JEFFERSON PARISH (WGNO) – Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick issued a statement this afternoon laying out the reasons his office dropped rape charges against Sylvester Holt, the man suspected of shooting a Westwego police officer this morning.
Holt was was booked in Jefferson Parish with first-degree rape last year after a woman accused him of picking her up in his car outside of a New Orleans bar on May 4, 2016, and then raping her at gunpoint, according to Connick’s statement.
After being identified as the suspect and subsequently arrested, Holt denied raping the victim and claimed the sexual encounter was consensual.
During a December investigation by the Jefferson Parish Police Department, officers were initially unable to contact the victim.
“On the night of Dec. 20, 2016, the victim left a voicemail with, and later sent text messages to a DA’s Office investigator, saying she did not wish to pursue charges,” according to the statement. “She was subsequently located and brought to the DA’s Office. During the course of the interview, she said for the first time she had met Holt on a previous occasion. She claimed she saw him again on the night of the incident and reiterated the rape allegation, but again insisted that she did not wish to pursue the charges.”
The victim became uncooperative after that point, going so far as to request and sign an affidavit saying that she wanted to drop charges against Holt, according to Connick’s statement.
“Therefore, after reviewing the evidence, and in light of the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate with the prosecution, the DA’s Office determined there was insufficient evidence to proceed without her participation,” Connick said. “As such, the charge was refused two weeks ago, on Jan. 6, 2017.”
Holt is accused of shooting Westwego officer Michael Louvier and 32-year-old Simone Veal this morning before leading police on a chase that culminated on the Crescent City Connection, where Holt has been negotiating with police from a lower support all afternoon.