The men who kicked down the door of Louisiana National Guard member Jemond Cador’s Terrytown apartment mistakenly believed he’d be an “easy target” for their armed robbery scheme, according to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Homicide Detective Steven Quaintance.
“He’s a gamer, he’ll have weed in the house, and he’s not going to fight back,” Quaintance said, quoting the robbery’s alleged mastermind, Myron Lee, 20, a fellow Guard member and a friend of Cador’s.
But Cador, 21, did fight back. Lee’s co-conspirator, Gerald Little, 18, opened fire, shooting Cador seven times, according to authorities.
Lee, Little and two other men allegedly fled, taking nothing from Cador’s apartment.
Quaintance testified in Jefferson Parish Magistrate Court Feb. 3 about his investigation into Cador’s murder during a preliminary hearing in the case.
Lee, Little, Isaiah White, 20, Kewane Edwards, 21, and Matthew Smith, 20, have all been booked with first-degree murder.
Deputies were called to Cador’s apartment complex in the 200 block of Wright Avenue the afternoon of Dec. 6 to investigate a report of gunfire. Cador was dead on his apartment’s threshold.
Investigators caught a break with surveillance video that showed a black GMC Yukon with a broken right tail light pull into the parking lot around the time of the shooting, Quaintance testified. Four people exited the vehicle, three armed with guns and a fourth with a duffle bag.
After a few moments, they are seen running back to the SUV and the vehicle drives off, captured on automated license-plate recognition cameras, Quaintance said.
About 19 minutes later, a State Police trooper stopped the Yukon with the five men inside for speeding on Interstate 10 near the Jefferson Parish/St. Charles Parish line.
The trooper found three guns inside the vehicle. The weapons, a .40-caliber Glock handgun, a 9mm Glock handgun and a rifle, belonged to Lee’s stepfather and had not been reported stolen, Quaintance said. With no indication of any wrongdoing, the trooper returned the guns, cited for speeding Smith and let the group go on their way.
“He had no idea they had just committed a homicide,” Quaintance said.
But from that stop detectives now had the names of the people inside the suspect vehicle and information on the guns in their possession.
The Yukon belonged to Lee’s parents. Detectives served a search warrant at Lee’s Gonzales home, Quaintance said. They found the 9mm and the rifle, but the .40-caliber pistol, the same caliber used to shoot Cador, has not been recovered, according to authorities.
Lee admitted planning the robbery and recruiting the others through White, authorities said. Though Edwards is also a member of the National Guard, only Lee knew Cador, authorities said.
White and Edwards admitted being present, Quaintance said. White was armed with the rifle while Edwards had the duffle bag. Both claimed to have returned to the SUV before the shooting because of nerves, but the surveillance video doesn’t back their stories, authorities said.
Little admitted being the triggerman and described what happened in the apartment after they kicked down the door, Quaintance said.
“Myron and the victim started struggling,” the detective testified, describing Little’s statement. “The victim started winning the fight, at which time, Gerald Little shot and killed the victim.”
During the probable cause hearing, attorneys for the suspects pointed out that their clients were angry with Little for shooting Cador.
“The plan never included shooting Mr. Cador,” Joshua Schwartz, Lee’s attorney, said in court.
Schwartz and the attorneys for White, Smith and Edwards argued there was no specific intent to kill Cador, an important requirement in the state’s definition of first-degree murder.
Jefferson Parish Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese reminded the court that it was Lee who planned and recruited for the robbery, but the suspects didn’t abandon Little after the shooting.
“Every armed robbery is one decision away from becoming a murder case, and that’s what we have here,” Freese said.
Magistrate Commissioner Paul Schneider ruled there was probable cause to continue holding all five defendants on first-degree murder charges. He called their statements of anger towards Little “self-serving,” but agreed to set bond at $600,000 for Lee, Smith, Edwards and White.
Little was still being held without bond. All suspects are in custody at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.
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