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.