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Parnell Drive house

A Baton Rouge man pleaded guilty to manslaughter Thursday in the 2017 slaying of his uncle in Sherwood Forest, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Feras Darsaad's plea came three months after his father-in-law, Taher Toom, pleaded guilty to the same charge in exchange for a 20-year prison term in the shooting death of Zakaria Toom.

Darsaad, 30, of Baton Rouge, and Taher Toom, 56, of Hammond, both had been indicted on second-degree murder counts that would have carried mandatory sentences of life in prison if they had been convicted.

Prosecutor Dana Cummings told state District Judge Kelly Balfour that Darsaad "lured" Zakaria Toom to his Parnell Drive home on Dec. 2, 2017, with the intention of confronting and killing his uncle for allegedly making a sexual advance toward Darsaad's wife.

Cummings said Darsaad held his uncle down on a sofa before his father-in-law struck the man in the head with an assault rifle and shot him nine times.

Zakaria Toom, 50, was Taher Toom's cousin and brother-in-law.

Taher Toom was indicted in 2018, two years before Darsaad's indictment, and eventually implicated his son-in-law in the killing, the prosecutor said. There are no allegations that Darsaad fired any shots that night, she added.

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Cummings laid out the following scenario in court Thursday:

Darsaad and his wife, Reham, ate dinner at the home of Reham’s parents, Taher and Mirvant Toom, the evening of Dec. 2, 2017. After Darsaad and his wife left to return to their home in Baton Rouge, Taher Toom received a text message from Darsaad indicating he wanted Taher Toom to bring his gun because he wanted to kill his uncle.

Taher Toom called Feras Darsaad and told him to return to his residence. When he returned, Taher Toom learned that Reham Darsaad claimed Zakaria Toom had made advances toward her.

Taher Toom and Darsaad then formulated a plan that Darsaad would call Zakaria Toom and lure him to his home so that Taher Toom and Darsaad could confront him. Taher Toom brought his 9mm assault rifle and he and Darsaad left Hammond and drove to Baton Rouge.

Darsaad called Zakaria and talked him into coming to the Parnell Street residence under the false pretense that he was going to repay Zakaria money he owed him. Darsaad purposefully didn't say that Taher was with him for fear that Zakaria would not appear due to the bad blood between him and Taher.

When Taher Toom entered the residence with the gun, Zakaria Toom reached for the gun. Darsaad was behind Zakaria Toom and tried to pull him down to sit on the sofa. Taher Toom then hit Zakaria Toom in the head with the gun and, as the two struggled, Taher Toom shot the victim multiple times.

With his attorney, Margaret Lagattuta, at his side, Darsaad agreed with that scenario.

A search warrant was obtained for Taher Toom's residence and police found the assault rifle. A State Police firearm examiner determined it was the same weapon used to kill Zakaria Toom.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.