Investigation far from over

St. Mary Fire District Chief Clarence Clark unrolls tape near Howard Poche’s home in Jeanerette as searchers sought Howard Poché's body in 2016.

A possible mix-up at the Acadiana Crime Lab has led the 16th Judicial District Court DA to decline prosecuting a Jeanerette man for the murder of Howard Poché on Christmas Day, 2016.

Roy Verrett, 51, was arrested in Terrebonne Parish several months later and charged with first-degree murder. A mix up in the processing of his DNA has led prosecutors to file a motion of nolle prosequi, a Latin term meaning the DA’s Office will not prosecute Verrett at this time.

According to a press release, 16th JDC District Attorney Bo Duhé’s office received notification of the error Friday along with DNA results from an independent laboratory and testimony from a DNA consultant. According to the press release, two samples may have been switched during the DNA extraction process at the ACL on two pieces of critical evidence in the case.

Poché was reported missing when he did not show up for 8 a.m. mass, as was his routine, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Jeanerette on Christmas Day 2016. When Jeanerette Police Department officers arrived at Poche’s home and went inside, they discovered Poche missing and a woman now identified as Michele King cleaning up blood in the home.

King also was arrested on other charges, including trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Poché’s body was found three days later in a trash can on the property.

The District Attorney’s Office will continue to prosecute the case against other individuals — Jeffrey Lee Marks, Brady Rogers and King — charged in Poché’s death and, according to the press release, will reinstitute charges against Verrett if credible evidence is discovered that he was involved in the death.

 

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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