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Victims say New Orleans justice system let them down, allowing abusive teen to reoffend

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — In November 2020, New Orleans police said 17-year-old Kyren Washington nearly killed Diane Rogers. They say he beat her, hijacked her and knocked her down.

“I had my hands on my steering wheel trying to get my car back,” Rogers told Fox 8. “He hit me and that’s when I fell, hit my head which started to spurting blood. I just saw him go back and crash into me.

Rogers almost died.

At 61, she had to learn to walk again. She lives with a large metal plate on her shoulder.

Washington was captured and prosecuted in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court. District Attorney Jason Williams changed the attempted murder charge against him to second-degree robbery.

“For almost knocking a person down, almost killing them?” Rogers asked. “If the steering wheel had been 3 inches the other way, I would have been dead.”

Rogers desperately wanted to testify against her attacker in court, but she never got the chance. Williams’ office admits the assistant district attorney handling the case didn’t tell Rogers about the legal process until it was too late.

Instead, a plea deal was reached and the juvenile judge sentenced Washington to probation on the condition that he complete a military-style program.

Fox 8 discovered that Washington had never been accepted into the program. Program officials say Washington’s violent criminal history of burglary and firearms charges dating back to age 13 disqualified him.

New Orleans Police(WVUE-TV)

In June 2021, Washington was released from Orleans Parish police custody on probation.

“They’re just free to do whatever they want and that’s why they keep coming back,” Rogers said. ” They do not care. They weren’t held responsible for anything. »

And that is exactly what Washington is accused of.

On Oct. 10, 2022, police say Washington, now 19, struck again after a Saints game, hijacking a young woman at gunpoint as she left her job in the CBD.

“These two guys in ski masks came out on both sides of my car,” the victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Fox 8. “Both with guns in their hands. And I immediately su ‘ok, I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get away from them.’

Stunned, she says it got even scarier when one of the men pointed a gun at her head.

“He asked me for my keys. He asked for my purse. I put them back and just backed off,” she continued.

That’s when she says she realized she still had her cell phone in her back pocket.

“I started pulling that off and one of them saw me and he asked for my phone and I said no,” she recalled. “He told me to back off. I just kept doing it. I didn’t want to get shot. »

The two armed men jumped into his car, but they couldn’t start it.

“My key is somehow broken and I’m the only person who knows how to use it,” she said. “It saved me. I don’t think they had a backup plan.

The foiled carjackers ran away while the victim dialed 911.

The NOPD responded quickly, chasing the two gunmen through the CBD where they eventually met at The Italian Pie on Rampart Street. Police were only able to capture Washington, who they believe dropped a bag of books with three loaded guns inside.

But what happened to Washington between his release in June 2021 and the October 10 carjacking in the CBD?

Fox 8 discovered that Washington still had open cases for unknown charges in the Jefferson Parish juvenile court system. He ended up in juvenile custody and was moved to a group home in Monroe – Christian Acres Youth Center.

From that insecure facility, he went to a halfway house, where police say he assaulted another offender in August 2022.

He was incarcerated at the Ouachita Parish Adult Jail, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison.

Six weeks later, he found himself in New Orleans, just in time to allegedly hijack the young woman from CBD.

Washington is now locked up in Orleans Parish Jail on $385,000 bond, but both victims say they believe the criminal justice system has failed to stop him from reoffending over the years. year.

“We need justice,” Rogers said. “There is no justice. He is dangerous. He’s still young. He’s 19 and he’s going wild. It has to stop.

His latest alleged victim is looking forward to his day in court.

“I really hope they serve justice and give him time because he doesn’t deserve to be out,” the unidentified victim said. “I think he will continue to do the same.”

Rogers wants to stand trial even though it’s none of her business to support the victim and finally have the chance to face Washington in court.

“I’ll be there. Definitely,” Rogers said. “I just want to see it one more time and I want to look the judge in the eye and hope he does the right thing.”

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