WASHINGTON – A New Orleans man was charged today by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Louisiana in a 17-count superseding indictment for his alleged role in five murders, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten in the Eastern District of Louisiana and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The superseding indictment charges Steven Earl Hardrick, 27, with violations of the federal controlled substances act and federal firearms laws, carjacking, witness tampering and murder. The superseding indictment alleges that Hardrick allegedly carried out the Oct. 1, 2007, murder of Dwayne Landry; the Oct. 13, 2007, home invasion, shooting and killing of off-duty New Orleans Police Officer Thelonius Dukes; and the Oct. 24, 2007, carjacking and murder of Brett Jacobs, David Alford and Howard Pickens.
According to the superseding indictment, Hardrick conspired to possess with intent to distribute drugs. He did so by obtaining drugs through force and violence, as well as firearms, which he then used to facilitate the theft or robbery of the drugs. The superseding indictment alleges that Hardrick obtained firearms in all three incidents, and in two of the incidents, he attempted to obtain drugs. The superseding indictment alleges that Howard Pickens was killed in the Oct. 24, 2007, murders to prevent him from reporting information about the carjacking that resulted in the murders of Brett Jacobs and David Alford.
An indictment is merely a charge and a defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The superseding indictment includes offenses with a maximum penalty of death.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the New Orleans Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Duane A. Evans and Elizabeth Privitera of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Laura Gwinn of the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.