NEW ORLEANS — Two New Orleans Men were sentenced to 40 years Wednesday in connection with the 2013 murder of Loomis Armored Guard Hector Trochez, according to U.S. District Judge Lance Africk.
Lilbear George, 31, and Chukwudi Ofomata, 35, both of New Orleans, and both of who pleaded guilty in May to the killing of 45-year-old Trochez , are now in prison.
According to court documents, on the morning of December 18, 2013, George and Ofomata robbed the Loomis armored vehicle as it was making a delivery of approximately $265,000 to the Chase Bank branch located at the intersection of S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Avenues.
George and Ofomata learned about the Loomis deliveries from a known individual who was employed at that Chase branch.
A witness, seated in a vehicle at the corner of S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton Avenues observed the shooting and provided a description of the shooters and the vehicle they occupied.
They say as the Loomis guard, Hector Trochez, prepared to make the delivery,George and Ofomata, both armed, exited their vehicle (a Chevy Tahoe stolen by George in preparation for the robbery), and ordered Trochez to give up the money.
That is when prosecutors say Trochez pulled his weapon and fired at the robbers. George and Ofomata fired their weapons in Trochez’s direction. Trochez was fatally struck on the left side of his forehead and suffered a graze wound to his elbow.
One of the robbers ran towards the rear of the Loomis truck and took possession of the money bag before re-entering the Tahoe, and the robbers fled the Chase Bank parking lot.
That witness followed the Chevy Tahoe.
During the vehicle’s flight, they say one of the shooters fired at the witness’s vehicle in an attempt to stop the witness from following.
The witness observed the Chevy Tahoe arrive at the 1700 block of Adams Street and saw the robbers exit the Chevy Tahoe and enter the awaiting Honda Accord.
New Orleans police recovered the Tahoe, 10 blocks away, and searched once receiving a federal search warrant. During the search, FBI agents observed that the steering wheel column had been breaded. Two screw drivers were on the floorboard of the Tahoe. DNA was collected and later detected to be that of George.
Based on the recovery of George's DNA on the screwdriver, they say an arrest warrant was issued.
Prosecutors alleged Trochez was killed in a shootout with Ofomata, George and Curtis "Blow" Johnson Jr.
George’s attorney, Bruce Whittaker, said prosecutors breached a plea agreement that called for them to recommend a sentence of 30 to 40 years for his client. Whittaker said he tried to withdraw George’s guilty plea, but Africk denied it, according to The Advocate.
“We believe the sentence is unwarranted and excessive,” Whittaker said. “Although Mr. George is deeply sorry for the Trochez family and regrets greatly his role in what occurred, in the end I do not believe he was treated fairly by the government.”
Ofomata “took responsibility for what happened and what he did ,” said his attorney, Frank DeSalvo, on Friday. “He truly has felt awful about it and didn’t think it would happen that way, but in the spur of the moment stuff happened and he made bad decisions, and he’s going to pay for it.”
A jury deadlocked in Johnson's trial in July. A retrial is scheduled for November. Three others charged in the case will be sentenced Oct. 13.
To read more, click here for The Advocate.
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