3 charged: Police effort calms this community

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The grim circumstances of Michael Legg’s death were not mitigated by the arrests of three suspects. Nothing can lessen the impact of what police believe is a brutal murder.

Legg, 40, was a grandson, son, father, husband, brother, uncle and friend. His early morning, May 9 death in his own home involved the work of three suspects, Nederland police believe, all in custody by the end of last week. But at least neighbors in the Beauxart Garden Road area in Nederland can breathe some relief in the wake of the brutal killing. They no longer have to live with the fear that the killer or killers are at large.

This has all been unfamiliar terrain in Nederland, which had not experienced a murder in five years prior to this one. Police believe Legg, struck in the head with a bottle, was beaten to death. Arrested were Ashlie Cherie Martinez, 24, Duane Lamonte Owens Jr., 23, and Dcobien Dorsey, 19. Nederland police say Martinez and Owens have given statements that confirm they were at the scene. Bonds for Martinez and Owens were set at $125,000 each. Dorsey’s bond was set at $1 million.

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An arrest in itself does not prove criminal guilt. Every defendant deserves a fair trial, no matter the charges or the circumstances. That holds true for these defendants, too. To that end, the prosecution must eventually present a compelling, complete and well-prepared case to a Jefferson County jury in order to secure convictions. There may be a long road ahead before this legal process is complete.

That said, Nederland police, who worked with the aid of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, moved with swiftness and determination to solve the case and secure these arrests. Their steady work appeared to be sure-handed and exemplary.

Their case began with a tip from a neighbor about suspicious activity on her home camera, and police started their work in the dead of night, with two open doors at the victim’s residence and the victim himself prone on his own living room floor. That’s not a lot to go on and clearing a crime by arrest is never guaranteed. But police sought the public’s assistance, developed and followed multiple leads and, by all apparent measures, did their work dutifully and well.

Area residents should be pleased with the progress in this case and proud of their police department. Legg’s death mattered deeply and far beyond the realm of his own family and friends. It shook the calm of a quiet and peaceful neighborhood and was an affront to our community’s sense of right and wrong.

Next comes the court process, which should be measured, fair and thorough. We expect nothing less, for the good of all concerned.