A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (April 27) found Antonio Key guilty of planning and participating in an aggravated burglary of a Metairie home in which a 67-year-old woman was severely beaten.
Key, 25, of Harvey, was convicted as charged of aggravated burglary with a firearm enhancement for his role in the April 30, 2019, crime in the 4600 block of Southshore Drive.
Key had been inside the home previously because of his job with an air conditioning company. As such, he was familiar with its complex floor plan. Key used his mobile phone to take photographs, including jewelry, and he began planning to return to commit the burglary.
Just before midnight on the night of the crime, Key and his cohorts, Rodgers Hart and Darius Daleo, arrived after traveling from the West Bank in a car that Key borrowed. Key and Hart, who wore masks, broke in through a back door while Daleo remained with the car. The residents, a 67-year-old woman and her 38-year-old daughter, were in their bedrooms when the men broke in. The daughter triggered the panic alarm.
The two men went upstairs and confronted the daughter. The mother, meanwhile, confronted the burglars, both of whom beat her. The burglars eventually fled, and the victims barricaded themselves in a bedroom until Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived, according to trial evidence.
A Louisiana State Police trooper spotted the suspects’ car on North Causeway Boulevard near Interstate 10 and attempted a traffic stop. The burglars led the trooper on a pursuit that ended near North Turnbull Drive and Johnson Street, where the driver lost control of the car and wrecked it. The three men fled on foot.
Daleo was the first to be caught. His arrest led to that of Hart, who got away that night by stealing a pizza deliverer’s car. Through their investigation, detectives identified Key as the third burglar. They arrested him days later, as he arrived at his job with the air conditioning company.
The Sheriff’s Office Digital Forensics Unit obtained incriminating evidence from cellular devices, including text messages and images that showed Key’s planning for the crime. And although Key denied involvement, his cell phone showed he was at the Southshore location when the crime unfolded, as well as in the vicinity of the wreck at North Turnbull and Johnson.
In testimony Wednesday, Key played up his service in the Marine Corps and asserted that he only had the idea of burglarizing the victims’ home. On the night of the crime, he only planned to drive to Southshore but had no intention of following through with it. He testified that he remained in the car while Daleo and Hart entered the home – an assertion directly contradicted by other evidence.
Daleo, 24, of Marrero, said he was the driver and asserted that it was Key who entered the home with Hart. Daleo pleaded guilty on Nov. 3, 2021, to aggravated burglary and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Hart, 26, of Marrero, pleaded guilty on Dec. 15, 2021, to the aggravated burglary, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to 18 years for the burglary, 10 years for the firearm offense and six months for the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The sentences were run concurrently, for a total of 18 years.
The jury in Key’s trial deliberated just over two hours before returning with its unanimous verdict. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Key on May 17.
Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Sanderson and Zachary Grate prosecuted the case.