A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Nov. 8) convicted Corey Woods of killing three people as they sat in a car on a Metairie street last year, finding that he executed one victim and then shot two others to eliminate the witnesses. One of the victims was a 16-year-old girl, whom Woods shot in the back of her head as she attempted to flee for her life, according to the evidence presented during the three-day trial.
Woods, 33, of Metairie, who is known by the nickname “Cocomo,” was convicted as charged of three counts of second-degree murder and of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
About 9:45 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2017, Woods sat in the rear driver’s side seat of a car when he opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. His target was Malcolm Wallace, 25, of Metairie. He also shot Wallace’s girlfriend Daneka Lott, 24, of Kenner; and Wallace’s teenage sister, whose name is withheld because she was a juvenile, according to trial evidence.
Sitting in the front passenger seat of the 2006 Honda Accord, Wallace was struck twice. One of the bullets severed his spinal cord, causing an injury that would have left him paralyzed had he survived, forensic pathologist Dana Trosclair testified. Lott, the driver, was shot in the right side of her head. She and Wallace died later at a hospital. The 16-year-old girl was struck in the back of her head and died in the back seat, behind where her brother sat, according to testimony.
“You can conclude by the evidence they were killed by ambush,” Assistant District Attorney Doug Freese, prosecuting with Lynn Schiffman, told jurors.
Woods had spent the evening earlier with Wallace and his family watching a football game, after which the four people drove to a sporting goods store on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, where Lott and Bates went inside to purchase slippers, according to testimony.
They returned to the neighborhood from the store and a fast-food restaurant when Lott pulled to the side of road in the 1400 block of South Laurel Street, just off Mistletoe Street. That’s where Woods began shooting. After the shooting, the car, still in the drive gear, moved forward and struck a utility pole, according to testimony.
Woods ran north on South Laurel, crossing a drainage canal along Airline Drive while apparently wearing the slippers that Lott and Bates purchased at the sporting goods store shortly before. He fled in the direction of his neighborhood just north of Airline Drive at David Drive, according to testimony.
A combination of witness interviews and business surveillance video led Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Joe Waguespack to identify Woods as the killer.
Woods denied all four charges. His public defenders argued that Wallace previously attempted the armed robbery of an elderly woman, and that woman’s great-grandson committed the murders in retaliation.
Wallace was prohibited from possessing guns because of his felony narcotics convictions. He faces life in prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.
Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Woods on Dec. 3.
(UPDATE: Woods’ sentencing hearing was continued to Jan. 7, 2019.)
Assistant District Attorneys Doug Freese and Lynn Schiffman prosecuted the case.