Two West Bank men were convicted Friday for their roles in the 2012 killing of two Marrero men in the Acre Road public housing development.
The Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office said a jury of seven men and five women deliberated for four hours before convicting Jordan Hicks, 24, of Westwego, on two counts of second-degree murder and Ernest Payne Jr., 28, of Marrero, on two counts of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of half-brothers Martin "Marty" Harry, 19, and Delanta "Dig" McCall, 21.
Harry and McCall were shot Aug. 12, 2012, while sitting in Harry's 2003 Nissan Maxima in the 1600 block of Julie Street, near Second Zion Street, the District Attorney's Office said.
A witness testified Harry and McCall were hit from behind by gunfire coming from near Payne's pickup, which also was seen on Julie Street.
McCall, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car, was struck in the left side of his head, killing him instantly.
Harry, who was in the driver's seat, was struck on the top of his head and in the back of his neck, severing his spinal cord. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Harry and McCall's cousin, who was in the back seat during the shooting, identified Hicks as the gunman and Payne as an accomplice during the incident.
An AK-47 and a pistol were found near Harry and McCall, respectively, but deputies said they were purchased legally and were not fired during the incident.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Sgt. Travis Eserman testified numerous people were outside near the scene when the shooting happened, but none voluntarily gave witness statements out of fear of retaliation.
Assistant District Attorneys Rachel Africk and Seth Shute prosecuted the case.
In opening statements, defense attorneys had urged jurors to note the lack of physical evidence and the shifting motivations of witnesses.
“The stories they’re telling are not credible,” said Payne’s attorney, John Thomas. He said photos show there is no way the victims’ cousin could have seen who shot them through a rear window riddled with tiny cracks.
John Benz, the public defender representing Hicks, told jurors to pay attention to how often the witnesses had changed their stories.
Judge Stephen Grefer, of 24th Judicial District Court, scheduled sentencing for June 7.
Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence with no chance for parole, probation or suspended sentence.
Payne, who was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter, faces up to 40 years on each count, though such sentences are typically served simultaneously.