NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana man found out that turning himself in on a second-degree murder warrant in New Orleans wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
Frank Sams Jr. spent nearly an hour on Wednesday pleading with police to arrest him before they actually did, an attorney said.
The 25-year-old hoped to start the process of fighting the murder charge but lawyer Kelly Orians said deputies refused to process Sams because he didn’t have a state ID on him, The New Orleans Advocate reported.
The impasse ended after Orians produced a copy of a news article that featured Sams’ picture and noted that he was wanted for second-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a gas station clerk in September.
Orians said the whole situation was “nothing short of absolutely bizarre.”
Sams is being held on $500,000 bail. Orians accompanied Sams to the jail, but said the Orleans Public Defenders Office will handle his murder case.
Orians could only laugh at the situation, despite her concern for Sams and the shooting victim’s family.
“This is all very serious to us, and yet we walked into an agency tasked with protecting our community, and it was like it was a joke,” she said.
The Sheriff’s Office’s general counsel says it’s unusual for someone to surrender directly to jail on a murder warrant, rather than through homicide detectives. “However, our policy does not require any identification for booking. We are investigating the claims based upon the information provided by The Advocate,” Blake Arcuri said.
Police allege that Sams and Farnell Jackson Jr. were caught on video robbing the Fuel Express Mart early on Sept. 18. Store clerk Olah Bessid, 58, was fatally shot.
Jackson has been in custody since he turned himself in to police in September. He and Sams face life imprisonment if convicted of second-degree murder, armed robbery and other charges in a Jan. 10 indictment.
“Frank did the right thing,” Orians said. “He was wanted by law enforcement, and he became aware of it. He made what is, I have to imagine, a tough decision to turn himself into police, and he did it. He’s eager to fight and have his day in court.”
Sams was on probation for possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com