An Orleans Parish judge on Friday handed a five-year prison sentence to a 17-year-old New Orleans youth who pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter in the shooting death of a friend during a video game session.
Criminal District Court Judge Karen Herman imposed the sentence seven months after Dante Veals entered his plea of guilty.
A grand jury indicted Veals as an adult last summer, when he was 16, in the killing of Deion Robair in the Desire neighborhood. Robair also was 16.
Police arrested Veals shortly after the March 19, 2014, killing, which came as three friends were smoking and playing “Grand Theft Auto,” according to a New Orleans homicide detective.
Robair and Veals began to wrestle, and witnesses said Veals picked up a revolver that Robair had brought, then made a reference to Russian roulette before tucking a single cartridge in the gun.
He clicked once, then twice, before the gun fired the third time he pulled the trigger, striking Robair with a fatal shot, according to Detective Debra Normand.
The victim was “not a willing participant” in Veals’ actions, Normand testified.
Veals’ guilty plea did not come with an agreed-upon sentence. Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 40 years under Louisiana law. Herman chose five years, the maximum sentence under the lesser charge of negligent homicide.