A former Metairie resident who was convicted last week of attacking a man with a machete in a bar was sentenced on Tuesday (Sept. 6) to 12 years in prison.
Akando Ducksworth, 33, a native of Moss Point, Miss., received the punishment for his conviction of attempted manslaughter in the Oct. 11, 2015 attack inside the business in the 5200 block of Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie.
The 26-year-old victim lost the use of his right thumb, because it was almost severed as he raised his hand defensively to block Ducksworth’s first blow with the machete. The victim also suffered three gashes on his back and two cuts on his head, according to trial testimony.
“He had no right whatsoever to take it upon himself to make an attempt to take another human’s life,” the victim wrote in a letter to the judge, which he provided to the court in lieu of live impact testimony. “My LIFE was almost taken from me.”
The maximum sentence that Judge Nancy Miller of the 24th Judicial District Court could have given Ducksworth was 20 years. She decided on the 12-year sentence after reading the victim’s letter, the five letters written by Ducksworth’s family and friends, and hearing Ducksworth’s apology in court.
Judge Miller cited Ducksworth’s young age, his college education and the eight years he served in the Mississippi National Guard as mitigating factors in her decision. But she juxtaposed his accomplishments with his machete attack.
“The court finds it difficult to wrap my head around that those are one and the same persons,” Judge Miller said.
The incident was recorded on the bar’s security video system, providing jurors with imagery that showed Ducksworth and the victim exchanging words and shoving in the patio area of the bar. The men had a dispute over Ducksworth’s girlfriend, according to testimony.
Ducksworth then ran to his car, and the victim returned to the inside of the business, according to the video. Moments later, Ducksworth ran into the bar carrying the machete in his right hand. He ran straight to the victim and swung the large blade at least twice.
Ducksworth’s attorney argued that at best, Ducksworth committed an aggravated battery, not an attempted second-degree murder, the offense with which the defendant was charged. The jury decided on the attempted manslaughter verdict.
As he did in testimony during his trial, Ducksworth apologized for his behavior. He addressed the victim directly in the courtroom on Tuesday, and he addressed Judge Miller, asking for lenience. “I am not the animal, the monster that’s depicted on this video. Judge Miller, my life as I know it is over.”
Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute, who prosecuted the case, announced Tuesday that he intends to seek restitution in an attempt to financially compensate the victim for the medical and other costs he incurred as a result of the attack.