SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – Shreveport’s mother accused of throwing her two young children off a bridge in Cross Lake, killing one and injuring the other, has spent time behind bars on prostitution, arson and other charges over the past 15 years, according to court records.
Shreveport Police sentenced Ureka Black, 32, to city jail shortly after midnight Sunday after his extradition from Harrison County, Texas. She was transferred to Caddo Correctional Center on Monday afternoon, where she was charged with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. No deposit is established.
Black was arrested on Friday hours after first responders removed the body of her 10-month-old son from the lake and then recovered her 5-year-old son, Elijah, still alive. A triage team was the first to spot the floating infant and alerted authorities. Then someone noticed that the older child was floating on his back.
Rescuers initially thought he was dead too, but he opened his eyes when he was shot. It is not known how the child, who had a facial injury, was able to stay afloat.
Authorities learned of what happened to them from Elijah, who allegedly said their mother put them in the lake.
Black’s van was found Friday afternoon at a rest area in Waskom, Texas. She was arrested there and held in Texas Jail until she returned to Shreveport.
While Black has six Caddo and five Bossier arrests on his record, his time behind bars has been minimal.
There are numerous notes in Black’s court records where she was ordered to take counseling, anger management and parenting classes as part of her convictions and court-ordered probation. Black ignored the court order or took a class or two and then quit.
Black is set to ultimately be assessed by a mental health commission for allegedly throwing his sons into the lake. The commission will determine if she is mentally fit to stand trial.
According to those interviewed so far by investigators, Black’s behavior before Friday was not that of a mother who hated her children.
KTBS is informed Thursday evening that Black left a note and money for his eldest child, a daughter, who is believed to be 12 or 13, who was in the care of a grandmother. The content of the note is unknown.
Authorities searched Cross Lake for hours on Friday looking for the girl, who was allegedly first dumped in the lake. By mid-afternoon, authorities learned that the girl was elsewhere at the time and was not involved.
Black may have been sleeping in her van when a Waskom police officer found her. He went to the rest area to be looking for Black’s pickup truck, which has Texas license plates.
“She had sunscreen on the front windshield and also had towels or blankets and the like covering the side windows because we couldn’t see her when we got in,” Police Chief Westy said Monday. Meisenheimer.
Black was uncooperative, the chef said.
“She didn’t want to get out of the van. She wouldn’t talk. You know, she just wouldn’t communicate with us,” he said.
Black’s last arrest was in April 2016 in Caddo Parish when Black was arrested on charges of human trafficking and prostitution. This is one of three arrests for prostitution on his record.
Black pleaded guilty in May 2017 to a reduced charge of procuring. She was sentenced to two years in prison and was credited for the time she served.
Upon his conviction, Black admitted to encouraging a young person to prostitute himself. She was arrested in an injection which first led to the arrest of the young girl. Detectives then used the 17-year-old to get to Black.
According to investigative reports, the minor told assistant officers that a woman, whom she called “Girk”, contacted her and told her that the advertisement she was using to solicit business was poorly edited and offered to help her do it right. “Girk” promised that in a few months the minor would drive “nice cars, buy nice clothes and have more money than she ever needed,” the girl told officers.
Officers arranged for the girl to contact Black, who was later arrested. Black refused to answer officers’ questions and requested a lawyer. Two cell phones were seized.
The other two arrests for prostitution took place in Bossier in 2011 and 2015. She was not prosecuted for the first, and for the second she did not plead any dispute and was sentenced to six months. parish prison with mention of the time served.
During his incarceration, Black wrote several letters to court officials asking how his time served was calculated. She asked for this to be corrected.
“I would appreciate it very much so that I can be home for the holidays,” she wrote in one of the letters dated October 20, 2015.
Black’s heaviest prison sentence came in connection with his 2010 arrest for aggravated arson. She broke into her ex-boyfriend’s house, accompanied by her 2-year-old daughter, and set the ground on fire. Black admitted to having an argument with the boyfriend before that and threatened him and two other people, according to an arrest report.
She pleaded guilty in September 2010 to simple arson and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. But he was suspended and instead she was sentenced to 30 days in prison. But due to further arrests, Black’s probation was revoked in October 2012 and the court imposed the original 5-year sentence. With credit for time spent in the parish prison, Black only served nine months in the State Women’s Prison.
Black was released on May 15, 2013. She was arrested for prostitution two months later.
A court transcript indicated that Black’s eldest was in foster care at the time.
Black’s probation officer asked the court to set special conditions for Black, including instituting a curfew and requiring her to attend anger management and parental education. It was based on her interview with Black, who said she wasn’t looking for a job and blamed it because she hadn’t made a commute; however, the agent said Black made inquiries about going to clubs and visiting friends.
She also wanted to know if staying outside until 4 a.m. would violate her probation, to which the probation officer said it would. Black has become “very argumentative about having to stick to one,” he wrote in a report.
Black has had other arrests for trespassing, resisting arrest, common assault, domestic violence, property damage, possession of marijuana, possession of drugs in the presence of a minor, and aggravated battery.
Editor’s Note: This story corrects the age initially given by police for Black’s deceased child from 8 months to 10 months.