NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -“He took advantage of the consideration that was given to him. Instead of trying to improve his life, he went out and committed another crime,” says D.A. Leon Cannizzaro.
Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says 16-year-old Dwayne Fortenberry’s case should serve as an example of what happens when young offenders refuse to change.
Fortenberry came into the adult court system at just 15 years old accused of kidnapping.
“April of 2019, Dwyane Fortenberry pleads guilty of a simple kidnapping where he and another armed perpetrator kidnap a woman in her own vehicle in the UNO area and drive her into the Ninth Ward,” says Cannizzaro.
During the sentencing phase for Fortenberry and his 17-year-old co-defendant, the victim in the case makes a plea to the court.
“The victim requested of the court and this office that Dwayne Fortenberry should be given consideration because he was polite to her and she did not seem to fear him,” says Cannizzaro.
She asked the court not to ruin Fortenberry’s life.
Judge Laurie White considered the victim’s request and sentenced Fortenberry to a 5 year suspended sentence, meaning no jail time and placed him on probation.
“Forward to December 1st of 2019, 8 months later, Mr. Fortenberry finds himself involved in an armed robbery capper,” says Cannizzaro.
Investigators say the victim, a 72-year-old newspaper deliveryman, got out of his truck to toss a paper over a fence on Gallier St. when Fortenberry jumped into his truck.
“When he approaches his truck, Fortenberry points a gun at him and tells him to get back,” says Cannizzaro.
The victim jumped on the tailgate of the truck but was thrown off as Cannizzaro says Fortenberry got away.
Police arrested the 16-year-old the next day after they say he crashed the truck and ran from officers. Fortenberry found himself back in Judge White’s courtroom Tuesday morning, this time indicted for armed robbery.
Because Fortenberry was on probation, Judge White revoked his 5-year suspended sentence.
“That sentence will be served in the Department of Corrections,” says Cannizzaro.
Judge White told Fortenberry in open court, “Being a polite criminal doesn’t make it ok.”