LIVINGSTON — A man booked with murder in connection with a 2009 brawl in which one man was killed and 17 people were arrested, pleaded guilty Monday to rioting and was sentenced to five years probation.
In March 2009, Morris Laiche III, 36968 Longleaf Drive, Albany, was booked with second-degree murder in the death of Trent Stewart, 23, of Tickfaw.
The state accepted the felony rioting plea because there was an element of self-defense in the case, prosecutor Charlotte Suir said after sentencing by Judge Bruce Bennett, of the 21st Judicial District Court.
“Morris Laiche was not the aggressor,” the prosecutor said.
Another man had beaten Laiche earlier and gathered a large group that went to Laiche’s home on the night of the incident, Suir said.
Laiche’s father was on the phone to 911 when the shooting, which can be heard on the 911 tape, broke out, Suir said.
Evidence indicates Laiche went into his home, got a gun and returned fire that was coming from a truck, the prosecutor said.
A shot, believed to have been fired by Laiche, killed Stewart, Suir said, adding Stewart was in the truck from which shots were fired, but isn’t believed to have fired any shots.
The shooting occurred on a dark night. About 20 or 30 people were interviewed by authorities and a lot of stories about what happened were told, she said.
Charges of rioting against other defendants are pending, Suir said.
In addition to Stewart, four other people were shot and two others injured, who might have been beaten with pieces of pipe, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office reported at the time.
Most of the participants had left the scene, some taking injured people to hospitals, by the time deputies arrived, Chief
of Operations Perry Rushing said.
Tangipahoa Parish deputies reported they later had to quell a second disturbance between some members of the groups at a hospital where victims were taken.
Though Longleaf Drive, where the incident occurred, is in Livingston Parish, it is accessible only by going through Tangipahoa Parish, Rushing said.