A Jefferson Parish jury on Tuesday night (Aug. 15) convicted Daniel Tenner of killing a Mississippi woman while robbing her during a cell phone sale arranged through social media.
Tenner, 21, of Jackson, Miss., is guilty as charged of the first-degree murder of Morgan Tyrone, 24, of Pascagoula, Miss., jurors unanimously decided after three hours of deliberations.
On the evening of April 10, 2022, Tyrone, her 22-year-old partner and their 13-month-old son traveled from Pascagoula to the West Bank so Tyrone could purchase an iPhone 13 for $300. Tyrone and a person she believed was a woman had been discussing the transaction through Facebook Marketplace. It was Tenner using a woman’s Facebook account.
Tenner directed Tyrone to an apartment complex in the 300 block of Friedrichs Road in unincorporated Gretna. There, Tenner approached the Tyrone’s minivan’s driver’s side window. During the ensuing discussion, he showed the phone he purportedly wanted to sell. He asked if they had the money and then asked if they had a tool with which he could remove the phone’s SIM card.
During that time, Tyrone and Tenner were hesitant to exchange the cash and phone. Growing doubtful that the transaction would occur, Tyrone turned away to put the cash on the minivan’s center console. That’s when Tenner brandished the pistol, pointed it at the left rear side of Tyrone’s head and shot her without provocation.
He then pointed the pistol at Tyrone’s partner in the front passenger’s seat and demanded the cash. He reached over Tyrone’s body to grab the cash and then ran away.
Tyrone’s partner called 911, but not knowing where she was, she flagged a passerby who was able to give the 911 operator their location.
Immediately after shooting Tyrone, Tenner fled to a nearby apartment and then to Jackson, Miss. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office received a tip via Crimestoppers identifying Tenner as the killer and giving his location. A U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force found and arrested Tenner in Jackson on May 17, 2022.
Sheriff’s Office detectives confirmed Tenner’s whereabouts, including placing him at the murder scene and fleeing north toward Jackson, by using his cell phone records.
During the 1 ½-hour interview with a detective, Tenner confessed. At its conclusion, the detective left Tenner alone in the room with pen and paper. Tenner penned a statement in which he admitted shooting Tyrone but asserted he did so because she “was grabbing something” or thought she was taking his iPhone. “I was giving the phone to you guys for a cheap price,” he wrote. “Yes, I am truly sorry with what happen [sic]. I am. I didn’t mean for nothing like that to happen.”
Jurors watched a video recording of that interview and read Tenner’s statement.
Tenner’s public defenders argued their client was not guilty. They asserted that he was armed because he was meeting strangers at night. Tenner became fearful when Tyrone turned away from him, the defense asserted. They also described it as “a tragic accident.” They said that Tenner did not have specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm, which are necessary elements of proving murder.
In closing argument Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney LaShanda Webb reminded jurors that Tenner threatened to kill Tyrone’s partner if she didn’t give him the cash.
“What more do you need to prove intent?” Webb argued. “If it wasn’t about robbery, why would he even take the money? Why would he reach over Morgan, who he just killed, to take the money?”
In addition to the murder, jurors found Tenner guilty of armed robbery and obstruction of justice – for discarding the firearm he used to kill Tyrone.
Judge Donald “Chick” Foret of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Tenner to a mandatory life sentence in prison on Sept. 15. The District Attorney’s Office did not seek the death penalty.
Assistant District Attorneys LaShanda Webb and Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.