The Baton Rouge man accused of fatally shooting Dewaun Cannon’s 21-year-old son on Valentine’s Day 2012 and his teenage nephew four months earlier was found guilty Friday in the 2012 slaying, a conviction East Baton Rouge Parish’s district attorney said takes a “very dangerous, deadly killer” off the streets for good.
Erick Dewayne Scott, 23, faces an automatic sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced May 14 for the second-degree murder of Cannon’s son, Kevin “Gus” Johnson.
“I’m glad justice was served, but it doesn’t bring my son back,” Cannon said outside state District Judge Chip Moore’s courtroom. “I feel sorry for him. Yes, I’m upset he killed my son, but it’s done.”
Cannon said he suspects Scott killed his son out of fear Johnson would retaliate against Scott, a suspect in the Oct. 16, 2011, shooting death of Cannon’s nephew, 17-year-old Justice Thompson.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III called Scott’s conviction in the Johnson killing “solid” and said his office will review the pending second-degree murder charge against Scott in the Thompson slaying to determine whether to prosecute that case.
Scott also is charged with solicitation for first-degree murder, conspiracy to injure or intimidate witnesses and conspiracy to commit public bribery for making jailhouse telephone calls and sending letters from Parish Prison that authorities contend asked friends to beat, bribe, intimidate or kill the witnesses who planned to testify against him at his murder trials.
The jury that unanimously convicted Scott on Friday afternoon after about two hours of deliberations heard some of those recorded phone calls and read two letters authorities retrieved from trash cans at separate Baton Rouge residences and pieced back together.
Hillar Moore said Scott’s conviction may have resolved the solicitation and conspiracy charges against Scott.
Two of Scott’s alleged accomplices, Kirrasha R. Nicholas, 25, and Ron Neshell Dunn Jr., 24, each are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to intimidate witnesses.
Prosecutor Dana Cummings applauded Elaine Jackson, who was driving the car in which Johnson was shot, for identifying Scott as the killer of her friend and testifying against Scott, despite threats made against her.
Cummings said the smoking gun in the case was a combination of Jackson’s eyewitness testimony, and Scott’s jailhouse calls and letters, one of which ended with him writing, “Don’t let nobody see this letter.”
“A suspect always creates the type of evidence you can use,” she said outside the courthouse.
Scott’s attorney, Benn Hamilton, argued to the jury Friday that the calls and letters were misinterpreted by authorities.
Hillar Moore and Cummings also praised what the DA called “basic, old-fashioned hard detective work” by authorities involved in the case.
Hamilton said he respects the jury’s verdict, disappointing as it was.
Scott left the courtroom in tears after the jury found him guilty of shooting Johnson multiple times as Johnson sat in the front passenger seat of a car stopped at a traffic light near North Acadian Thruway West and Choctaw Drive on Feb. 14, 2012.
Hamilton argued Jackson was mistaken in her identification of Scott as the killer and said Scott is an innocent man.
Cummings countered that Jackson had no reason to lie, and the prosecutor called Scott a cold-blooded killer.
Hamilton presented alibi evidence — what Cummings called a nonalibi — that Scott picked up his godchild from a day care center at 5:40 p.m., about six minutes after a hysterical Jackson called 911 to report the shooting.
But Chuck Smith, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office, testified Scott’s first name was misspelled as “Eric” on the day care log.
He also noted that it took only slightly more than one minute to drive from the murder scene to the day care facility.
Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.