Tag: manslaughter

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.