A grand jury indicted a Baton Rouge man but took no action against his cousin Wednesday in the killing of West St. John High School quarterbacks coach Juan Joseph outside a Bennington Avenue nightclub in November.
The East Baton Rouge Parish panel charged Lemark Cloud, the alleged getaway driver, with second-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the Nov. 16 slaying of Joseph, 27.
The grand jury considered charges of second-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and illegal use of a weapon against Kendric Cloud but pretermitted those charges, meaning the grand jurors neither indicted nor cleared him.
“The case will continue to be investigated,” said Hillar Moore III, East Baton Rouge Parish district attorney. He added that his office presented all available evidence to the grand jury.
Police have alleged that Lemark Cloud, 26, 5564 Melrose Blvd., instigated the argument that led to Kendric Cloud, 25, 7140 Juno Drive, allegedly shooting Joseph. Police also have alleged Lemark Cloud then drove his cousin from the scene.
Tommy Damico, who represents Lemark Cloud, said Wednesday his client neither started the confrontation nor took part in any shooting.
“I’m not going to deny my client was there, but my guy was not involved in the shooting,” he said.
Damico also said the grand jury “got it right” in terms of Kendric Cloud, saying he was not at the scene of the crime.
Family members of Kendric Cloud have proclaimed his innocence in protests in front of Baton Rouge City Hall.
Several of Joseph’s family members were in the courtroom Wednesday when the grand jury’s actions were announced, but they declined comment afterward.
Moore acknowledged that Lemark Cloud is not the alleged shooter.
Prosecutors in January had charged Lemark Cloud with obstruction of justice, felon in possession of a firearm and accessory to second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty to those charges Jan. 29. Cloud will have to be arraigned again on the new charges.
Kendric Cloud will be relieved of his bond obligation in the Joseph case, but he remains in state custody on unrelated charges.
Joseph, a former Millsaps College standout and brother of former Southern University quarterback Dray Joseph, was leaving Allure Baton Rouge with two other men in the early morning hours of Nov. 16 when an argument began between his friends and Lemark Cloud, according to police.
Moments before, a black Mercedes allegedly driven by Lemark Cloud nearly struck one of Joseph’s friends in the parking lot outside the club. A verbal argument ensued, and that’s when Lemark Cloud got out of the car and showed Joseph and his friends that he had a handgun, an arrest warrant states.
Police reports indicate Joseph tried to defuse the situation and avoid a fight after Lemark Cloud pulled out a gun.
At some point, according to police, Kendric Cloud stepped out of the Mercedes and fatally shot Joseph. The Clouds then sped away together in the car, police have said.
Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.