Killian Hicks

Student Reporter

Originally from Monroe, Killian is a Communications major at the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a focus in Public Relations. He intends to graduate in the Spring of 2020, and then pursue a career in Public Relations or Journalism.

Since his sophomore year, Killian has written for The Hawkeye student newspaper at ULM. In his free time he enjoys film photography, surfing, and local music.

Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office /

A joint operation of Louisiana State Police Special Victim's Unit detectives, investigators from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office and FBI Task Force Agents arrested two men on human trafficking charges earlier this week.

34-year-old Jay Jaggers III of Monroe was arrested and charged with pandering and 26-year-old Vintrone Jackson of Monroe was arrested and charged with pandering and human trafficking a person under the age of 21. Both men were booked into Ouachita Correctional Center. 

ULM Gerontology Program /

The University of Louisiana Monroe Gerontology Program is hosting its second Conference on Disability Advocacy on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The conference will be held on the seventh floor of the library on campus and is free to the public.

The Conference on Disability Advocacy is meant to help empower people with disabilities and to further encourage a disability-friendly community. October is commemorated as the National Disability Employment Month and this year's theme is "The Right Talent, Right Now."

Michael Gabelmann /

The dry weather over the past month has prompted burn bans in many local parishes.

Burn Bans are in effect in these parishes:

  • Caldwell
  • West Carroll
  • Union
  • Franklin
  • LaSalle
  • Lincoln

Under the bans, burning is against the law and you can be subjected to fines and jail time.

Ted Eytan /

A United States Department of Justice release says a Monroe doctor is among a group who have agreed to pay a total of $1.1 million to resolve allegations that they have received illegal kickbacks. 

Dr. Gregory Sampognaro of Monroe, Dr. Warren Strickland and Dr. Isabella Strickland of Huntsville, Alabama, and Cardiology P.C. of Birmingham, Alabama are all included in the allegations according to the release.

Sampognaro was accused of receiving kickbacks from a Seattle-area testing company for referring people for genetic testing.

This allegedly happened between 2012 and 2013. The doctors were alleged to have accepted payments from a now-defunct testing company called Natural Molecular Testing Corporation. The Department of Justice says that the scheme was allgedly in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Civil False Claims Act.

The Dept. of Justice says the claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Dr. Sampognaro responded to the release on Wednesday:

"I have had the privilege of serving patients in our community for more than 20 years. Recently, local news media outlets have released an article regarding me without once reaching out to me for a statement. I want to set the record straight.


"To be clear: This was purely a civil issue and the fact that I settled is not an admission of wrongdoing. I chose to settle because it was far less expensive than the cost of my legal team fighting it in federal court. The actual amount of money my practice received from Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) was far less than the settlement amount.


"I want you, my community, to have the facts and full story. In 2012, My practice became involved with Natural Molecular Testing Corporation (NMTC) because it was providing a cutting edge genetic testing service, with similar testing now considered the standard of care in many patient situations. At the time we were most interested in Plavix metabolism with my patients’ best interest in mind.


"Also of interest to us was NMTC’s offer to become part of a national research registry that promised to provide profiles of my patients and practice against national experience. NMTC paid modest fees for the practice’s overhead cost for inputting data into the registry. This was a national registry and many physicians across the country were involved and compensated in the same fashion, including other physicians in our community.


"At no time was my practice involved in billing for the genetic testing to Medicare nor did the practice ever receive any such funds from Medicare in this matter, and the settlement with the government was many multiples of the amount of money paid to the practice by NMTC. I fully cooperated with the government’s investigation of NMTC.


"Although I fully disagreed with the government’s position, they ultimately offered a settlement that was substantially below my projected costs of taking my litigation against the government. I decided to put this matter behind me so I could focus on providing the best care to my patients, as I have done over the past 20 years.


"I would like to thank everyone for their support, thoughts and prayers."

Greg Sampognaro, MD

Karen Neoh /

13-year-old Lynell Reynolds was sentinced to juvenile life on August 27 for the attempted murder of a 21-year-old man.

Orleans Parish Juvenile Judge Candice Bates-Anderson sentenced Reynolds to a state juvenile facility until he turns 21.

On March 26, Reyonolds and other teens approached two men on Morrison Road in New Orleans. After demanding a dollar, Reynolds shot Darrelle Scott in the back. The bullet struck Scott's spine and left him paralyzed from the waste down.

Reynolds was found guilty in July.

Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office /

A Ouachita Parish man is accused of possesing child porn.

On Monday, August 26, 2019, 24-year-old Matthew Aaron Lewis was arrested on 100 Sam Drive in West Monroe.

Lewis was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on 50 counts of possesion of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13. His bond is $1 Million according to the arrest record.

The details surrounding the investigation have not been released at this time.

Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office /

West Monroe man arrested for accusations of having child porn. 

According to the arrest report, Timothy Adams' address is in the 100 block of Bradley Drive in West Monroe.

The 60-year-old Adams was taken into custody by the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation on Monday, August 26. He was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center on 15 counts of possession of pornography involving juveniles under the age of 13. Bond was set at $300,000.

The specifics around the arrest and charges haven't been released at this time.