Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

3 indicted for Louisiana teen's murder during drug deal

Sometimes, neither prosecutors nor criminal defense attorneys dispute a crime took place. Evidence may place a Louisiana defendant at a crime scene at the time of a murder. Proof of being present is not evidence a defendant intended to cause or took part in a murder.

Three men in Orleans Parish, ages 18 to 22, were indicted on second-degree murder, armed robbery, armed robbery conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. The defendants are accused of shooting and killing an Algiers high school senior in December. Police found the dead teen in the trunk of a car in Slidell.

Authorities said the shooting and alleged robbery occurred during a marijuana deal. The oldest defendant told police he and several others men including an 18-year-old cousin -- a second defendant – went together to make the transaction. The relatives reportedly sat in a car while others outside the vehicle took care of the drug deal.

The 22-year-old accused man stated he and his cousin fled in fear after hearing gunshots. The younger cousin's story contained similar details but left out any knowledge of a shooting. Detectives said surveillance video showed all three defendants were near the crime scene in the Gentilly neighborhood about the time of the murder; a witness claimed to have overheard the cousins talk about killing the high school student.

Physical evidence reportedly linked two of the three defendants to the car in which the victim was found. Authorities said a review of the teen victim's phone records led them the older cousin. Bond for each defendant was set at $1.6 million.

Before a murder conviction can happen, prosecutors must erase a jury's doubt that a defendant is guilty. To do that, every element of the murder charge must be backed by convincing proof. The defendant's attorney may not dispute the killing but will turn the focus to mitigating the charge or penalties.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Grand jury indicts 3 in fatal shooting of Algiers high school student" Helen Freund, May. 03, 2014

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