Jury rejects self-defense claim, convicts man of Metairie barroom killing

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday (Nov. 10) found Maurice “Marlo” Leach guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting Michael Shawn Brown in a Metairie lounge.

Leach, 35, also was found guilty of obstruction of justice, for removing and discarding the pistol he used to kill Brown about 4 a.m., on May 25, 2019, inside the lounge in the 4500 block of South Interstate 10 Service Road.

According to evidence presented at trial, Leach and Brown were onetime friends who for unknown reasons had a falling out. On the morning in question, the men got into an argument while inside the lounge, according to video evidence presented to the jury.

Patrons at the business intervened to separate the men. At one point, Brown stepped back and away from Leach, and a woman stepped in between them to separate them further. Leach retrieved a 9mm semiautomatic pistol with his right hand, lunged forwarded and reached over the woman, firing a single projectile into Brown’s face.

Brown immediately fell to the floor beside the bar and died shortly after. He was 49.

Leach stood momentarily at the bar, then pulled at the barstool on which his female acquaintance sat. She remained seated. A moment later, he casually walked out the lounge’s front door. In the parking lot, he entered the rear seat of a car where a man and woman sat and asked for a ride. His request rebuffed, he then stepped out and walked away.

A week later, U.S. Marshals located and arrested Leach in his native Trenton, N.J., where he has family, according to evidence presented at trial.

Leach asserted he felt threatened by Brown and so shot him in self-defense, claiming that he thought Brown was going to pull a weapon from his pocket. At trial, his attorney asked jurors to find it was a justifiable homicide and to acquit him.

The video evidence contradicts Leach’s assertions, and Leach went to trial charged with second-degree murder. The jury deliberated about 2 ½ hours and returned with the lesser charge of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Leach on Dec. 16.

Assistant District Attorneys Brittany Beckner and Rebecca Thompson prosecuted the case.