Leon Jones

CONVENT — A St. James Parish man who was hit in the leg during a shootout outside a Vacherie bar room has been to sentenced to seven years in state prison because he was legally barred from possessing a gun during the incident, prosecutors said.

St. James Parish sheriff's deputies found Leon Jones, 35, suffering from a gunshot wound in his thigh outside the bar on Feb. 4, prosecutors with the 23rd Judicial District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Jones, 1883 Old Vacherie Road, Vacherie, told deputies he didn't know who was shooting at him but investigators later found surveillance video from the bar that showed two men involved in the shootout, prosecutors added. 

One of them was identified as Jones, but the other, who apparently shot Jones, remains at large.

Tyler Cavalier, spokesman for District Attorney Ricky Babin, said the second shooter has never been identified.

Jones was convicted in 2005 of attempted manslaughter and, as a felon, is barred from possessing a gun. 

St. James Parish sheriff's deputies arrested him at the time of the shootout on a count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and other counts, after Jones received medical treatment for his gunshot wound.

Jones pleaded guilty to the gun possession charge earlier this week in an agreement with Assistant District Attorney Adam Koenig and other prosecutors.

When asked Friday, Cavalier said Jones never told investigators what prompted the shootout and did not claim self-defense, instead initially disputing that he was involved at all.

Once investigators showed Jones the video surveillance of the incident, however, he acknowledged he was involved and agreed to accept a plea agreement, Cavalier said. Under the deal, the prosecutors dropped two other felony counts and a parole violation stemming from the incident and recommended a seven-year sentence.

Judge Tess Stromberg of the 23rd Judicial District Court handed down that sentence Monday.

Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

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