Jul 212014

Prosecutors are seeking a 20-year prison sentence for a 64-year-old man with a lengthy criminal record after he was convicted last week of crashing a vehicle on Carrollton Avenue while trying to escape New Orleans police in 2010, authorities said.

John Spellman was trying to elude police during a traffic stop on Baudin Street on May 1, 2010, when he “was involved in a serious T-Bone collision” at Carrollton and Baudin, according to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office. Spellman’s record includes 10 felony convictions over the last 40 years, and he is already service a six-year sentence in a burglary case in Jefferson Parish that went to trial between the 2010 crash and his trial last week.

For details, see the following news release from the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office:

On Wednesday night, a jury found John Spellman, 64, guilty-as-charged of first degree vehicular negligent injuring and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

In late April of 2010, the vehicle owner brought his car to the defendant to obtain minor paint and body repairs. In the early morning hours of May 1st, 2010, NOPD officers on proactive patrol in Mid City observed the defendant violently swerving the vehicle on Banks Street. The defendant then stopped the vehicle in front of a bar located on Banks Street. When he attempted to turn he struck the curb, and the officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop.

The defendant initially stopped his vehicle. When the officer exited his patrol vehicle, the defendant sped away down Baudin Street at an excessive rate of speed. The officer followed the defendant but declined to match his speed. At Carrolton and Baudin, the defendant was involved in a serious T-Bone collision after ignoring the stop sign at Baudin.

Assistant District Attorneys Anghad Ghai and Lauren Favret prosecuted the case.

From 1974 to 2005, the defendant accumulated ten felony convictions including multiple burglary convictions as well as a conviction for possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Additionally, following the incident which led to the immediate conviction, the defendant was convicted of an additional burglary and aggravated flight from an officer in Jefferson Parish. He is presently serving a six year sentence on that conviction.

Prior to trial, the District Attorney’s office offered to allow the defendant to plead guilty in return for a ten year sentence. But, the defendant refused to plead to a longer sentence than the sentence that he was presently serving as a result of the Jefferson Parish conviction. The District Attorney’s office will now file a Multiple Bill against the defendant seeking to have him sentenced under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.

Because of his very lengthy record, the DA’s office believes that Louisiana law mandates a sentence of no less than 20 years.

Spellman is currently incarcerated in the Avoyelles Correctional Center, according to the Louisiana Department of Corrections. No booking photo was immediately available.

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