A little more than two years after his co-defendant was acquitted, Cardale Green was found guilty Friday of murder and attempted murder in a 2011 drug-related shooting on Gracie Street in Spanish Town.
An East Baton Rouge Parish jury convicted Green, 29, of Baton Rouge, of second-degree murder in the killing of 28-year-old Derrick Casey and attempted second-degree murder in the wounding of Casey’s acquaintance.
A different parish jury found Mark David Young, 40, also of Baton Rouge, not guilty on those same charges in April 2013.
Casey’s mother, Gloria Casey, was all smiles Friday afternoon outside the courtroom after the verdicts were announced.
“For me and my family, we can move on. My nightmare is over. Our prayers were answered,” the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women corrections officer said. “It’s been four years of hell, trauma. It changed my whole life.”
Green faces a mandatory term of life in prison on the murder charge. State District Judge Beau Higginbotham will sentence him Aug. 27. The judge ordered Green held without bail.
The jury of six women and six men deliberated nearly four hours before voting 10-2 to find him guilty of murder. The jury’s verdict on the attempted murder charge was unanimous.
Green’s attorney, Robert Tucker, asked Higginbotham for a post-verdict judgment of acquittal, but the judge denied the request. Tucker argued the verdict was contrary to the evidence the jury heard.
“I’m in absolute shock,” Tucker said afterward.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the Green and Young cases presented different facts to different juries.
“We respect that decision just as much as we respect this one,” he said.
Prosecutor Leila Braswell argued to the jury that Green set up the Jan. 13, 2011, drug deal at 1841 Gracie St., a residence that Tucker called a “dope house” and “Grand Central Station.”
Braswell suggested that Green likely fired the fatal shot because a handgun found in Young’s home was linked to the crime scene but was not the murder weapon. Casey was shot three times, including once in the heart.
“If you shoot somebody in the heart, you have the specific intent to kill them,” she said in her closing argument earlier Friday.
Casey was found dead on a couch.
“He was ambushed,” the prosecutor said.
Regardless, Braswell argued, Green still was a principal to the crime and needed to be held accountable.
“Cardale Green set up a drug deal that went terribly wrong,” she said.
Tucker argued his client is innocent.
“The state did not meet its burden (of proof) beyond a reasonable doubt,” he told the panel in his closing argument. “Cardale Green is an innocent man. I want you to wake him out of this nightmare.”
Tucker also chided Braswell in front of the jury for referencing Young’s name during the trial.
“Mark Young this, Mark Young that. Where’s Mark Young? I didn’t bring him up,” he said.
Neither Young nor Green testified at Green’s trial.
Police have said Young was making an illegal drug deal with Casey inside the house while Casey’s acquaintance, Kenneth Cobbs, waited outside. Cobbs ran to a waiting car after shots rang out inside the home. Young came out of the house and fired at Cobbs, striking him in the buttocks, police stated.
Investigators received anonymous tips from the public identifying Young as the man who fired shots outside the home, court filings show.