Two men charged in a deadly Bourbon Street mass shootout will receive separate trials, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Criminal District Court Judge Camille Buras approved a request from attorneys for Travon Manuel and Jordan Clay to separate their trials for the 2016 shooting, which left nine people wounded and one man dead.
Prosecutors did not object to severing the trials.
"It’s a self-defense case. I’m not going to hide what our defense is: Anything that Travon did was in self-defense to protect his life because it was threatened," said Ron Haley, an attorney for Manuel.
He continued, "It would be prejudicial not only for my client, but also for Mr. Clay, for them to sit next to each other throughout the course of trial and essentially point the finger at each other."
An Orleans Parish grand jury has indicted two men accused of a shootout on Bourbon Street in November that left nine people wounded and one man dead.
Investigators believe that Manuel and Clay, who are both from the Lafayette area, had been feuding over a woman for weeks before they began firing at each other on the crowded French Quarter street on Nov. 27, 2016.
Demontris Toliver, a 25-year-old tattoo artist from Baton Rouge, was killed in the gunfire. Nine others suffered injuries in a melee that prompted calls for heightened security in the French Quarter.
Buras set an April 23 trial date for Manuel. Clay has a pretrial conference set for the same day.
Clay gave a videotaped statement to State Police in which he said that Manuel pulled out a gun first.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Manuel said he would present a “compelling” case that he acted in self-defense.
Surveillance video captured what happened when the men drew their guns. Frightened bystanders dove for cover as bullets cut through the crowd. Neither Manuel nor Clay was injured.
The two men were each charged last year with second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and illegal carrying of weapons. Both remain in custody in lieu of $1.75 million bail.
They face life imprisonment if convicted as charged.