Victim’s Voice: Mother furious over district attorney dropping “unlawful disposal” charge in her daughter’s death investigation

BATON ROUGE — A mother is fighting back on why an unlawful disposal charge was dropped all while trying to come to terms with a harsh reality: her daughter is never coming back. Katie Mayeaux’s body was found in her own vehicle, but on the passenger’s side floorboard in the fetal position. The official cause of death, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner’s office, was an overdose.

But Mayeaux’s mother wants to know how her daughter got herself from a gas station to a shopping center before ending up in the passenger side of a vehicle backwards, where she overdosed. She believes her daughter’s body was dumped by her boyfriend, Royayers Jackson. He was arrested on two charges, but now, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office has dropped the charge for unlawful disposal.

Mayeaux found in vehicle

On August 21, 2021, Katie Mayeaux had her nails done in the evening. She then went to Academy around 7:30 p.m. Later that night, around 1 a.m., she and Jackson reportedly filled her vehicle with gas at the Racetrack on Cedarcrest Ave. and Old Hammond Hwy. What happened between then and her death is still limited on details.

She was found in her running vehicle at the Orleans Plaza parking lot off of Florida Boulevard. Mayeaux’s body was turned backwards in the passenger side floorboard, legs in a kneeling position, left arm behind her body and her face in the passenger seat. Mayeaux’s death was ruled an overdose by the Baton Rouge Police Department in 2021. The EBR Coroner’s Office reported her cause of death to be mixed drug toxicity while the manner of death was accidental.

“Disappointment” in criminal investigation

Mayeaux’s mother was provided a copy of the toxicology report from the BRPD detective. The mother, Debbie Desadier, tells UWK that she felt like she knew BRPD would put “little, to no effort,” into uncovering her daughter’s death. Desadier said she pointed out to the detective that her daughter would not have driven to a random location, placed herself in the passenger side in such a manner and then overdosed. She was adamant to the detective that someone had killed her daughter.

After BRPD obtained video surveillance from the Orleans Plaza, Jackson was arrested for unlawful disposal of a dead body. According to Desadier, Jackson was seen driving up to the Orleans Plaza in Katie’s vehicle, wiping down his fingerprints and then walking 500 feet back to his apartment. 

The day that the detective told Desadier about Jackson’s arrest, she said she asked him about Mayeaux’s diamond necklace that she always wore. The mother said the detective told her Mayeaux was not wearing a necklace. Desadier believes Jackson took the necklace off Mayeaux after he allegedly killed her. The necklace was purchased on a trip to Arkansas, a trip Mayeaux and Jackson took together. Desadier said she believes the necklace meant something to Jackson, so he took it back. 

“I have begged the police to look at the other video footage that they have of Katie during that evening – even one at The Academy before she met up with Jackson. That surely this would show (or not show) if Katie did indeed have that diamond necklace on. I can with certainty say that the Baton Rouge City Police have never followed through with this, nor anything else as it relates to Katie’s death,” Desadier said.

Nov. 6 “trial” – Unlawful disposal dropped

Nov. 6, 2023 was supposed to be trial. But court records show that the EBR District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge of unlawful disposal of remains. Court minutes say the reason for dismissal is in the bill of information. But as of this report, no updated bill of information has been filed to provide the reason behind the dismissal.

For the charge of obstruction of justice, Jackson withdrew his previous not guilty plea and now pleaded guilty. Sentencing for the obstruction of justice charge has been set for March 25, 2024. He could face up to five years behind bars.

On the day of trial, Desadier said an assistant district attorney informed her that the state was dropping the unlawful disposal charge and making a plea deal for the obstruction of justice charge with no jail time. Desadier said she questioned why, but that the assistant district attorney said that no explanation was required.

Jackson has an extensive criminal background. Since 1997, Jackson has been charged with possession of drugs, possession of firearms, resisting an officer, domestic battery, and a number of other charges, according to court records.

Desadier’s plea to the District Attorney’s office

Desadier tells UWK that she has a message for the EBR District Attorney’s office:

I want to know why your office dropped the unlawful disposal of a body charge. I want to know what made Royayers Jackson’s actions lawful for that charge to be dropped. I want to know why your office is more concerned with prisons being overpopulated than prosecuting a career criminal for criminal behavior caught on video and why my daughter’s life didn’t matter as much as prisons being overpopulated. Why were there three different assistant district attorneys assigned to Katie’s case. Why has no one contacted me until basically the 11th hour to be told that they were having a TRIAL and a TRIAL was the last thing being done on November 6th. What does Baton Rouge stand for–putting career criminals quickly back on the streets. Will your office be dropping the unlawful disposal of a body charge in that high profile case? There is no video proof in that case. I am disgusted that my daughter’s life didn’t matter.

unlawful disposal charge dropped | Katie Mayeaux

Process by DA’s office

In criminal cases, the District Attorney’s office will often work with public defenders to create a plea bargain. Typically, in the plea bargain, the defendant’s lesser charge(s) will be dropped, and the charge(s) with longer sentencing time/heavier fines uphold.

District Attorney Hillar Moore spoke with UWK about the criminal prosecution of Jackson.

“Our decision was based on not what we think, but on what we could prove. A more certain outcome, where direct evidence supporting a conviction existed, was our goal. The charge of obstruction of justice, which Royayers Jackson plead guilty to, carries a harsher penalty of up to five years at hard labor than what he was originally charged.

I realize that nothing I say or do will ease any of Debbie’s pain which I cannot imagine.”

DA Hillar Moore

Moore said he has attempted to meet with Desadier, but due to scheduling conflicts has been unable to do so.

BRPD does not work with UWK and does not respond to any emails or questions regarding cases. It’s why BRPD does not have a response in this report.

As per BRPD General Order 139,  Public Information Officers may communicate with authorized news media representatives which is defined as “those individuals who are directly employed by agencies of the electronic or print media such as radio, television and newspapers.” 

The policy specifically states that “free-lance workers in this field are to be regarded as other members of the general public unless otherwise designated by the Chief of Police.” ~BRPD

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