A Gretna resident has confessed to killing another man in the French Quarter early Thursday during a marijuana deal gone bad, police said, but he claims he acted in self-defense.
Police booked William Richardson IV, 23, on a count of second-degree murder after the shooting, which happened in the 900 block of St. Ann Street near Burgundy Street about 12:45 a.m.
The victim was shot in the face and died after being taken to Interim LSU Hospital.
Police said three men were inside a black 2006 Ford Mustang when the drug deal went wrong. Only two of them left alive.
The unnamed surviving man told police that he and the victim were trying to purchase marijuana from Richardson, whom they did not know. He said Richardson attempted to rob both men, at which point a struggle ensued and the victim was shot. The third man said he then jumped into the back seat of the vehicle and struggled with Richardson until police arrived.
Richardson told a different story. He claimed the other two men got in his car and tried to rob him and that he shot in self-defense.
Police said an onlooker flagged down 8th District officers after the shooting, and that they found the victim with a gunshot wound to the jaw and the other two men unharmed. Both Richardson and the other surviving man were detained for questioning.
In a Thursday afternoon court hearing, Richardson’s public defender, Jill Pasquarella, noted the conflicts in the accounts given by the two men and highlighted that the other survivor said there was a struggle.
Pasquarella asked that bail be set at $75,000 for Richardson, who is unemployed, but Magistrate Commissioner Jonathan Friedman set it at $500,000.
Richardson has a prior conviction for simple burglary in St. Charles Parish in 2011.
Staff writer John Simerman contributed to this report.