NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that LILBEAR GEORGE, 31, and CHUKWUDI OFOMATA, 35, both of New Orleans, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Lance Africk to Count Three of the Second Superseding Indictment, charging them with Using, Carrying, Brandishing, and Discharging of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence which resulted in death, to wit: the murder of Hector Trochez, which took place on December 18, 2013, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(c)(1)(A)(iii), 924(j)(1), and 2.
According to court documents, on the morning of December 18, 2013, GEORGE, OFOMATA and co-defendants Jeremy Esteves, Curtis Johnson, Jr., and Robert Brumfield III, robbed the Loomis armored vehicle as it was making a delivery of approximately $265,000 to the Chase Bank located at the intersection of S. Carrollton and S. Claiborne Avenues. The defendants learned about the Loomis deliveries from a known individual who was employed at this particular Chase branch. Esteves knew the bank employee and learned that the Loomis truck made scheduled deliveries to the bank on Wednesdays at approximately 10:00 a.m. The co-conspirators used this information to prepare for and plan the robbery.
As the Loomis guard, Hector Trochez, prepared to make the delivery, GEORGE and OFOMATA, both armed, exited their vehicle (a Chevy Tahoe stolen by GEORGE in preparation for the robbery), and ordered Trochez to give up the money. Trochez pulled his weapon and fired at the robbers. OFOMATA and GEORGE fired their weapons in Trochez’s direction. Johnson fired at the Loomis truck to keep the driver inside the truck. Trochez was fatally struck on the left side of his forehead and suffered a graze wound to his elbow. One of the robbers ran towards the rear of the Loomis truck and took possession of the money bag before re-entering the Tahoe. The robbers fled the Chase Bank parking lot.
A witness, seated in a vehicle at the corner of S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton Avenues observed the shooting and provided a description of the shooters and the vehicle they occupied. That witness followed the Chevy Tahoe as it fled the location of the shooting/robbery. During the vehicle’s flight, one of the shooters fired at the witness’s vehicle in an attempt to stop the witness from following. The witness observed the Chevy Tahoe arrive in the 1700 block of Adams Street and saw the four robbers exit the Chevy Tahoe and entered a Honda Accord being driven by Brumfield. After the individuals entered the Honda Accord, they fled the area.
The Chevy Tahoe was recovered by the New Orleans Police Department and searched pursuant to a federal search warrant. During the search, FBI agents observed that the steering wheel column of the vehicle had been breached. Agents located two screwdrivers on the floorboard of the Tahoe. The screwdrivers were collected and submitted for DNA testing at the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory. An unknown DNA profile, later confirmed to be that of GEORGE, was recovered from one of the screwdrivers. Based on the recovery of GEORGE’s DNA from the screwdriver, an arrest warrant was issued.
GEORGE and OFOMATA both face a statutory sentence of 10 years up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, a period of up to 5 years supervised release, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.00.
United States District Court Judge Lance M. Africk will sentence OFOMATA and GEORGE on September 29, 2021.
Co-defendants Jeremy Esteves and Robert Brumfield III were found guilty by a jury at trial in November 2019. Co-defendant Jasmine Theophile, GEORGE’s girlfriend, previously pled guilty to obstructing justice. They will be sentenced on October 13, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with the New Orleans Police Department and the Louisiana State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Brittany L. Reed and Gregory M. Kennedy are prosecuting the matter.
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