Suspect in Joseph Vindel’s murder claims he acted in self-defense during dirt bike sale: JPSO | Crime/Police
Jalen Harvey, the man accused of killing New Orleans realtor Joseph Vindel after the two met to finalize an internet-arranged dirt bike sale, told authorities he opened fire in self-defense, after Vindel pointed a gun at him.
While 29-year-old Vindel was carrying a pistol, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators say the evidence – particularly the injuries Vindel sustained – does not support Harvey’s version of events. Vindel had six entry and exit wounds from gunfire, including an injury to his left hand. The hand that Harvey claimed Vindel aimed his gun, Det. Kurt Zeagler said Wednesday during a hearing in Jefferson Parish Magistrate Court on a possible cause for Harvey.
20-year-old Jalen Harvey has been booked for first degree murder and armed robbery in the death of 29-year-old Joseph Vindel.
One of the bullets that had penetrated between two fingers on Vindel’s left hand wandered through the palm and emerged from the strap between Vindel’s thumb and forefinger, “which ultimately made it impossible for him to hold the weapon, since (Vindel’s) weapon does not have one Damage showed, “Zeagler testified.
Harvey is charged with first degree murder, armed robbery, and obstruction of justice in Vindel’s March 7th death. He appeared for the videoconference hearing from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna, represented by attorneys Anthony Angelette Jr. and Mario Sanchez.
“The state had the opportunity to present its evidence. But now it is time for us to conduct our own independent investigation, ”Sanchez said in a phone call on Wednesday afternoon.
A Harvey man shot and killed the owner of a dirt bike that was on sale on the Facebook marketplace after the two agreed to meet.
During the probable cause hearing, Zeagler’s testimony revealed some new details about the case, including investigators’ suspicions that Harvey used fake money on movie props to pay Vindel for the bike.
Vindel had put his red Honda dirt bike up for sale on the Internet using online apps such as the Facebook Marketplace. Detectives learned that Harvey contacted Vindel about buying the bike through the OfferUp app, Zeagler said. Vindel and Harvey communicated through the app and later used cell phone text messages to arrange a place to sell.
Vindel left his Uptown home around 10 a.m. on March 7 and told his girlfriend that he would be back shortly, according to Zeagler. He had a short text exchange with his father right after he left the house. After that nothing was heard from Vindel again, said Zeagler.
Vindel’s family contacted the New Orleans Police Department to report a missing person later that evening, a Sunday that authorities said he had not returned home. Vindel’s girlfriend used his computer to show police the text exchange negotiating the sale of the bike, Zeagler said.
State police helped the NOPD track down the other phone number, but it turned out to be an “internet number,” Zeagler said. Internet numbers are not registered on an actual phone or device. However, state police traced the number back to an IP address used in an apartment building in the St. Germaine Apartments, 2101 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s MPs have designated parking spaces at two of their stations to serve as “safe exchange areas”.
A NOPD detective and a deputy sheriff’s office visited the apartment linked to the IP address, which Zeagler said later turned out to be Harvey’s apartment. When they got to the facility, they spotted Vindel’s dirt bike on the back patio of Harvey’s first-floor apartment, Zeagler said.
“He stated that he may have been involved in Mr. Vindel’s disappearance,” said Zeagler of the officers’ conversation with Harvey.
During the questioning, Harvey stated that he had negotiated a price of $ 2,800 for the bike and asked Vindel to meet him at an Arby’s restaurant near his home, according to authorities. The location changed at least once more before Harvey allegedly referred Vindel to his apartment on Manhattan Boulevard.
When Vindel arrived in his sport utility vehicle with the bike in tow behind it, Harvey approached and the two started talking through the window on the passenger side, Zeagler said. Harvey told investigators he handed over $ 2,800 in cash to Vindel, who grabbed the money with his right hand. Harvey said Vindel then handed the keys to his SUV so Harvey could hold them while he counted the money, Zeagler said.
Telling Harvey’s story, Zeagler testified: “For no apparent reason, while still holding the money in his right hand, Mr. Vindel pulled a pistol from his lap with his left hand and pointed it straight at (Harvey) which was Harvey’s drawing got his own gun out of his sweatshirt and shot Mr. Vindel. “
The New Orleans Police Department will set up “Safe Exchange Zones” for Internet purchases after a New Orleans man was killed last month while …
Zeagler later noted that Harvey made no effort to call authorities to report he was involved in a shootout after his life was threatened, and only revealed this after police showed up at his door.
Harvey told detectives he fired all five cartridges from his .380 caliber Taurus pistol, Zeagler said. Investigators later found this pistol, which was linked to the murder through ballistic tests, as well as Vindel’s 9mm pistol during a search of Harvey’s apartment, Zeagler said.
Zeagler told the court there was no evidence that Vindel had a gun in hand or pointed or fired the gun during his encounter with Harvey.
After the shooting, Harvey told detectives that he drove Vindel’s SUV to a nearby bank, where, according to Zeagler, he put the man’s body in the back seat. He then drove the SUV to the 2300 block on Coliseum Street in New Orleans, where, according to authorities, he left the vehicle and Vindel’s body behind an apartment building.
During the ride, Harvey told investigators he dumped Vindel’s wallet, cell phone, and the $ 2,800 he allegedly handed over for the bike, Zeagler said. Harvey threw the phone away because he said he didn’t want authorities to see the text messages between him and Vindel.
“He said he threw the money away because there was blood on it,” Zeagler testified.
But detectives suspect the money Harvey Vindel gave was wrong. When they searched Harvey’s apartment, they found 117 bills that looked like real currency, Zeagler said. Investigators searching Vindel’s SUV found a torn corner of a $ 100 bill that resembled the fake money found in Harvey’s apartment, the detective said.
Harvey rode Vindel’s dirt bike back to his apartment, authorities said. Although investigators searched at least two drainage canals, they did not find Vindel’s property.
Commissioner responsible Paul Schneider decided there was likely a reason to keep Harvey on. He was detained for first degree murder without commitment. The bond was set at $ 275,000.
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