A family from East New Orleans had just bought a house when they were caught up in an altercation that would change their lives forever. Double homicide charges, a confession, and delay tactics from the district attorney may have ruined their promising future. Can their lives recover from this legal nightmare?
Did the DA Delay Dropping Charges on Purpose?
On December 28, 2015, a woman and her fiancé had closed on a house together. Life seemed to be on the right track, and they would soon move out of the apartment they lived in with their four children. A new chapter in their lives was about to open, but an argument just a few hours later changed all of that.
The family arrived home to find a motorcycle blocking the entrance to their apartment. This had happened many times before, so the woman went upstairs to their neighbor's apartment to ask him to move the motorcycle. After knocking on the door, the exchange became heated, the fiancé got involved and before long there was gunfire.
According to his courtroom confession, the fiancé pulled an AR-15 out of his nearby couch when his neighbors—two 24-year-olds—reached for the guns they were carrying. Fearing for his family, the man claims to have shot the two men repeatedly. Afterward, the family loaded up in the car and fled, throwing the gun away in the process.
Prosecutors weaved a different story, saying that the man executed the 24-year-olds, unprovoked and that the man's fiancée stood by his side and did nothing. The DA filed double homicide charges against the couple. However, forensic evidence matched the couple's story more than it did the DA's. After the man's courtroom confession and conviction on lesser manslaughter charges, the counts against his fiancée were dropped, but this took years and cost the family dearly.
Due to their incarceration, the couple lost the house they had just bought. The woman soon lost her job and was cut off from their children, though the evidence showed she was not involved in the shooting. A witness would later claim that the only reason the warrant had been made for the woman was because she stood next to her fiancé during the shooting. She now must face lesser charges filed after incidents that happened when she was on bail for the charges that didn't need to be filed. There's no word on whether the woman is considering a civil court case against prosecutors.
Facing criminal court charges of any type can be devastating for your life and family, even when those charges are unfounded. Getting representation that will fight for you and move to get the most expedient result is a must for the families involved. To learn more, keep following the New Orleans criminal law attorneys at Martzell, Bickford & Centola—helping people in their hour of need.