From Covington Police:
During the late hours of March 13th, the Covington Police Department received a call from a young man stating his friend was unconscious at the Columbia Street Landing. Police and Fire units immediately responded to find Alexander James Shelby, 17 years old unresponsive. Life saving measures immediately began and Mr. Shelby was transferred to a local hospital where those lifesaving efforts continued. Sadly, Mr. Shelby was pronounced dead in the emergency room.
An investigation was immediately launched into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Shelby’s death. It was learned early on in the investigation that the two teens had smoked a synthetic cannabinoid commonly called MoJo while at the Landing. A small amount of the cannabinoid recovered at the scene was analyzed at the Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab and determined to be MDMB-CHMICA, a schedule 1 narcotic under Title 40:964F(19).
As our investigation continued, we learned that our two teens purchased the drug from a local dealer named Jabari Pea. We also learned that the two had smoked marijuana with Pea in the past. On this night they wanted a different high and Pea supplied them with the deadly dose of MoJo for $20.00. March 13th was the first time Alexander Shelby smoked MoJo, and sadly his last time.
Investigators continued gathering evidence and on April 7th, the Coroner’s Office, after receiving toxicology reports, ruled the cause of death of Alexander James Shelby the result of a synthetic cannabinoid toxicity, specifically MDMB-CHMICA, and ruled it an accidental death.
The Louisiana Criminal Code Section 14:30.1 section 3 reads as follows: “When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in the schedules I through V of the Uniformed Controlled Dangerous Substances Law or any combination thereof, which is the direct cause of death of the recipient who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.”
With the evidence gathered during the investigation, we allege that Jabari Pea distributed the drugs which was the direct cause of death of Alexander James Shelby. Therefore, we have applied for, and granted by Judge Scott Gardner, arrest warrants charging Jabari Pea with the 2nd degree murder of 17 year old Alexander James Shelby. Pea was arrested late Friday night without incident and subsequently booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail. If convicted, Pea faces life in prison without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. His bond was set this morning at $200,000.00 cash, property or surety.
Last Friday I met with Alexander’s father and shared with him the reclassification of his son’s death and the subsequent warrants issued for Jabari Pea. The Shelby family has asked that you respect their privacy as they continue to mourn the loss of their son.
I would like to take a moment to thank Sheriff Strain and his staff for their quick work on this case analyzing the drugs recovered. We brought the substance to his lab in the morning and by the end of the day we had our results. I would also like to thank Dr. Preston our Coroner and Dr. Mike Defatta his forensic pathologist for their work on this case.
For those who deal drugs in our communities let this case serve as a reminder of the risk you take. The profits you realize on the backs of kids like this, and others, will secure your place in prison. We will use every resource at our disposal to track you down and hold you accountable for the innocent lives you take.
For those who think about experimenting with drugs, let this be a reminder of the risk associated with your experimentation. These two kids made a terrible mistake, unfortunately with fatal consequences. Please don’t make the same mistake.