Second Man Charged in Pride-Port Hudson Shooting Death

Zebbie Berthelot

East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Detectives have arrested a second man in the murder of 33-year-old Whitney Durant of Alexandria, LA. Durant was found shot dead early Friday morning inside a residence at 15209 Pride-Port Hudson Road.

Detectives discovered that two men and Durant had been using drugs together yesterday evening when one man allegedly became paranoid before shooting and killing her.  

Steven Francisco Ortiz-Morales of 107 Beacon Hill Pineville, LA is charged with Second Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice.

Zebbie Berthelot of 15209 Pride-Port Hudson Road is charged with Second Degree Murder, Accessory After the Fact, Obstruction of Justice and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Detectives learned that Berthelot and Durant arrived together at his brother’s home earlier in the week. Yesterday evening when Berthelot, Durant and Ortiz-Morales were using drugs, Ortiz-Morales allegedly became highly paranoid. At some point Berthelot’s brother told him that he, his girlfriend and friend were not to return due to Ortiz-Morales allegedly “freaking out.” The homeowner left and later returned discovering only Durant shot dead and the two men gone.

EBRSO Homicide Detectives observed Ortiz-Morales and Berthelot on surveillance video carrying bleach inside the residence. Detectives also located bottles of bleach, a mop bucket and blood left inside the home near Durant’s body.

Ortiz-Morales was taken into custody by Zachary Police early this morning after receiving a suspicious person report. He was issued a summons for unrelated charges and released into EBRSO custody for questioning. He was found in possession of a .40 caliber handgun and wearing body armor. He told detectives he shot and killed Durant.

Detectives met with Berthelot this evening for questioning at the VCU. He admitted that he was present when Ortiz-Morales shot Durant and that he offered her no help. He also admitted to helping the shooter locate bleach for the cleanup.

Berthelot was one of the 4 men convicted in connection with the execution-style killing of LSU Student Kipp Gullett in September of 1992. Gullet was carjacked outside of his dormitory, taken to a construction site on Kenilworth Parkway and shot to death. Berthelot received a 20-year prison sentence for his role in the slaying.

In 2013 Berthelot was accused of assaulting a man in an abandoned building on Old Hammond Highway and stealing more than $6,800, then forcing the man to consume pills and have sex with prostitutes.

He is currently being held at EBR Parish Prison.