Ja’Quarrius Taylor murder suspect booked in jail, bond set at $800K

Published 2:51 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2020

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Joandre Dawson, 20, a resident of Highway 21 in Angie, is in the Washington Parish Jail, charged with the murder of 17-year-old Ja’Quarrius Taylor on Jan. 12. Dawson’s bond has been set at $800,000.

Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office said that the investigation into Taylor’s murder began immediately after his body was discovered near a rural pond in northeast Washington Parish the day of the murder. Sheriff’s Office detectives have worked literally around the clock to solve the murder, Haley said.

“As the investigation continued, several persons of interest were being looked at, including Joandre Dawson, and several search warrants were conducted, including more than one at Dawson’s residence,” Haley said. “The murder weapon has yet to be located; however, during the last few days, forensic examination of specific physical evidence linked Dawson directly to the crime.”

Haley said that Dawson voluntarily came to the WPSO for an interview on March 9. During the interview, he confessed to the murder, according to Haley.

“It appears that the shooting by Dawson, a cousin to Ja’Quarrius Taylor, was a crime of passion,” Haley said.

The case file and all evidence will be turned over to the District Attorney for prosecution.

Haley said that WPSO detectives conducted the diligent investigation, logging many hours of overtime on nights and weekends leading to Dawson’s arrest. Other agencies assisted, including the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, the Secret Service, Homeland Security, the division of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and staff of Rayburn Correctional Center.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab provided valuable assistance in processing evidence, Haley said, noting that FBI and Secret Service crime labs also analyzed evidence. The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office Dive Team assisted in diving the pond for two days and recovering Taylor’s cell phone, and other agencies lent resources and personnel as needed.

“There are not enough words of praise to adequate compliment the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Division for their excellent work in solving this murder,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “These fine officers willingly gave up nights and weekends to pursue any and all leads that were developed during the investigation.

They shared my sentiment of wanting to bring closure to Ja’Quarrius’ family and it was my honor to be able to call this dear mother yesterday afternoon and give her the good news about the arrest of her son’s killer. Now that our work is done, the matter is in the hands of the District Attorney, who I am certain will continue the process to ensure justice for Ja’Quarrius.”