19-Year-Old Found Guilty in Deadly High School Homecoming Shooting

Published 4:52 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

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FRANKLINTON, La. – In a pivotal verdict delivered on February 29, 2024, a Washington Parish jury found 19-year-old LaKendall Brown guilty of manslaughter following the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Jerry Smith at Bogalusa High School. The jury also convicted Brown of obstruction of justice and illegal possession of a firearm on school property.

The trial, presided over by District Judge Alan Zaunbrecher, concluded with the convictions as part of a broader initiative by Interim District Attorney Collin Sims to combat violent crime in Bogalusa. “This verdict is a testament to our commitment to ensuring safety and justice in our community,” Sims stated, emphasizing the aggressive pursuit of violent offenders.

The incident, which took place near the high school’s football stadium during a homecoming game, resulted in chaos as 19 shots were fired from three different firearms. Prosecutors, led by Doug Freese and Assistant District Attorney Jason Cuccia, presented compelling evidence, including casings and projectiles from the scene, supported by expert testimony from St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office firearms examiner Jene Rauch.

The defense argued that Smith was the initial aggressor and that Brown acted in self-defense. However, this claim was countered by witness testimonies and the prosecution’s argument that carrying weapons to prohibited areas negates the right to self-defense.

Following approximately four hours of deliberation, the jury reached its verdict. Sentencing is set for April 10, 2024, with Brown facing up to forty years in prison for each of the manslaughter and obstruction charges, and up to five years for the firearms offense.

This case has highlighted the ongoing issues of gun violence and safety in educational settings, sparking calls for increased security measures and community intervention programs to prevent future tragedies.

About Timothy Holdiness

Timothy Holdiness is a native of Louisiana and has been published in several state, national and international publications. He has earned two undergraduate degrees in Biology, most recently from Northwestern State University in 2022. Notably, Holdiness was the 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist United States Champion in PowerPoint 2010.

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