THIBODAUX – A man convicted last year of
orchestrating the murder of a confidential informant from his jail cell was
sentenced to life in prison Wednesday afternoon.
Toronzo Thompkins, 39, was convicted of second degree murder on May 26,
2017, having been charged with the killing of Nikki Landry on September 22,
2013. At the time of the murder, Thompkins was incarcerated in the Lafourche
Parish Detention Center, awaiting trial the next day on a charge of
distribution of cocaine. Landry was to testify as a witness against
Both Landry and an acquaintance, Harry Lefort, were killed in Landry’s
Larose apartment the night before the start of that trial. Thompkins son,
Traveyon Blackledge, has already been convicted of both killings, and a
third accomplice is scheduled to go to trial later this year.
"To set up the killing of another human being for the purpose of avoiding
trial is unthinkable," said District Attorney Kristine Russell. "Life in
prison is the only appropriate sentence. While we might never be able to
give the victims’ families real closure, we can give them justice. I hope
that this begins the healing process for both of these families."
Thompkins, who is already serving a life sentence as a habitual offender
in the wake of his conviction for distribution of cocaine the week after
Landry’s murder, was sentenced by the Hon. Walter I. Lanier, III to life in
prison without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Thompkins, was also convicted of the negligent homicide of Lefort, and was
sentenced to five years on that charge, which is to be served
concurrently to the homicide sentence but consecutive to the habitual
Evidence presented at trial included jail recordings of phone calls made
by Thompkins to acquaintances, including Blackledge, seeking to have Landry
killed to prevent her testimony.
"I hope this conviction and sentence sends a strong message to anyone who
is thinking about trying to intimidate or threaten a witness," said
Assistant District Attorney Jason Chatagnier, who prosecuted the case along
with ADA Joe Soignet. "It’s just not worth it."