Armed robbery suspects in Iberville Parish Jail

Staff Report

Two juveniles accused in an attempted armed robbery and shootout are now in custody at Iberville Parish Jail, but housing of underage inmates remains a challenge for law enforcement.

Korban Gillis, 16, and Laron Richard, 16, are each being held on $300,000 bond. Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi met with District Attorney Tony Clayton, who said he will prosecute the two as adults.

The two suspects are in private custody, excluded from other inmates, according to Stassi.

Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi

They allegedly used AR-15s to spray bullets into a vehicle and mobile home during the attempted robbery at a mobile home near Patureau Lane on the night of Feb. 20.

A lack of bed space at the jail prompted the sheriff’s office to put the two juveniles house arrest, in which they were monitored through use of ankle bracelets.

“We called every juvenile facility we knew of that could take these two people, but nobody had a space,” Stassi said. “We were left with no choice other than house arrest."

The IPSO succeeded in getting two murder suspects off the streets, but it does not solve the bigger problem.

Bed space will remain an issue for Iberville, and nearly every other parish across the state, Stassi said.

“When they passed the law that set the juvenile offender back to 17, it was a good thing for the prison system and young people to get a better chance, but at the same time it exacerbated the problem we’re all having with juvenile bed space,” Stassi said. “With the increase in juvenile crime and more serious crimes they’re committing, we need more bed space.

“The district attorney has met with all the parish presidents, he understands the problem and he’s trying to solve it,” he said. “But we can’t resolve this problem quickly … it will take time and funding.”

Parishes in the 18th JDC had access to nearby facilities in St. James and Assumption parishes, but lack of support and the increasing costs led to their closures.

The sheriff’s office has sought help from other facilities outside of the state, but most of them do not accept inmates from outside of their judicial district, Stassi said.

“We’re all doing the best we can,” he said. “We just need to get things started,” he said. “Something has to be done soon because this problem won’t get any easier.”