Evidence from 2006 killing can be used in Richmond County homicide trial

Rouzan

If the prosecutor can bring in witnesses to prove that blood found on Seth Rouzan’s shoes in 2006 came from a homicide victim, the evidence can be used against Rouzan when he stands trial for a 2012 homicide.

Judge Daniel J. Craig issued the ruling Friday in Richmond County Superior Court, where Rouzan, 27, faces charges of murder and a weapon violation in the Aug. 21 killing of Joseph Williams II, 64.

Williams was gunned down on First Street in front of his 8-year-old son. The boy picked Rouzan out of a photographic lineup as the man who fired the fatal shots, Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter said.

Rouzan and a teenager charged as an adult – Ronnie Pontoon, 16 – have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The evidence from the 2006 slaying will not be used against Pontoon.

It can be presented if Rouzan is tried separately, however. In the Dec. 12, 2006, homicide, Rouzan was charged with murder, armed robbery and burglary in the death of 39-year-old Jeffrey Labord.

The victim was found shot to death on Doublegate Court in the early morning hours. The investigation determined that his assailant rummaged through Labord’s clothes to steal his keys and then drove the victim’s vehicle to Labord’s home, where he stole several items.

Witnesses told investigators that Rouzan was selling numerous items within hours of the homicide and that he told at least one person he had shot the person who owned them, Markwalter said Friday.

In July 13, 2009, Rouzan pleaded guilty to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and burglary for a recommended sentence of five years in prison followed by 15 years on probation. With credit for the 2½ years he’d spent in jail, plus good behavior, his release was granted that day.

Rouzan’s new case is on the April 22 trial calender, although Friday’s ruling can necessitate a delay.

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