Trial postponed for teen accused in sister’s death

The trial of Armstrong Desvallons, a Terrytown teenager accused of killing his 5-year-old sister by practicing wrestling moves on her, was postponed Wednesday for almost a month.

Prosecutors are appealing the recent decision by Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court Judge Andrea Janzen to throw out the boy’s taped confession. She found that Desvallons, who was 13 at the time of his sister’s death, and his mother, a Haitian immigrant, didn’t understand their rights when questioned by authorities.

Janzen told attorneys even if their appeal is decided at midnight the night before the trial is scheduled, the case will move forward Nov. 5.

“This date is set in stone,” she said. “This case is going to trial.”

The teenager has been held in juvenile detention since his June arrest.

Desvallons initially told authorities his half-sister Viloude Louis had merely complained of a stomach ache. Under questioning by Jefferson Parish detectives, he admitted to bodyslamming her and striking her repeatedly with the back of his elbow.

Detectives taped the interviews with the boy, who was initially questioned with his mother and stepfather present, then alone. After listening to the tapes, Janzen ruled last month that Desvallons’ mother did not understand her son’s statements eventually could be used against him.

Janzen said testimony made it clear Alourdes Desvallons thought cooperation was the only way to find out what had happened to her daughter. The fact she was the mother of both the victim and the accused made the circumstances surrounding the Sheriff’s Office interview unique, the judge said.

On Wednesday, after discovering Louis’ father and younger sister had not appeared in court to testify, Janzen told Alourdes Desvallons through a translator that they need to show up for the next court date and can be arrested if they don’t.