On January 4, 2019, Stephan Brooks Raby, age 33, of 60 Shorty Burgess Road, in Picayune, was issued an ROR (free bond) shortly after Raby was extradited from Mississippi to New Orleans on a cruelty to a juvenile charge. Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman issued Raby the ROR bond. ROR stands for release on your own recognizance.
Commissioner Friedman’s decision drew strong criticism from the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission's Rafael Goyeneche in lieu of the facts that were available to the magistrate commissioner in the arrest warrant.
According to court documents, Raby left Mississippi with his girlfriend Mary Palmer and the couple’s 4-year-old son in a Chevy Trailblazer, and headed to New Orleans to purchase narcotics. Once at the site for the buy, documents allege there was a disagreement, and Raby stole narcotics from the dealer before he jumped back in his vehicle and took off. The dealer, driving a red pick-up truck, sped after Raby.
While the dealer was traveling in the left lane, he drove his truck toward and hit the right rear of the Trailblazer, causing it to spin out of control and strike a tree on the neutral ground, according to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) police report. Raby’s Trailblazer then burst into flames. NOPD responded to the crash about 7:32 p.m., on Almonaster Avenue near Louisa Street according to the report.
Raby’s 4 year-old son was ejected during the crash, and the child’s mother burned to death inside the vehicle. Police booked Raby with cruelty to a juvenile based on his attempt to purchase narcotics in the presence of his son.
Goyeneche stated that the state of Louisiana went through a lot of time and effort and money to bring Raby back to Louisiana, only to have him released for free.