Harvey man pleads guilty to manslaughter in woman’s shooting death

A Harvey man facing trial this week for killing his girlfriend pleaded guilty on Monday morning (Sept. 19) to manslaughter and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Eric Alexander, 21, admitted he killed Ayesha Majeed, whom he shot three times during an argument on Feb. 1, 2014. Investigators believed that Majeed, 18, of Waggaman, was fleeing Alexander and ran to a home in the 3700 block of Clover Lane in Harvey, in search of help, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The homeowner, thinking someone was trying to break in, called 911. Deputies found Majeed’s body outside the front door, amid broken glass from the house. Majeed and Alexander had an intimate relationship, although Alexander had a girlfriend.

After killing Majeed, Alexander went to a breakfast restaurant on Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans, evidence shows. The Sheriff’s Office, in investigating the homicide, obtained surveillance video from the neighborhood showing Alexander and Majeed arguing on the street, five minutes before the gunfire.

Alexander, who lived near the shooting scene, surrendered to the Sheriff’s Office. He initially denied he was with Majeed at the time of the incident. He then asserted that they were the victims of a drive-by shooting.

In a letter she wrote to the court in lieu of live impact testimony, Majeed’s sister said her younger sister planned to study cosmetology or nursing, but instead was killed “in cold blood.”

“Ayesha’s life was just beginning,” the sister wrote, adding that their father died from a massive heart attack just three days after the homicide, a death the family attributes to Majeed’s passing.

“Eric Alexander has harmed several families with his harsh decision to murder Ayesha,” the sister wrote.

Alexander apologized to “the victim’s family,” he said in court, his back turned to Majeed’s family seated in the courtroom’s audience.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday morning, as Alexander was to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder. On Friday, he turned down a negotiated plea offer reached between his attorneys and prosecutors with support from Majeed’s family, in which he would plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court told Alexander on Friday that the plea deal and 30-year sentence would no longer be available to him on Monday. On Monday morning, prosecutors were preparing to begin jury selection, when defense counsel inquired about the plea arrangement, leading to Alexander pleading guilty.

The case against Alexander, who was 19 at the time of the homicide, was built on circumstantial evidence, as there were no eye-witnesses who could link him to the homicide. The gun used in the homicide was never recovered.

Assistant District Attorneys Kellie Rish and Megan Gorman prosecuted the case.

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