GONZALES — A Gonzales man was convicted Friday evening of second-degree murder in a fatal shooting that followed a March 2012 fight at the Geismar Community Center billed as battle between youths of Gonzales and of Donaldsonville.
Nathan Curry, 23, formerly of 917 Carlos St., now faces mandatory life in state prison for the slaying of 18-year-old Davonne Solomon.
With the families of Solomon and Curry watching amid a heavy law enforcement presence, Curry, wearing a cross around his neck and shorn of the dreadlocks he had at the time of the slaying, stood flanked by his defense team as a court clerk read out the verdict Friday at the Ascension Parish Courthouse Annex in Gonzales.
The jurors voted 10-2, the minimum allowed for a guilty verdict in Louisiana, for second-degree murder. They deliberated about three and a half hours after the two-day trial.
“I’m just happy to bring the family (of Solomon) closure. This has been a long time in the making,” lead prosecutor Kenneth Dupaty said afterward.
He said Solomon, a native of Donaldsonville who was living in Vacherie at the time, was riding in a car that had left the scene of the fight in the early morning hours of March 11, 2012.
The car was pulled over by a crowd of youths on Amber Street in Gonzales. Solomon and other occupants thought they had arrived at a party.
But, Dupaty said, an argument started with the Gonzales group, and Curry pulled a gun, fatally shooting Solomon and hitting a second person in the arm.
Gonzales police arrested Curry two days later.
Dupaty said prosecutors had three witnesses testify they saw Curry shoot the gun.
Dupaty said the gun was never found, only shell casings and spent bullets. Prosecutors also had no DNA evidence linking Curry to the slaying.
Curry did not testify on his own behalf, but his defense team put on witnesses who claimed Curry did not own a gun and had not seen him shoot it.
Peter John, Curry’s defense attorney, declined to comment on the case but said Judge Alvin Turner Jr. conducted himself as a professional and said it was pleasure to work with prosecutors and law enforcement officials who took the case seriously.
The 23rd Judicial District judge did not set a date on Friday for Curry’s sentencing.
Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.