Metairie man sentenced to 35 years in barroom manslaughter

A Jefferson Parish judge on Thursday (Feb. 10) sentenced Maurice “Marlo” Leach to 35 years in prison for his conviction of killing Michael Shawn Brown in a Metairie lounge.

Leach, 36, was convicted by a jury on Nov. 10 of manslaughter for the May 25, 2019, shooting inside the lounge in the 4500 block of South Interstate 10 Service Road.

During an argument, Leach removed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pants waistband, reached over a peacemaking woman who was separating the men and shot Brown in the face. Brown, 49, fell to the ground beside the bar and died, according to trial evidence. The entire incident was recorded from several angles by the business’s security camera system. Jurors were shown the recordings.

Leach walked out of the bar and was arrested a week later in New Jersey. He also was convicted of obstruction of justice for removing and discarding the pistol he used to shoot Brown in the face.

Judge Stephen Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court sentenced Leach to 20 years for obstruction of justice and ran it concurrently with the 35-year sentence he gave the man for the manslaughter charge.

Leach faced a mandatory life sentence in prison had he been convicted as charged of second-degree murder. During his trial, he asserted a justifiable homicide defense, in which he asked the jury to acquit him of the killing. The jury returned with a verdict of manslaughter, which carries a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison.

In a plea for leniency on Thursday, Leach asked Judge Enright to give him “time served,” meaning the time he was held in Jefferson Parish Correctional Center awaiting trial. He said he found religion while incarcerated, asserted he had been “rehabilitated,” and asked to not be defined by the mistake of killing Brown.

In a letter read to the court, one of Brown’s daughters said her father was killed as she was in her final semester of college, and that her younger sister was preparing to begin college. She wrote that her father won’t be there for her at her wedding in the fall, and that his death cause emotional and financial damage to the family. She asked the judge to sentence Leach to the maximum time available under law.

Among the evidence he said he considered in preparing for the sentencing, Judge Enright said he reviewed Leach’s statement to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives who arrested him. Leach, the judge said, only had remorse for himself.

Assistant District Attorney Brittany Beckner prosecuted the case.