NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Four people have been indicted on kidnapping and armed robbery charges in connection to an incident that spanned from New Orleans East to Slidell.
District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office said the suspects are accused of kidnapping and robbing a man at gunpoint in July.
The indictment handed up by an Orleans Parish grand jury charged one count each of aggravated kidnapping and of armed robbery with a firearm against Christopher Jacobs, 18; Payton Jacobs, 19; Joshua London, 19; and Chante Simmons, 20.
If found guilty as charged of aggravated kidnapping, the defendants face a mandatory lifetime prison sentence without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence, according to
The armed robbery charge is punishable by 10 to 99 years under Louisiana law, also without benefits, according to Cannizzaro.
Criminal District Judge Robin Pittman left the defendants' bond amounts unchanged after the indictments were read, $150,000 for London and the Jacobs brothers, and $75,000 for Simmons.
New Orleans police investigators determined that the victim in the case had arranged to meet a woman he had known only through social media.
He instead was met by several armed men, later identified as London and the Jacobs brothers.
Simmons, the girlfriend of Payton Jacobs, was considered the mastermind of the plot and the mystery woman who set up the victim to be robbed, according to the report.
Cannizzaro said the victim was confronted by the armed group while waiting for the meeting in the 5900 block of Boeing Street, in the Pines Village neighborhood of New Orleans East shortly after midnight on July 2.
The victim told police he was robbed at gunpoint of his cellphone, cash, car keys and a firearm.
According to the report, while pleading for his life, the victim unlocked his cellphone, where the assailants discovered photographs of the victim displaying large quantities of cash.
They drove the victim to Slidell against his will in an attempt to extort that cash as a ransom from associates of the victim, according to the report. The victim managed to escape from the group in Slidell, and the offenders fled in the victim's vehicle, a 2010 black Ford Mustang.
London was arrested July 3, after being spotted near the stolen vehicle. The Jacobs brothers and Simmons were arrested July 18 at a residence in the 4100 block of Rye Street in Metairie.
Payton Jacobs had been arrested in connection with the armed carjacking of a woman on April 17 in the 1800 block of Dante Street in the Leonidas neighborhood. At the urging of that victim, who did not want to see the defendant punished, the state amended that armed robbery charge to felony theft of a motor vehicle. Jacobs pleaded guilty and on June 21 received a three-year suspended sentence and three years of active probation from Criminal District Judge Laurie White.
He is alleged to have participated in the Boeing Street kidnapping and armed robbery just 11 days later.
"This is an individual who received a second chance, and had a victim who was supportive to place him on probation," Cannizzaro said after last month's arrest. "That victim is now adamant about having that probation revoked."
Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Serpas presented the case to the grand jury.