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Murder suspect released on lowered bond rearrested after attacking relative, cutting ankle monitor, sources say

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:09 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A 20-year-old woman who was charged with murder and later released on a drastically reduced bond has been rearrested after allegedly attacking a relative and making a run for it.

Law enforcement sources tell Fox 8 Byrielle Hebert cut her ankle monitor around 2:30 a.m. on Thurs., March 3 after fighting with a relative she was staying with since posting bond. A new warrant was issued for her arrest and she was recaptured just after 4 p.m.

Hebert is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the slaying of 63-year-old Zelda Townsend. The New Orleans grandmother was shot in the head and killed during an alleged botched car burglary in Mid City on May 8, 2019.

Hebert, Emanuel Pipkins and Alvin Robinson -- who were 18, 17, and 16 at the time -- were indicted three months later on first-degree murder and other charges by an Orleans Parish special grand jury.

Emanuel Pipkins, 17, is accused of killing a woman in a Mid-City double shooting.
Emanuel Pipkins, 17, is accused of killing a woman in a Mid-City double shooting.(NOPD)

Townsend and her husband confronted the would-be burglars in the act outside of their Cleveland Avenue home, police and prosecutors said.

Townsend was shot in the head and killed. Her husband was shot in the arm when at least one of the teens opened fire on the couple. The gun Pipkins allegedly used was connected to a double shooting the night before when another couple interrupted a car burglary outside the Lots of Luck Lounge, investigators say.

Hebert’s $302,000 bond was reduced to just $7,600 on Mon., Feb. 14 by Criminal District Court Judge Angel Harris.

“The tragic murder of Zelda Townsend was not simply part of some one-off, youthful indiscretion,” former District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said in announcing the indictments. “This investigation has revealed that these teens were engaged in a deliberate, planned series of car burglaries in which they used stolen cars and were willing to shoot people without hesitation once they were cornered.”

All three face mandatory life sentences if convicted.

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