Jury finds local man guilty of obscenity

Published 4:47 am Wednesday, February 13, 2019

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that a Washington Parish jury found Marlon D. Harwell, 58, of Bogalusa, guilty of obscenity Wednesday for an incident that occurred outside his apartment last year. Harwell faces from 20 years to life in prison as a multiple offender when he is sentenced May 3.

The Bogalusa Police Department had received numerous complaints from neighbors and parents who had reportedly seen Harwell masturbating in public view, while looking at school children boarding the bus at two bus stops near his apartment, Montgomery said. Det. Jeffrey Bergeron periodically drove around the area, but could see Harwell only sitting in an SUV. But on June 26, 2018, Harwell was caught in the act on the back porch of his home about 7:28 a.m., as Bergeron observed from a neighbor’s window. Bergeron immediately placed Harwell under arrest.

A pretrial motion, filed by the state, allowed the introduction of evidence from four of Harwell’s previous convictions — obscenity in 2014, 2004, and 1998, and indecent behavior with juveniles in 1994. Harwell also has a pending case of indecent behavior with a juvenile, in which he is accused of abusing a child.

The jury deliberated a half-hour before finding him guilty of obscenity.