METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) — A Jefferson Parish jury finds a suspect guilty of manslaughter after the fatal shooting of a man who police say was once his friend.
District Attorney Paul D. Connick, Jr. reported on Thursday that 35-year-old Maurice “Marlo” Leach had been convicted of killing 49-year-old Michael Shawn Brown.
The case dates back to May 25, 2019, when Jefferson Parish deputies responded to an early morning report from a Metairie barroom.
Video evidence from the trial revealed that around 4 a.m., Leach and Brown had gotten into an argument at the lounge. The two had reportedly been friends at one time before having a fall-out for unknown reasons.
Hoping to defuse the situation, other visitors at the lounge worked to intervene by separating the two men. At some point, a woman stepped in between Brown and Leach. It was then that police say Leach pulled out a pistol, reached over the woman, and shot Brown in the face.
Brown immediately fell to the floor and died moments later.
Court records then say Leach stood at the bar for a few moments and then pulled at a barstool in which a woman who was with him sat. She did not get up. Witnesses say the man then casually walked out the door and into the parking lot.
Shortly after, Leach got into the backseat of a car that a man and woman were sitting in and asked for a ride. The couple rejected him, and Leach then stepped out of the car and walked away.
A week after the shooting, Leach was arrested in his hometown in Trenton, N.J. where he reportedly has family.
Leach was charged with second-degree murder along with obstruction of justice after it was discovered he removed and discarded the pistol used in the shooting.
During the trial, Leach argued the shooting was self-defense, claiming he felt threatened by Brown for fear that he would pull a weapon out of his pocket. The defense attorney asked jurors to find the shooting to be justifiable and to acquit Leach.
However, video evidence contradicted Leach’s claim.
After deliberating for about 2 1/2 hours, the jury found Leach guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. His sentencing date is scheduled for December 16.