Suspect pleads guilty to manslaughter in burning death of homeless man

NEW ORLEANS – The suspect agreed to a plea agreement, which will keep him from receiving a life sentence.

On June 5, Wednesday, 53-year-old David Klein averted a murder trial and potential life sentence by pleading guilty to an amended charge of manslaughter as part of a plea agreement.

The agreement was approved by the family of victim, 28-year-old Henry Dunaway.

Klein burned a fellow homeless man, Dunaway, to death last year behind an abandoned former grocery store in Gentilly Woods.

Under terms of the agreement, the judge imposed the maximum sentence of 40 years in state prison upon Klein.

The burned remains of Dunaway were found after firefighters extinguished a blaze set behind a store in the 4600 block of Chef Menteur Highway on Feb. 23, 2018.

Klein was arrested attempting to run from the scene after witnesses flagged down New Orleans police and identified him as the only other person seen near Dunaway before the fire and body were discovered.

Investigators recovered video surveillance footage that showed Klein running as flames began burning a cardboard box that had been placed over the sleeping Dunaway.

“This was a particularly cruel and vicious killing of a person who was sleeping and basically defenseless,” Cannizzaro said. “I am pleased that we were able to bring Mr. Dunaway’s killer to justice with an outcome tantamount to a life sentence, while sparing his family the trauma and uncertainty that would accompany a jury trial.”

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