Month: November 2023

Kemon ‘Tut’ Howard convicted of murdering teen outside Terrytown Library

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (Nov. 15) found Kemon “Tut” Howard guilty as charged of fatally shooting another teen in the face as he sat in a car on a Terrytown street.

Howard, 20, of Harvey, committed the second-degree murder of Ronnie Brown, 19, of New Orleans, jurors announced after an hour of deliberation. Howard was 17 when he killed Brown and was prosecuted as an adult.

At about 10 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2021, the two teens, who had been acquaintances since childhood, met outside Terrytown Library in the 600 block of Heritage Place to discuss exchanging a pistol. Across the street from the library is Terrytown Playground, where on that Sunday morning about 200 people were gathered inside the gymnasium for an event.

Brown, who drove to the West Bank with his 18-year-old girlfriend in the front passenger’s seat, initially parked in the library’s parking lot. Howard approached the parking lot on foot. Brown then pulled onto Heritage Avenue adjacent to the parking lot and asked Howard to get into the car.

Without provocation, Howard pulled out a pistol, extended his arm into the opened driver’s window and fired three bullets, striking Brown in his face and elsewhere on his body.

Mortally wounded, Brown climbed into the back seat and then out of the car through a rear door. He left the car in drive, and as it rolled up the street, Brown’s girlfriend picked up his pistol, leaned out the driver’s window and fired once at Howard in self-defense. The car struck a light post next to the library and came to a stop.

Brown, meanwhile, ran up the street to his girlfriend, pointing to his mouth. He was unable to speak because a 9mm bullet punched through his upper lip and traveled through his mouth and his neck and into his chest. He then collapsed and died in the street.

Howard fled on foot into the playground and escaped. Numerous people called 911, but callers could only provide general descriptions of the shooter’s build and clothing. Brown’s girlfriend only knew Howard through his nickname, “Tut.” Much of the incident was recorded by the security cameras at the library and a nearby home.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives identified Howard as the shooter, in part through his social media communication with Brown, and arrested him two days later.

Howard’s attorneys argued self-defense, asserting that Brown lay in wait in the back seat of a car that their client did not recognize. The attorneys alleged that Brown’s girlfriend was driving the car, which had been stolen in New Orleans, and that Brown was armed with a pistol that also was stolen in New Orleans.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Howard on Dec. 18.

Assistant District Attorneys Carolyn Chkautovich and Brittany Beckner Heckford prosecuted the case.

Charles Ross convicted of first-degree murder for killing his ex-girlfriend in Metairie

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Nov. 2) found Charles Ross guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend in her Metairie apartment while her special needs daughter watched.

Ross, 45, robbed a man of his pickup truck in Baton Rouge and drove to the 100 block of Houma Boulevard, where at about 3 a.m., on June 3, 2021, he kicked open Nygia Lambert’s apartment door and shot her eight times as she hid under her bed pleading for her life.

Lambert’s 24-year-old daughter locked herself in the bathroom and called 911, telling the operator, “Mr. Ross killed my mom.” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found Lambert’s lifeless, naked body. She was 47, the mother of five daughters and the grandmother of one child.

For that, he was convicted as charged of first-degree murder. The District Attorney’s Office did not seek the death penalty, meaning life in prison is the mandatory punishment. Jurors also found Ross guilty of attempted obstruction of justice, for fleeing with the murder weapon.

A convicted felon who served time in prison for beating a previous girlfriend and was legally barred from possessing firearms, Ross armed himself with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol and carjacked a man in Baton Rouge. He succeeded in eluding police officers who pursued him.

In testimony Thursday, Ross told jurors that upon learning Lambert ended their relationship, he went on a cocaine binge. From the witness stand, he openly admitted he killed Lambert. His attorneys asked jurors to consider convicting him of manslaughter, a lesser homicide that carries a punishment of up to 40 years in prison and involves a killing “committed in sudden passion or heat of blood immediately caused by provocation sufficient to deprive an average person of his self-control and cool reflection.”

However, the state argued that Ross’ actions bely that of manslaughter. His text messages show that a full 12 hours before he killed Lambert, Ross told another woman that, “I’m going to f— this girl up.”

When Louisiana State Police arrested Ross in Baton Rouge, he was in possession of the murder weapon and the keys to the pickup truck he stole.

The jury that was selected on Tuesday deliberated about 1 ½ hours Thursday before returning with its verdicts. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Ross on Nov. 13.

Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Blaine Moncrief prosecuted the case.