A 52-year-old Terrytown man charged with attempted second-degree murder for shooting a motorist in the calf in a 2013 road-rage incident received a two-year suspended sentence in a plea deal arranged this week in a Jefferson Parish court.
Almost four years to the day since the incident, attorneys for Carl Mitchell and prosecutors with Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick’s office agreed to the deal Tuesday while jury selection was underway in 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.
Mitchell, who has been out on bond since the Jan. 11, 2013, incident, will serve no prison time.
His lawyer, Jim Williams, said Mitchell and a friend were leaving Majoria Drugs on Terry Parkway in Mitchell’s pickup and almost collided with a car driven by 36-year-old Earl Alleman of Gretna as Mitchell pulled onto the street.
Williams said the two drivers exchanged words from their vehicles and again in the parking lot of a nearby gas station, where both got out of their vehicles. Mitchell then pulled out onto Carol Sue Avenue behind Alleman, but Alleman got out of his stopped car and approached Mitchell's truck in a traffic lane.
Williams said his client thought Alleman was armed and feared for his life gun, so he pulled out a gun he legally owned and and fired four shots, one of which ricocheted into Alleman's leg. Williams said Mitchell wasn't tying to kill the other driver, noting that the two men were only about 10 feet apart during the incident, which occurred during the daytime.
Williams pointed out that Alleman initially told police that Mitchell had followed him into the gas station, while surveillance footage showed it had been the other way around.
“It was absolutely, without a doubt, self-defense,” Williams said. “Everybody was on board. It was a good plea.”
After the incident but before the trial, Mitchell was also charged in Jefferson with marijuana possession. But Williams said that charge will have no effect on his client’s probation.
In a statement on the plea, Margaret Hay, who oversees felony prosecutions as chief of trials in Connick's office, said, “We believe that this is a just and fair resolution based on the facts and circumstances of this case.”
The scene of the incident wasn’t far from another recent road-rage shooting.
Local high school football legend Joe McKnight, who later played professionally for the New York Jets, was fatally shot at Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard in Terrytown during what authorities described as a road-rage incident on Dec. 1.
A few days later, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office booked Ronald Gasser, 54, on a count of manslaughter. But Gasser, who stayed at the scene following the shooting, has not yet been charged with a crime by Connick's office.