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Woman sentenced in deaths of 2 who were bound and drowned

March 1, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors say a 29-year-old woman has been sentenced for obstructing justice in the drowning of a couple who were beaten, bound, and thrown alive into a shipping canal with 30-pound (14-kilo) weights tied to their ankles.

Brittany Martin was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison, with five years suspended, for her part in the 2014 killings of Kenneth and Lakeitha Joseph, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office said in a news release.

“Though it is distasteful to show leniency toward anyone involved in these heinous murders, we acknowledge that Ms. Martin’s cooperation and testimony proved crucial to the successful prosecutions of the men who conceived and carried out these brutal killings,” Cannizzaro said.

Both members of the couple from Reserve were alive when they were thrown from a bridge more than 100 feet (30 meters) above the Intracoastal Waterway in eastern New Orleans, the coroner found.

Prosecutors dropped murder charges against Martin as part of her plea deal. She testified against two men, including ex-boyfriend Horatio Johnson, whom she had met while she was a state prison guard and he was serving time for manslaughter.

Arrest documents said a Crimestoppers tip received by the St. John The Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office first pointed investigators toward Johnson, a cousin of Kenneth Joseph. The two men allegedly had a falling out over business dealings, authorities have said. The Josephs went to meet Johnson at a suburban New Orleans recording studio where they were separately lured inside, beaten and taken hostage, investigators said.

Jurors saw Walmart surveillance video of Johnson and Martin using Martin’s credit card to buy the kettlebell exercise weights found tied to the Josephs’ ankles, and the blue nylon rope used to bind them.

Johnson is serving two consecutive life terms for second-degree murder plus 60 years for obstructing justice and conspiring to do so.

The other man, Steven Bradley, was convicted of obstructing justice but acquitted of murder. He was sentenced to 35 years.

A fourth defendant, Frank Mike Jr., pleaded guilty to obstruction, cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced to nine years.

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