A Jefferson Parish jury Friday night (Sept. 21) found Damon Stephney guilty as charged of the aggravated burglary of a Metairie home last year, a crime in which a victim was shot twice in the back as he fled. The verdict brings to three the number of convictions reached in the crime to date.
Stephney, 40, of Avondale, was one of two masked gunmen who forced their way into a home in the 400 block of Oaklawn Drive on the night of March 5, 2017, and ordered three residents to their knees in an attempt to rob the victims.
The partner of the homeowner, also a victim, escaped the home and was shot twice, in the back and in an arm, as he ran for help up Oaklawn Drive toward Veterans Memorial Boulevard, according to trial testimony. He survived.
Two of Stephney’s sons, Wendell Garcia, 20, of Algiers, and Damon Garcia, 23, of Avondale, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime. A fourth defendant awaits his trial.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office later found narcotics in the possession of two of the Oaklawn home’s residents, who rented rooms from the homeowner. One was booked and later pleaded guilty, and the other was given a misdemeanor summons. The narcotics were believed to be the reason Stephney and the others targeted the home.
Stephney denied being involved and fainted upon hearing the jury’s verdict, which was rendered after less than an hour of deliberation. Stephney was taken to a local hospital by ambulance.
Retired Plaquemines Parish Judge Michael Kirby, appointed pro tempore to the 24th Judicial District Court’s Division E seat, set Stephney’s sentencing hearing for Oct. 22.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.