NEWS

Convicted murderer, 'believed to be dangerous,' released from prison

Staff Report
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office released an updated photograph of Michael LeBlanc.

A Donaldsonville man convicted of murder five years ago and set to serve a mandatory life sentence was released from prison Nov. 30, leaving family members fearful and Ascension Parish officials puzzled as to how it happened.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre stated in a news release Dec. 6 that detectives were actively searching for 41-year-old Michael "Ma-man" LeBlanc after another parish's sheriff's office released him with a detainer.

Through investigation, detectives learned that LeBlanc was sent to serve time in Catahoula Parish and later Madison Parish.

An Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said deputies received information that he was recently seen in Donaldsonville.

LeBlanc is a violent offender and believed to be dangerous, according to APSO's news release.

"LeBlanc’s release is both concerning and frustrating," Webre stated in the release. "I’ve had a chance to talk with the victim’s family, who are equally concerned. Our office is actively doing everything we can to get LeBlanc off the street."

Anyone with information that can assist detectives is urged to call the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office anonymously at (225) 621-4636 or by texting 847411 to our anonymous tip line from any cellular device or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867). You must call Capital Region Crime Stoppers to receive a cash reward.

Donaldsonville convicted murderer's release first reported by The Advocate

According to a published report released the afternoon of Dec. 6, Webre told Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate that local law enforcement officials did not know where LeBlanc was or how he came to be released from incarceration in Madison Parish in northeastern Louisiana. 

News of the release was reported by all three Baton Rouge area television news stations as well as local media outlets.

Michael LeBlanc is shown in a file photo.

In June 2014, LeBlanc, who was then 32 years old, turned himself in to Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office detectives, former Chief Deputy Tony Bacala reported at the time, as he was a suspect in a Donaldsonville murder case.

LeBlanc was charged with second-degree murder and principal to illegal use of weapon in the homicide of 37-year-old Adoriji Wilson in Donaldsonville, according to past reports. Wilson went by the nickname "Teenie Weenie."

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre is shown in a file photo from August 2021

Webre told The Advocate's staff writer David J. Mitchell that state prison officials confirmed to him that LeBlanc, now 41, was released from custody.

Ascension Parish deputies in Donaldsonville reportedly heard from residents that LeBlanc was let out of prison.

Family members told the newspaper they feared for their safety with the convicted murderer now free.

Convicted of second-degree murder in September 2017, LeBlanc had waived his right to a trial by jury and was found guilty after two days of testimony in connection with the 2014 shooting death.

23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin is shown in a file photo.

According to a news release from 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin at the time, deputies responded to the 900 block of Elizabeth Street in Donaldsonville on June 1, 2014 after receiving reports of a shooting.

Deputies reportedly found Wilson on the front porch of a residence with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives at the time discovered through extensive investigation that a male subject wearing a green slicker suit walked up the residence where multiple people were sitting on the porch. The man reportedly pointed a 9mm handgun at Wilson and fired some 16 gunshots into him, then he fled the area.

According to the release, numerous potential witnesses were interviewed, and detectives identified LeBlanc as a suspect.

A warrant was issued, and deputies arrested and booked LeBlanc into the Ascension Parish Jail near Donaldsonville.

Former longtime Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley was serving as sheriff at the time of the murder.

Former longtime Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley is shown with Judge Alvin Turner in a file photo.

As reported at the time of the guilty verdict, 23rd Judicial District Judge Alvin Turner ordered that formal sentencing be deferred to a later date. The release added that second degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.

At the time, no date had been set for LeBlanc's sentencing hearing. According to reports, he was never formally sentenced for the murder conviction.

In September 2017, he was already incarcerated and serving an 18-year prison sentence for a 2015 conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

As published in The Advocate article, LeBlanc has a criminal record dating back to the late 1990s and had at least four other felony convictions.

Department of Corrections releases statement

WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge published a statement from the Louisiana Department of Corrections concerning the matter.

According to the statement, LeBlanc completed his hard labor prison sentence for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon on May 13 of this year.

LeBlanc was subsequently released to the Madison Parish Sheriff's Office and detained for charges relating to possession with intent to distribute narcotics and taking contraband to and from a penal institution, the statement continued.

As LeBlanc remained at the facility on a pretrial detainer, Madison Parish officials reportedly were aware that Ascension Parish also had a detainer for LeBlanc's 2017 second degree murder conviction, for which he has still not been sentenced by the court.

According to the statement, Madison Parish transferred LeBlanc to Riverbend Detention Center, which houses Madison's pretrial detainees, on July 26 of this year.

On Nov. 30, Madison informed Riverbend that LeBlanc pled guilty and received credit for time served at the parish jail level on two new charges in Madison, the statement continued.

According to the Department of Corrections, Riverbend did not transfer LeBlanc to Ascension Parish regarding the outstanding sentenced for murder in 2017, but released him from custody on Nov. 30.

The Louisiana Parole Board has issued a warrant for LeBlanc's arrest as he failed to report to probation and parole within 48 hours of his full discharge from the local level physical custody as outlined in the conditions of his release from the Department of Corrections in May 2022, the statement concluded.

Who is to blame for a convicted murderer walking free?

In the first 24 hours of the news breaking that LeBlanc was freed and his location unknown, officials reportedly pointed fingers rather than take responsibility.

LeBlanc's formal sentencing for the murder conviction never happened due to a number of delays and continuances over the last five years, including the death of his original defense attorney and challenges connected to the COVID-19 pandemic over a nearly three-year span.

Babin, the 23rd Judicial District Attorney, told Baton Rouge television station WAFB the blame falls on the Department of Public Safety and Corrections due to the detainer that was placed on LeBlanc.

The district attorney told WAFB reporter Lester Duhé the life sentence is automatic due to state law and only needs to be placed on the docket.

"It's extremely frustrating," Babin said in a phone call broadcast in the television report. "This guy is dangerous. He needs to be captured and put up real quick. This is mind blowing."

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at facebook.com/WeeklyCitizen and facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleChief.