies. The passenger in the vehicle was able to elude capture. Officers were able to locate multiple cash bills that had been thrown on the floorboards of the vehicle. Hayes was subsequently arrested and booked into the Jefferson Parish Detention Center where he awaited transfer to Ascension Parish.
Upon entering a guilty plea to the above charge, as per the plea agreement with prosecutors, Judge LeBlanc ordered that Hayes be committed to the Louisiana Department of Corrections at hard labor for a period of 15 years with credit for time served. It was further ordered that the imposed sentence is to be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.