Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Teen was alleged murderer at East Baton Rouge Parish party

The New York Times reported in January that U.S. Supreme Court rulings have not eased punishments for many juveniles imprisoned for serious offenses. A 2005 ruling banned death penalty sentences for juveniles. Five years later, the high court outlawed juvenile life imprisonment for crimes other than murder and, in 2012, ordered judges to review cases circumstances before ordering life sentences for juveniles convicted of murder.

Police are trying to learn what touched off the gunfire that injured four and killed three teens. There were fights among some of the guests in advance of the shootings at an East Baton Rouge Parish birthday party. Reports said there was no clear link between victims and the defendant or other possible shooters.

An arrest was made, following a day-long series of police interviews. A 16-year-old boy was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and illegal use of a weapon. The minor is accused of killing two 15-year-olds and an 18-year-old, and trying to kill a 19-year-old male, who survived a gunshot wound to his face. The injured teen said he didn't know the boy accused of shooting him.

Party guests described their reactions after hearing shots on a late Friday night. Some grouped together, including about a dozen people who escaped to a kitchen and then ran outside the Baker Civic Club. A member of the group was a 25-year-old videographer who witnessed two victims being shot.

After the latest Supreme Court ruling on young offenders, states were left with the choice to make changes to juvenile prison sentences retroactive. Louisiana has about 230 inmates serving life terms for juvenile murders. Courts here said juvenile life sentences ordered before the high court's decisions would not be changed.

The killing of another human being is the most serious accusation anyone can face. A well-formed criminal defense strategy is critical to avoid or reduce charges and penalties.

Source: The Advocate, "Video: Arrest made in Baker teen killings" Ben Wallace and Ryan Broussard, Mar. 30, 2014

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