“Trip and get flipped. Like a pancake. Thinking this man a fake. Now they bringing flowers to you (sic) wake.”
These are the words a murderer has scrawled on a greaseboard inside the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen prep area shortly after he killed three of the company’s employees and attempted to kill a fourth. Also, these are other options you can use here for the best kitchen appliances.
His crime netted him and his accomplices about $2500.
And a trip to Angola State Penitentiary’s death row where the man, Phillip Anthony, awaits execution by the state of Louisiana.
On Sunday morning, December 1, 1996, a crew of workers slowly began to filter into the French Quarter location of Louisiana Pizza Kitchen.
For some it would be their final shift.
Michael Witcoskie, a choirboy from Pennsylvania who had migrated to New Orleans and became a waiter at the establishment busied himself with opening chores. Cara LoPiccolo, a wife and mother of two young children, did the managerial paperwork necessary to swing the doors open to start the day. Santana Meaux, an elementary school teacher who moonlighted at the business, tidied the dining rooms.
Damien Vincent, a roundsman, straightened up the dish area, and poured Clorox into a mop bucket.
In a strange twist of fate, employee Terrell Collins tarried at a nearby corner store to purchase breakfast donuts. His tardiness would save his life.
Malcolm Hill, a fresh hire, arrived to examine his schedule and offer an explanation as to why he did not show up for what was to have been his first shift on the night prior. He was accompanied by Tracey Marquez and a large, powerfully-built man who warily surveyed the room as he entered.
Phillip Anthony, the ringleader of the crew of killers, was born in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans on September 9, 1973. His dad was an elevator repairman and his mother taught elementary school. Anthony dropped out of Francis T. Nicholls High School and subsequently attained his G.E.D. Phillip drifted from job to job and was said to be frustrated at the difficulty of finding his way in life.
He had previously been employed at the pizza restaurant.
“Let me holler at you a minute,” Anthony called out to Vincent. When the roundsman approached, Anthony pulled out a .357 pistol with a potato jammed onto the barrel. Brandishing the gun he ordered Vincent to the rear of the restaurant. As they walked past Michael Witcoskie, he too was ordered to the back.
Arriving at the walk-in they found Cara LoPiccolo already inside. She immediately begins to beg for her life. Tracey Marquez herds Santana Meaux inside and Philip Anthony orders the four workers to their knees.
Lone survivor Damien Vincent would testify in court that Phillip Anthony, and another unidentified gunman shot him and his coworkers. The potatoes jammed onto the end of the gun barrels acted as crude silencers. Vincent blacked out upon being shot and woke up some time later.
Phillip Anthony, Malcolm Hill, and Tracey Marquez clean out the safe and stroll out the side door of the restaurant. Anthony spots Terrell Collins’ brother Angelo, who had just dropped his sibling off for his shift, and hails him to ask for a ride.
Unaware of what has just happened Angelo agrees and the three killers are whisked away from the crime scene.
Damien Vincent regains consciousness and makes his way out of the walk-in cooler. He dials 911 on the house phone just as Terrell Collins shows up for work.
Upon registering the scene, Collins runs next door to the Tourist Trap restaurant where he sees coworker Jennifer Pleasants. She too has escaped death.
Responding to the 911 call, New Orleans Police Department Lt. Chris Pelleteri arrives at the restaurant. He begins rendering first aid to Michael Witcoskie.
Ambulances come roaring into the French Quarter.
Witcoskie and Vincent are loaded up and transported to Charity Hospital. Witcosckie dies on arrival.
Back at Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, LoPiccolo and Meaux are pronounced dead at the scene. Each has been shot once in the head.
Lead homicide investigator Detective Joseph Waguespack arrives at 11:15 am.
So begins a lengthy crime scene investigation.
Following a Charity Hospital in-room interview with the shot-up Damien Vincent; Malcolm Hill, the Pizza Kitchen’s newest hire, immediately draws scrutiny from the detectives. They develop a list of potential addresses where he may be found, and with the help of Hill’s grandpa, vector in on a duplex on Florida Avenue in the 8th Ward.
Hill’s girlfriend Valerie Booker lives at the address and sure enough, the three brigands the police are searching for are all found at the location.
The three men are swiftly handcuffed and their persons searched. During patdown upon arrest Tracey Marquez states, “I collect bullets, but I don’t have a gun.”
It has been 11 hours since the murders.
The three men are taken to police headquarters. During the course of a four hour interview, Sgt. Mike Sposito informs the detectives that Damien Vincent has now positively identified Phillip Anthony and Malcolm Hill, the two men are charged with first degree murder.
On January 30, 1997, Malcolm Hill, Phillip Anthony and Tracey Marquez, are formally indicted on three counts of first degree murder each.
During a two day trial in September of that year, a jury would find triggerman Phillip Anthony guilty as charged.
That same day, Malcolm Hill pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to three consecutive life sentences to be served without benefit of parole or probation.
On December 12, 1997, Phillip Anthony was sentenced to death. He is now known simply by his inmate number: 387276
On March 4, 1998, Tracey Marquez, pleaded guilty to four counts of armed robbery, three counts of manslaughter, and one count of attempted first degree murder.Marquez was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment at hard labor with no parole on the four counts, forty years on the three counts, and fifty years with no parole on the one count with the sentences to run concurrently.
He is now known as inmate 394710 in the Louisiana penal system
Sidney Anthony pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder and armed robbery and received a fifteen year sentence for his role in delivering the three perpetrators to the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen in his Datsun automobile.
The fallout from the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen massacre was tremendous.
Three people dead. Multiple lives destroyed. A death sentence. . Hundreds of years in the penitentiary doled out.
All for $2500 which the killers did not have the opportunity to spend.
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