A New Orleans, La., jury has found two men charged with looting a convenience store during Hurricane Isaac guilty of the lesser offense of attempted looting.
The Times-Picayune reports Timothy Hartford, 28, and Joshua Hogan, 24, were the first people to go to trial after being arrested by New Orleans police on suspicion of looting during Isaac.
After a two-day trial, jurors deliberated for about three hours and five minutes Wednesday before finding Hartford and Hogan guilty of attempting to loot a store while its owner — like many residents — had evacuated for the hurricane. In Louisiana, looting during an emergency such as a hurricane carries a punishment of between three and 15 years in prison without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, and attempted looting carries up to 7 1/2 years.
But Orleans Parish district attorney’s office spokesman Chris Bowman said prosecutors will ask that Hartford and Hogan, who have prior convictions, be sentenced as repeat offenders. If prosecutors succeed in showing that Hartford and Hogan are four-time felons, they could face sentences of between 20 years to life, Bowman said.
According to authorities, police apprehended Hartford and Hogan after responding to a report of men breaking into a corner store ion Aug. 28 about 9:30 p.m. Hogan was spotted standing outside the store, near a hole that had been made in one of the business’s walls, the prosecution said.
Hartford was inside the business with a sock over his hand, the prosecution said. He was accused of piling together cigarettes and alcohol to steal.
Police also arrested two other men at the scene: Gregory Spivey, 57, and Irvin Fox, 31. Spivey, who was straddling the hole at the store when police arrived the night of the break-in, pleaded guilty to looting on April 2 and received three years in prison.
In January, Judge Camille Buras found Fox incompetent to stand trial and ordered him into the care and confinement of the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System. She set a competency hearing for him in July.
Buras tentatively set Hartford and Hogan’s sentencing for June 27.
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