A Jefferson Parish grand jury handed over an indictment charging Jalen Harvey with first degree murder in the death of Joseph Vindel, a New Orleans man, officials say Harvey was fatally shot as he was was posing as a potential buyer for an off-road motorcycle that had been advertised online.
Harvey, 21, has also been charged with obstruction of justice and abuse of currency instruments, Jefferson Parish Court records show. The indictment was released Thursday.
Vindel, 29, was selling a red Honda off-road motorcycle and advertised the vehicle on several online marketplace apps, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Harvey contacted Vindel through the OfferUp app and expressed interest in purchasing it for $ 2,800, authorities said.
The two made arrangements to meet on the morning of March 7. Vindel left his Uptown home around 10 a.m. with the all-terrain motorcycle on a trailer towed behind his sport utility vehicle.
Vindel’s girlfriend and relatives called New Orleans Police to report his disappearance later that evening after he never returned home.
Jalen Harvey, the man accused of killing New Orleans realtor Joseph Vindel after the couple met to close the sale of an all-terrain motorcycle that had …
Authorities traced the phone number used to contact Vindel to Harvey’s West Bank residence, The St. Germaine Apartments in the 2100 block of Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey, the sheriff’s office said. Investigators spotted Vindel’s off-road motorcycle on Harvey’s back patio, authorities said.
Harvey admitted to shooting Vindel, but told detectives he acted in self-defense after Vindel pointed a gun at him during the transaction, according to the sheriff’s office.
But investigators said the evidence did not support Harvey’s claim. During a court hearing, a detective noted that Vindel had suffered injuries to his hand that would have prevented him from holding a gun at the time he was shot.
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Harvey has been charged with obstructing justice for allegedly trying to hide evidence of the murder. Detectives say he drove Vindel’s SUV, with Vindel’s body still inside, to New Orleans where he abandoned the vehicle in the 2300 block of Coliseum Street, the sheriff’s office said.
Harvey then allegedly took Vindel’s bike and drove it back to his apartment.
Harvey has also been charged with misuse of monetary instruments because investigators suspect he tried to pay Vindel for the bike using bogus money, a movie prop.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office has yet to reveal whether prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty on a conviction for first degree murder.
Defense attorneys for Harvey have asked the court for a common sense hearing to determine whether their client is mentally capable enough to stand trial, court records show. The motion did not specify any specific reason for the request.
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Harvey’s common sense hearing and arraignment is scheduled for July 21.
Harvey was being held without bail Tuesday at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna for first degree murder. The bond on the other two charges has been set at $ 150,000.