A retired Monroe police chief recently challenged a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver’s claim that he shot and killed a 17-year-old suspect in self-defense when the suspect acted with someone else to rob, kidnap, and carjack the delivery driver at gunpoint.
Quentin Holmes Sr., who currently serves as an interim police chief at Grambling State University, weighed in on the matter as an expert witness for the couple whose deceased son, Cordale Walker, was shot and killed.
Charlene and Dale Worthy Sr. are suing RPM Pizza LLC, a Domino’s Pizza franchisee in West Monroe, as well as Jareth Porter, the pizza delivery driver, on behalf of their deceased son, Walker. They claimed RPM Pizza failed to enforce a no weapons policy and that Porter was conducting company business when he shot and killed Walker.
The incident occurred on Jan. 19, 2017 when Porter was delivering a pizza and was confronted by two men who were hooded and masked. The two suspects ultimately robbed him, kidnapped him and took his truck. Later, when he believed the two suspects were preparing to kill him, Porter said he grabbed a handgun from the driver’s side door and fired several shots, killing Cordale Walker.
The other suspect, Joshua Donson, was arrested by West Monroe police for armed robbery, second-degree kidnapping, principal to second-degree murder and criminal conspiracy.
In their July 26 memorandum, the Worthys objected to the defendants’ description of their son, Walker, as a “thug.”
“One of our main concerns, in this case, deals with the fact that the officers who were called to the scene took Jareth Porter’s testimony as true and at word value which appears that his account was not adequately verified during a thorough investigative process,” stated the Worthys’ memorandum.
The Worthys claimed Porter’s testimony about the incident involved discrepancies about directions, shots made, and the weapon used. They also claimed he could have escaped or run away instead of lying on the ground or trying to grab his gun.
The Worthys referred to Holmes as an expert witness. Holmes has a PhD in public administration from Jackson State University. He previously served as chief of police at Monroe Police Department, though his tenure there was marked by frequent controversy, complaints of low morale, and a vote of “no confidence” in his leadership by department officers. He worked as a detective before he was chief of police.
“It is my expert opinion that Jareth Porter’s story was not true, appeared to be self-serving, had a lot of unreasonable actions, and implausible,” stated Holmes’ July 26 affidavit. “Jareth Porter had several times to escape and a reasonable person would have taken those opportunities to flee the scene and escape.”
Holmes referred to the coroner’s report, which he interpreted to mean that Cordale Walker was kneeling on the ground when he was shot.
“In other words, the victim (Walker) had surrendered, and he was still shot by Mr. Porter,” Holmes said. “Coroner’s report stated that the body of Mr. Walker was found on the passenger side, but Mr. Porter stated in his deposition that he shot the individual on the driver’s side; thereby rendering his statement not credible.”
Holmes acknowledged Porter’s statements in his deposition that another individual moved Walker’s body.
Holmes based his conclusions on his 30 years of law enforcement experience and training.
In a June 17 letter to the Worthys’ attorney, Bobby Manning of Monroe, Holmes questioned whether Porter was delivering a pizza on 8th Street, since no pizza was found by police.
“My three decades of investigative experience lead me to the opinion that Mr. Porter’s statement of the circumstances is more consistent with some type of criminal activity ‘gone bad’ in which he was an active participant,” Holmes’ letter stated.
Holmes also questioned whether Porter was concerned with defending himself.
“Mr. Porter stated he watched as the alleged second suspect went to Mr. Walker and retrieved ‘something’ from him,” Holmes’ letter stated. “Since no weapon was found at the scene, Mr. Porter claimed, conveniently, the alleged second suspect must have taken it. CONCERN: According to Mr. Porter, the second suspect was the most violent in terms of communication during the incident, but when he (2nd suspect) retrieves the ‘handgun,’ Mr. Porter does not defend himself.”
In an Aug. 6 reply memorandum, RPM Pizza argued that the Worthys’ written opposition did not dispute several facts about the incident: that Walker robbed Porter, that Walker kidnapped Porter, that Walker entered Porter’s vehicle and carjacked it, that the felonies were committed with the aid of a firearm, and that Porter’s assailants threatened to kill him with the firearm.
Under state law, the use of deadly force was appropriate when a party believed they were in danger of losing their life or suffering great bodily harm, and that deadly force was needed to deliver them from those harms.
“The only ‘evidence’ presented by the Plaintiffs is the affidavit of Dr. Holmes, the admission of which RPM objects to,” stated RPM’s reply memorandum. “However, upon a close reading, Dr. Holmes’ affidavit does not provide any facts, evidence or even expert opinions....Instead, this affidavit and report simply provides Dr. Holmes’ unsubstantiated speculative ‘concerns’ regarding the uncontradicted testimony of Mr. Porter.”
In a subsequent filing, Porter echoed the objections to Holmes’ affidavit and letter.
“Mr. Porter has described in vivid detail the ordeal which he suffered at the hands of these two assailants, the continuing escalating stressful encounter he endured, and the fear of losing his life which was a very real and reasonable one,” stated Porter’s Aug. 7 reply memorandum. “There had been numerous hostile demonstrations by Walker. A pistol had been pointed at the back of Mr. Porter’s head. A bullet had been chambered in the pistol in possession of Cordale Walker. Threats had been made to blow his brains out.”