When Malcolm Hall was arrested in September, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand branded him a “cop killer” in a fiery speech and predicted he would not soon return to the streets.
The 22-year-old New Orleans man stood accused of shooting at three Jefferson Parish deputies with a laser-sighted Glock near James and Jordan drives in Marrero on Sept. 1. None of the deputies, who the Sheriff’s Office said returned fire with 14 shots, was injured.
Normand unleashed his anger at Hall and an alleged accomplice while also responding to “Black Lives Matter” protests in other cities.
“I’m proud to say that today neither one of these individuals will decide whose lives matter anymore. It’s over for them,” Normand said after the arrests. “All lives matter, none more than blue lives.”
Normand said Hall faced a minimum of 20 years in prison on three counts of attempted murder of a peace officer.
Not long after Hall’s arrest, however, most of the case against him fell apart, court records show. Hall pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm in January, and he now stands to be released from prison in less than three years.
It’s unclear why the case against Hall cratered.
A Sheriff’s Office spokesman said Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office decided it lacked sufficient evidence, but Connick’s office declined to comment on why it refused the charges of attempted murder.
Col. John Fortunato, the Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said investigators still believe Hall pulled the trigger during the shooting, but he said deputies harbor no ill will over the DA’s decision.
“We have an excellent working relationship with the DA’s Office, and we support their decision,” Fortunato said.
A Sheriff’s Office incident report released in response to a public-records request from The New Orleans Advocate provided no details on the shooting investigation, and a probable-cause affidavit filed in court in the stolen-gun case also says nothing of note about the gunshots.
The affidavit, filed in October by a Sheriff’s Office detective, said that three days after the shooting incident, investigators executed a search warrant on a residence in the 1900 block of James Drive.
Inside, investigators said, they found a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun, a Bersa .380-caliber and a TriStar 9mm. All had been reported stolen, and all were found concealed in a room were Hall was sleeping.
Hall was arrested after the raid.
Normand said during his September news conference that ballistics testers concluded a Glock 9mm was used to shoot at the deputies, but Hall was convicted only of possession of the stolen Smith & Wesson.
The discrepancy between the gun models may mean investigators had difficulty connecting Hall to the weapon used in the shooting. His defense attorney, Matthew Goetz, would say only that “based on the physical evidence, the state elected for lesser charges.”
The case against Hall ended Jan. 11, when he pleaded guilty to possession of the stolen gun. Judge Nancy Miller, of 24th Judicial District Court, sentenced him to 30 months in prison.
Court records show that in November, the District Attorney’s Office refused three counts of possession of a stolen firearm against the man the Sheriff’s Office once labeled as Hall’s accomplice, 20-year-old Terrance Carter.
Normand also called Carter a “cop killer” during the September news conference, even though the Sheriff’s Office did not allege that Carter fired at deputies. It claimed he was with Hall shortly before the shooting and pointed out the deputies in their unmarked car, which was left riddled with bullets.
Carter is now serving a one-year sentence at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna on an unrelated charge of aggravated obstruction of a highway.