Kenner shooter convicted of criminal damage, assault and firearms offenses

A Kenner man on probation for a 2013 felony was convicted of four more charges on Tuesday (April 26), for shooting at a lifelong friend outside a Kenner store last year, and of pointing the same pistol at the victim a day later.

A Jefferson Parish jury deliberated about an hour in convicting Otis D. Washington, 26, of 400 Warren St., as charged of aggravated assault, aggravated criminal damage to property and two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The victim, a 36-year-old man, testified that he left a store in the 1000 block of 3rd Street on April 28, 2015, when he saw Washington with a pistol and asked about it. Washington, whom the victim had known since he was a baby, responded, “I got you slippin’,” according to the Kenner Police Department.

Fearing Washington was going to shoot him, the victim and his pregnant female companion tried to flee in the four-door 1997 Buick Le Sabre the victim purchased days earlier. “The first shot hit the door, and the second shot hit the window,” the victim testified Tuesday. “And he kept on shooting … I don’t know why he did what he did, because I never did him that.”

No one was injured, although one bullet struck the front passenger seat where the woman sat, according to evidence presented to the jury. That shooting is the basis for the aggravated criminal damage charge.

The victim didn’t call police, opting to have his mother speak with Washington’s mother to resolve the dispute. But the following day, he said he was on Jefferson Highway at Wilker Neal Avenue in River Ridge when Washington pointed the same pistol at him from a passing vehicle. That encounter is the basis of the criminal damage charge and led the victim to call police, the victim said.

Washington was arrested days later at his girlfriend’s apartment in Metairie, with help from the U.S. Marshals Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Jurors heard recordings of telephone calls he made the following day from the parish jail, in which he said he paid for the victim’s window and referred to the victim as “a rat.”

He said nothing about an alibi, but during trial his attorney presented an alibi defense in arguing he was at his job as a dishwasher in a Metairie restaurant at the times when the victim said the crimes happened.

Jurors were shown photos of Washington holding a pistol that were posted on his Facebook page under the name Dwayne Carter, which is New Orleans-born rapper Lil’ Wayne’s real name. The victim testified the pistol in the photographs is the same one Washington used in the shooting and assault.

Washington was barred from possessing firearms because of a 2010 felony conviction of simple robbery, for which he received a 3-year sentence. That conviction stemmed from his snatching a woman’s purse in a Williams Boulevard pharmacy in 2008.

He now faces 10 to 20 years in prison for each of the firearm possession counts, up to 10 years for aggravated assault and from one year to 15 years for aggravated criminal damage to property. Judge Michael Mentz of the 24th Judicial District Court set the sentencing for Monday (May 2).

Less than three months before he was arrested in the shooting, Washington pleaded guilty in Judge Mentz’s court to unauthorized use of property valued at more than $500, for items police found in his possession that had been stolen in a residential burglary in Kenner in 2013.

Judge Mentz suspended a two-year prison sentence and gave Washington two years of probation. Because of Tuesday’s conviction, Mentz on Monday also will consider whether to revoke the probation, meaning Washington’s two-year prison sentence could be reinstated.

Assistant District Attorneys Angel Varnado and Douglas Rushton prosecuted the case.

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