SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Interim Caddo DA Dale Cox says there will be no further indictments in connection with allegations of abuse at Shreveport's Fire Station 8, and allegations of misconduct by the police and fire departments in the internal investigations that followed.
Explaining that "new information" came to the attention of investigators following the arrests of the firefighters "that led them to conclude that the former fire chief had engaged in an effort to conceal these events."
Former Chief Mulford and former Fire Captain Tommy Carpenter have been indicted and are awaiting trial on those charges.
However, Cox said, "The Caddo Parish Grand Jury heard this new information, as well as other relevant evidence concerning the case and they made the decision to issue a no true bill. A No True Bill is a legal term of art that means we decline to indict. We are not going to indict anyone based on the information presented to us."
Cox declined to discuss the details of the new information, but said that he felt it was his duty to bring it before the grand jury for them to decide. "I believed that the information we received was credible enough to take to the grand jury."
The interim DA also made a point explain that the news conference was called because of intense public interest, scrutiny and criticism surrounding the case and the fallout from it.
"The men and women of the fire department risk their lives every day for us and they deserve our thanks and our respect, and I want the public to understand that because the fire department has come under intense scrutiny and in no small amount of criticism because of these events, so I think it is only fitting and appropriate that when we do bring those events to a close that that caveat is added."
Cox also thanked current SFD Chief Scott Wolverton and SPD Chief Willie Shaw, along with former Mayor Cedric Glover, current Mayor Ollie Tyler and their staffs, saying that most of the fire department personnel cooperated with the investigation and continue to do so.
As for the allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the Shreveport Police Department, Cox also wanted to clear the air and urged the public to take the grand jury's decision into account.
"The police department has labored somewhat under innuendo that they may be involved as a result of this new information and I think the No True Bill speaks for itself that the police department does not have to act under any innuendo any longer."
Cox explained that he did not go the grand jury to seek an indictment on anyone in particular, just to present the evidence and information, and let the jury decide.
Cox confirmed that the trials for former firefighter Randy Chandler is set for August. The cases of State vs Craig Mulford and Thomas Carpenter are set in October.
Cox also addressed his decision announced Tuesday that he will not be running after all for Caddo District Attorney in the Fall election, referring to an email sent to his staff on Tuesday, July 14 that explains his reason for not running.
"Doing the job of district attorney requires all my time and effort. I have come to believe that you can do the job of district attorney or you can run for the job of district attorney but you can't do both well. I prefer to do that job."
The memo, provided to the media in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, lays out the reasons in 3 points, taking on local and national media who he said have "leveled harsh personal criticism of me as an evil racist because of my position on the death penalty."
These attacks have been personal, savage, false and slanderous. These attacks are more and more directed at the office, not just me. They have taken a toll on all of us and will continue to do so. Especially abhorrent to me is the suggestion that my death penalty position is racially motivated against African Americans. I have devoted and you have devoted your careers to seeking justice for victims and their grief-stricken families without regard to race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics.
I have come to believe that my position on the death penalty is a minority position among the members of this community and would continue to be a source of controversy. Our community needs healing, not more controversy."
As for what he will do after a new District Attorney is elected, Cox indicated that he would like to stay on in the prosecutor's office.
"Someone else will take over and do it the way they want to do it. But as long as I'm here, I'm going to continue to do it the way I want to do it."