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.