GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Just six days after a judge ruled that a 16-year-old accused in the stabbing death of an 18-year-old will be tried for murder as an adult, a grand jury indicted him on a second degree murder charge.
Investigators say 16-year-old Jacob Westbrook is accused of fatally stabbing 18-year-old Todd "T.J." Toups Jr. of Gonzales.
The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office reported Todd "T.J." Toups Jr. of Gonzales was killed Saturday, October 10 when he went to pick up a girl he was driving to the homecoming dance.
Sheriff Jeff Wiley described the deadly stabbing as "bizarre and damn horrible." Toups was a high school senior.
23rd JDA Assistant District Attorney Joni Buquoi, who will be lead prosecutor throughout this case, was pleased with the grand jury's decision.
"I believe the grand jury made the right decision today, although nothing we do from here on out can ever alleviate the pain being felt by the Toups family," said Buquoi. "Our aim, however, is to use the legal system to its fullest extent to at least allow that family some semblance of closure."
The stabbing happened at a home on Roddy Road in Gonzales.
Officials say Toups showed up at Cobb's Trailer Park to check on a 14-year-old female friend he had promised to drive to the St. Amant High homecoming dance. He was going to meet his date at the dance. According to APSO, he was approached by the girl's stepsister, who had threatened to stab him earlier in the week.
While he was there picking up the girl, Sheriff Wiley said, "At some point, Todd says playfully and innocently, 'Well are you going to stab me?'" "Because the other little girl had told him that her sister had said, 'She doesn't like you and she even said was going to stab you if you hurt me.'"
Wiley said three witnesses watched as Westbrook, the stepsister's boyfriend, grabbed a steak knife from the kitchen and stabbed Toups to death."And she [the stepsister] said, 'Well, maybe I will.' But the boyfriend comes from around the corner and says, 'If she won't, I will,'" Wiley added.
Toups was stabbed in the ribcage. He was able to make it outside before he collapsed, according to the sheriff.
Two adults were at the mobile home when the stabbing happened, but reports say they were in the back of the home sleeping.
He also said this was not just a fight that got out of hand.
"Westbrook takes the steak knife... and starts jabbing at our victim. Jabbing at him. Not 'I'm afraid of you, I want to leave, don't hurt me.' 'I'm going to hurt you' and it was only when young Todd tried to defend himself and tried to, I guess, diffuse the situation that we then get the fatal stabbing wound, the real stabbing wound," Wiley explained in a news conference last week.
The sheriff said investigators have no idea why the stepsister disliked Toups.
Toups, according to Sheriff Wiley, led a church youth group and was active in theater and choir.
The suspect was taken to the Assumption Youth Detention Center on a charge of second-degree murder Saturday. He is currently being held in the Ascension Parish Prison in Donaldsonville.