A Jefferson Parish jury on Wednesday night (March 29) found Ivory Franklin guilty of shooting a teenager in the back of his head as they walked along a Harvey drainage canal bank. Franklin also was convicted of attempting to kill a second teenager in the same shooting.
Franklin, 25, of Harvey, is guilty as charged of the second-degree murder of Reginald Black, 17, and the attempted second-degree murder of Black’s 15-year-old nephew, jurors unanimously decided after two hours of deliberations.
This marked the third time Franklin stood trial for the killings. In October 2017, a jury could not reach a legal verdict, resulting in a mistrial. The following year, a second trial was held. He was convicted as charged. He received a life sentence plus 40 years.
However, Franklin was granted a new trial in September 2020, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided in its Ramos v. Louisiana decision that non-unanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional. The jury in Franklin’s second trial did not return with unanimous verdicts.
About 3 a.m., on May 5, 2016, Franklin, then 18, and the victims were walking along the canal’s concrete embankment behind homes on Windmere Court in the Woodmere subdivision, en route to a convenience store. They were walking in a single-file line, with Black in the front and the 15-year-old in the rear.
Black asked for a light for his cigarette when Franklin pulled the revolver out from his waistband and fired once into the back of Black’s head. He then turned to the 15-year-old behind him and began shooting. One bullet ricocheted off the concrete embankment.
In testimony Wednesday, the victim stared unflinchingly at Franklin as he described seeing Black shot to death. He leapt into the canal water and emerged on the other side to seek help by banging on a resident’s front door. That resident called 911. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies who responded found Black lying face-down on the canal bank.
Franklin denied it. He blamed the 15-year-old, whom he accused of smoking marijuana and was playing with a pistol when it discharged.
The jury that was seated on Tuesday deliberated two hours before returning with its verdicts at 11:30 p.m., Wednesday. Judge Donnie Rowan of the 24th Judicial District Court is scheduled to sentence Franklin on April 28.
Assistant District Attorneys Douglas Rushton and Stephen Downer prosecuted the case.