NOPD: Teen convicted in bartender's 2009 death sought for new crime

Police say teen convicted in 2009 death sought for new crime
Earnest Cloud (Source: NOPD)
Earnest Cloud (Source: NOPD)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department confirms a man wanted for a robbery last week in Algiers is the same person who was convicted as a teen in connection with the 2009 death a French Quarter bartender.

Ernest Cloud was 14 at the time of the murder of Wendy Byrne. Her friends are outraged.

"I look at it every day I walk out of the house," said friend Mike Sheehan, who is still angry. "There was no one that didn't like her. What happened to her was not deserved."

Byrne, a popular bartender, was fatally shot in the back as she walked on Gov. Nicholls Street in the French Quarter on a January night in 2009.

"To be shot in the back with nothing taken from her, it was more than a random shooting," said Sheehan.

Three juveniles were sentenced in Byrne's death. Two were tried as adults. Cloud, was 14 at the time, was sentenced to juvenile jail.

"While we sympathize with the family and the loss, we do feel Ernest has an opportunity to be rehabilitated," said Gina Womack in 2009 in her capacity with Louisiana Families and Friends of Incarcerated Children.

Cloud was released more than  a year ago and has had several encounters with the law. Last year, Cloud, then 20, was arrested for illegal possession of stolen things, a stolen car and possession of a firearm.

"I don't know why they are still not in jail. It was a Class A murder - why wouldn't you put these guys in jail the rest of their life?" said Sheehan.

But in September of 2015, the Orleans District Attorney's office refused charges against Cloud. Now he's wanted again for robbery, assault and criminal damage after allegedly threatening to kill a woman and then stealing her cell phone, at an Algiers convenience store, according to police.

"There's no rehab. Rehab doesn't work," said Sheehan.

We took a look at the store surveillance video. On it, you can see one vehicle pinning in another. After three attempts, police said the suspect in the following vehicle was Ernest Cloud.

"Why he was out of jail, I don't understand," said Sheehan, saying Byrne was killed the week before she was set to be married. "I still  have the cuff links I was supposed to walk up the aisle with her the next week."

Sheehan said he was going to give Byrne away, and he will never forgive her killers.

"I got denied that, and to this day I still cry," he said.

New Orleans police are asking for the public's help in capturing Cloud once again.

Chris Bowman with the DA's office told FOX 8 on Tuesday that charges were refused against Cloud last year, in part because he was a passenger in a vehicle at the time of his arrest.

Anyone with information on Ernest Cloud's whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Michael Guasco with the Fourth District at 658 6040, or call Crimestoppers at 822 1111.

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