Two West Bank men were convicted Friday night (May 19) of killing a pair of half-brothers, who were gunned down in an ambush as they sat in a car on a residential Marrero street.
Jordan Hicks, 24, of Westwego, was convicted as charged of two counts of second-degree murder. Ernest Payne Jr., 28, of Marrero, was convicted of two counts of manslaughter, a responsive verdict.
They were convicted in the Aug. 12, 2012, deaths of Martin “Marty” Harry, 19, and Delanta “Dig” McCall, 21.
The victims were shot while in Harry’s 2003 Nissan Maxima, which Harry stopped in the 1600 block of Julie Street at Second Zion Street, in Marrero’s Acre Road public housing development.
According to witness testimony, gunmen in Julie Street behind Harry’s car opened fire, from near Payne’s white pickup truck. A bullet struck McCall in the left side of his head, killing him where he sat in the front passenger seat. Bullets struck driver Harry in the top of his head and the back of his neck, severing his spinal cord. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
Their cousin was in the back seat, sitting behind McCall. He was able to flee the car and later identified Hicks as the gunman who approached the car from the rear driver’s side. The cousin also identified Payne as being at the scene.
Beside Harry was an AK-47 rifle, and McCall had a pistol. Evidence showed the men legally purchased the firearms, which they fired at a gun range hours before they were killed. Deputies found three short videos of their being at the gun range on McCall’s cell phone, and they recovered paper targets in the trunk of Harry’s car.
Although numerous people were outside and near the shooting scene, none was voluntarily forthcoming with information, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Travis Eserman testified. He said residents feared retaliation if they were seen speaking with deputies.
The jury of five women and seven men deliberated four hours. Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court scheduled the sentencing for June 7.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.