After hearing four days of testimony, a Jefferson Parish jury returned with guilty verdicts Friday evening (June 2), convicting three West Bank men for their involvement in a chain of deadly shootings in 2013, including one in which a 2-year-old boy was severely injured.
Kevin Hicks, 28, and Kevias Hicks, 26, who are brothers, and Tommie “Tucker” Molette, 24, were convicted as charged of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges, for shooting two men in a Marrero home on Oct. 8, 2013.
Kevias Hicks separately was convicted as charged of two counts of attempted second-degree murder charges, for a retaliatory ambush-style shooting in a Marrero apartment complex alley on July 13, 2013, in which a woman and her 2-year-old son were caught in the crossfire. Kevin Hicks was acquitted of those charges.
The murder happened inside a small room of a home in the 5900 block of Becker Street. Deshon Evans, 20, who lived at the house, and a 19-year-old friend were recording music when the Hickses and Molette opened fire.
Evans was shot six times, including twice in the head, and died sitting in his chair. His friend was shot four times but survived to identify the gunmen.
In the other shooting, Kevias Hicks and his half-brother Kedrick “KK” Anderson, opened fire at an apartment complex in the 2800 block of Mount Kennedy Drive. One of the bullets struck a 2-year-old boy in the chest and exited his back.
His mother carried him to safety but, fearing retaliation, was initially hesitant to identify the shooters. Months later, she later relented and identified the Hickses and Anderson as the shooters, but she recanted during the trial on the identification of Kevin Hicks.
Anderson, 24, of Waggaman, was tried for the crimes separately in December. He was convicted as charged of two attempted second-degree murder counts. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Jan. 17.
The Mount Kennedy shooting was part of a series of violent crimes in which the Hickses and others were targeting Antione Payne – who is the father of the wounded 2-year-old boy.
In 2010, Payne and another man, Richshawn Williams, who was associated with the Hickses, were charged with an armed robbery. Payne pleaded guilty as an amended charge of accessory after the fact to armed robbery and received a two-year sentence, while Williams received a 20-year sentence for his guilty plea.
The disparity led to suspicions that Payne cooperated with authorities in exchange for favorable treatment. That made him a target on the streets, homicide detective Sgt. Gary Barteet of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office testified.
In the first known incident, in June 2013, Payne was shot at but not wounded while he was in a car at Ames and Lapalco boulevards in Marrero.
Days later, Kevias Hicks and Anderson believed they were targeting Payne at the Mount Kennedy complex. In fact, they mistakenly shot at Payne’s brother, whom he resembled. That’s when the toddler was wounded.
Three days after the Mount Kennedy shooting, on July 16, 2013, Payne encountered the Hickses, Anderson and another man as they were in separate cars crossing the Crescent City Connection to the West Bank.
Payne and occupants of the other car exchanged gunfire during the rolling shoot-out, during which Kevias Hicks was shot in the leg and a stray bullet struck a nearby motel adjacent to the elevated Westbank Expressway. Kevias Hicks was left at a New Orleans hospital, while Kevin Hicks secreted away their guns.
Then, on Aug. 12, 2013, Payne fired three bullets from a distance at the mother of Anderson’s children, as she drove in the 900 block of Beechgrove Boulevard in Bridge City. The woman’s 1-year-old son was in the car with her. No one was injured. For that shooting, Payne, 27, pleaded guilty in 2015 to aggravated assault with a firearm and received two years in prison to be followed by three years of active probation.
Analyzing spent bullet casings recovered from the crime scenes, Sheriff’s Office firearms examiner Jené Rauch determined that Kevias Hicks’ 9mm semiautomatic pistol was used in the Mount Kennedy and elevated expressway shootings and the Becker Street murder.
The group’s ongoing dispute with Payne did not factor into the Becker Street shooting. In that incident, the Hickses and Molette were seeking to kill someone else, Barteet determined. That targeted person was not at the residence, however.
The jury of seven women and five men, which was selected last week and returned to court Tuesday to begin the trial’s testimony phase, deliberated about 55 minutes in reaching its verdict.
Second-degree murder carries a punishment of mandatory life in prison with no probation, parole or suspension of sentence. Attempted second-degree murder carries a punishment of 10 years up to 50 years in prison.
Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence the trio on June 15.
Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.