Tag: manslaughter

On parole for ’94 homicide, Shawn Carter convicted of robbing Gretna store using a hammer

A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday (July 26) found Shawn Carter guilty of robbing a Gretna convenience store while using a hammer.

Carter, 50, of Avondale, is guilty as charged of the armed robbery of the business. At the time he committed this crime, Carter was on parole for killing a man by beating him to death with a hammer.

About 12:30 a.m., on Feb. 11, 2021, Carter walked into the convenience store in the 900 block of Lafayette Street. He immediately approached the 42-year-old clerk who was seated behind the counter.

Wielding the hammer, Carter demanded the clerk hand over his phone and to refrain from activating a panic alarm. He ordered the clerk to open the cash register and threatened to kill the clerk if he didn’t comply.

In opening the register, the clerk dropped the cash drawer. Carter ordered the clerk to pick up the money. The clerk refused, and so Carter grabbed him by the throat and pushed him to the floor.

Carter pocketed the money, and the clerk fled to a stock room and locked the door. Through a window in the door, the clerk observed Carter taking three bottles of liquor and fleeing on Lafayette Street toward the Mississippi River.

In addition to the cash and liquor, Carter stole the clerk’s iPhone. An hour later, Gretna Police Department detectives tracked the stolen phone to a yard in the 600 block of 6th Street, about six blocks away from the crime scene. Carter’s fingerprint later was found on the phone, leading detectives to identify Carter as their suspect.

As he fled into the residential neighborhood after committing the armed robbery, Carter discarded his Atlanta Falcons cap and shirt in the 400 block of 9th Street. Gretna police recovered that evidence using a canine, Max, which tracked Carter’s scent from the crime scene. While canvassing the area for more evidence, officers found the claw hammer in a storm drain in that same block.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Carter at his Avondale home on March 3, 2021.

A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab DNA analyst, meanwhile, found Carter’s genetic material on the cap, shirt and hammer.

On June 1, 1994, Carter used a hammer to beat Christian Smith to death. Smith, 20, was found in his home in the 2100 block of Hancock Street in Gretna. The hammer was still embedded in his skull.

Carter fled with the Smith’s car and his property, including a mobile phone. Indicted for first-degree murder, he pleaded guilty in 1996 to manslaughter and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was paroled in 2014.

The jury, which heard evidence about the 1994 homicide, deliberated less than 50 minutes in finding Carter guilty as charged of the armed robbery. Judge Ray Steib of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Carter on Aug. 21.

Assistant District Attorneys Laura Schneidau and Blaine Moncrief prosecuted the case.

John Blair McMillian gets 40-year sentence after manslaughter conviction

A Jefferson Parish judge sentenced John Blair McMillan IV to 40 years in prison on Thursday (Feb. 2), finding that he is a two-time felon under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.

McMillan, 58, of Marrero, was convicted as charged by a jury last month of manslaughter in the November 2020 death of his brother, Kenneth McMillan, 63.

The brothers, who had a volatile history, lived together in the 2600 block of Oklahoma Drive. It was there on Nov. 14, 2020, that John McMillan struck his brother, causing a brain injury that led to his death three days later.

On Thursday (Jan. 19), after denying a defense motion for a new trial and hearing an impact testimony statement by Kenneth McMillan’s son, 24th Judicial District Judge E. Adrian Adams sentenced McMillan to the maximum 40 years in prison for the manslaughter conviction.

Judge Adams separately sentenced McMillan to six months in jail for his related conviction of misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. McMillan struck Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Kristian Fricke as the officer attempted to enter McMillan’s residence while serving a search warrant during the investigation into Kenneth McMillan’s death.

On Thursday, district attorney’s office argued that McMillan is a two-time felon. Prosecutors pointed to McMillan’s 2017 conviction of domestic abuse by strangulation. That incident occurred in April 2016 inside the Oklahoma Drive home and involved his physically abusing his girlfriend. He received an 18-month prison sentence for that crime.

In finding that McMillan is a habitual offender, Judge Adams vacated the 40-year sentence for the manslaughter and resentencing McMillan to 40 years in prison. The punishment is to be served without suspension of sentence.

Judge Adams also denied the defense motion to reconsider the sentence as excessive. A 40-year sentence is effectively a life sentence for McMillan, given his age, the defense attorney argued.

Assistant District Attorneys Zach Grate and Lashanda Webb prosecuted the case.

John Blair McMillan convicted of fatally beating his brother in Marrero

A Jefferson Parish jury on Thursday night (Dec. 1) convicted John “Blair” McMillan IV of attacking and striking his brother in their Marrero home, causing a brain injury that led to his death.

McMillan, 57, is guilty as charged of manslaughter for causing the death of Kenneth McMillan, 63.

The brothers, who lived together in the 2600 block of Oklahoma Drive, had a volatile relationship that culminated on Nov. 14, 2020, when John McMillan struck his older brother.

Early on the following morning, on Nov. 15, 2020, Kenneth McMillian sent a text message to his boss, telling him that he would be unable work that day. Along with the message, Kenneth McMillian sent a photograph of his swollen face. “I’m a lil preoccupied with lil brothers habits at the moment,” Kenneth McMillan wrote, suggesting he had been beaten up again.

About 4:30 p.m., that day, John McMillan asked a neighbor to call 911, saying his brother was injured. When the neighbor asked what happened, John McMillan told him that his brother fell in the shower.

The neighbor found Kenneth McMillian lying in bed with a swollen face, a bucket and blood on the pillow and sheets. His last known words were to his brother: “Blair, leave me alone.”

Paramedics arrived and determined that Kenneth McMillan’s eyes were not responding to light and that he lost higher brain function. Doctors at West Jefferson Medical Center reached the same conclusion. Kenneth McMillan’s brain bleeding led to his being put on life support.

Kenneth McMillan was declared brain dead, was removed from life support and died on Nov. 17, 2020 with his family by his bedside. Because the matter was initially considered a medical incident, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office did not respond.

When Kenneth McMillan’s son inquired about what caused his father’s injuries during a family gathering after the death, John McMillan gave several conflicting accounts: He fell in the shower. He fell out of the shower and struck the wall. He fell out of the shower and struck his head on the toilet. There was no physical evidence that any of this occurred.

The matter would have ended there, but for the phone call Kenneth McMillan’s son placed to his father’s boss to inform him about the death. The boss mentioned the text message Kenneth McMillan sent on the morning of Nov. 15, about what his brother had done.

Already suspicious, Kenneth McMillan’s son contacted the Sheriff’s Office, leading to an investigation and detectives’ obtaining a warrant to search the McMillan brothers’ home. When the case Detective Kristian Fricke attempted to enter the residence on Nov. 19, 2020, John McMillan struck him and subsequently resisted arrest.

The Jefferson Parish Coroner’s Office, meanwhile, conducted an autopsy and determined that blunt-force trauma caused an acute subdural hematoma. The pathologist ruled the manner of death was a homicide.

John McMillan was subsequently booked with manslaughter. At trial this week, his defense team asserted self-defense and provided witnesses who described Kenneth McMillan as a bully who was in poor health.

The jury deliberated one hour before returning with its unanimous verdict about 9 p.m., Thursday. Judge E. Adrian Adams of the 24th Judicial District Court, meanwhile, found John McMillan guilty as charged of misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and battery on Detective Fricke.

Judge Adams is scheduled to sentence John McMillan on Dec. 15.

Assistant District Attorneys Zach Grate and LaShanda Webb prosecuted the case.


After fatally punching parish jail inmate, Press Shorter gets 70-year sentence

A Jefferson Parish judge on Monday (Nov. 14) sentenced Press Shorter III to 70 years in prison in finding he is a two-time felon under Louisiana’s habitual offender law.

Shorter’s most recent was conviction was for manslaughter. Shorter, 30, of Harvey, caused the death of Brian Alexander while they were Jefferson Parish Correctional Center inmates.

On Sept. 4, 2018, both men were in line to shower when Shorter struck Alexander three to four times in his head. Alexander fell backwards, his head striking the floor.

Shorter has a history of committing batteries on others. He twice struck two fellow inmates, breaking each man’s jaw bones, and he has struck corrections officers and deputies. “He has a record of being extremely violent, even when he’s incarcerated,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Benge argued in court.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators initially believed that Alexander had fallen, and the incident was treated as a medical roll. Doctors at University Medical Center, however, concluded that Alexander’s injuries were not consistent with a fall.

Alexander was kept on life support until his family could arrive at the hospital. Knowing that he would not survive, the family authorized his removal from life support. Alexander, 49, of Loranger, later died. He was in the correctional center awaiting trial for a first-degree robbery charge when Shorter attacked him.

During the subsequent investigation, Sheriff’s Office investigators determined that Shorter had complained in phone conversations about being unable to shower. On the day in question, Alexander was ahead of Shorter in the line to shower. And within 1 ½ hours of striking Alexander, Shorter was on the phone with his girlfriend, telling her he “knocked” Alexander “clean out.”

The autopsy showed that in addition to wounds to his face and head, Alexander’s skull was fractured, and his brain was swollen. Blunt force trauma caused his death, which was classified as a homicide.

A Jefferson Parish jury on Feb. 16 unanimously convicted Shorter as charged of manslaughter. After denying post-verdict defense motions to overturn the conviction, and after hearing impact testimony from Alexander’s ex-wife, 24th Judicial District Judge Danyelle Taylor on March 1 sentenced Shorter to 40 years in prison, the maximum for manslaughter.

She then ran that sentence consecutive to the 20 years she gave Shorter in January after he pleaded guilty to illegal firearms possession, resisting arrest by for or violence and narcotics offences – charges for which he was confined to the correctional center when he struck Alexander.

That meant Shorter was serving a 60-year sentence, at hard labor.

On Monday, Judge Taylor found that Shorter is a double offender, considering his conviction of a second-degree battery he committed in 2013. That and the manslaughter are crimes of violence. Judge Taylor vacated the 40-year sentence she gave Shorter for the manslaughter and resentenced him to 50 years as a double offender, bringing his total punishment to 70 years without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Benge prosecuted the case.