New Orleans police have arrested a suspect in this summer’s slaying of a young man whose body was propped up during his funeral as if he were playing video games and snacking — producing images that went viral online.
Jonovan Parker, 19, faces one count of second-degree murder in the June 25 shooting death of Renard Matthews, 17, in the city’s Florida neighborhood.
According to police, officers responding to a report of a shooting near North Tonti and Independence streets found Matthews on the ground with a bullet wound to the head. He died at the scene.
Police haven’t said how they linked Parker to the case, but he was jailed Saturday morning, records show.
Authorities haven’t discussed a motive in Matthews’ killing, but the victim’s family said he was walking his dog when he was slain and that his phone was stolen.
Parker would receive a mandatory life sentence if eventually convicted of second-degree murder.
Matthews’ story became known internationally when images of his funeral spread on the internet.
At Charbonnet-Labat-Glapion Funeral Home, his family set his body on a computer chair wearing a Boston Celtics jersey and holding an Xbox controller in front of a television displaying images from a basketball video game. On a table next to him were his favorite snacks: root beer, Doritos and Little Debbie Zebra Cakes.
Matthews’ family told reporters they wanted to show their loved one engaging in his favorite activity, evoking memories of the 2012 funeral honoring local jazz musician Lionel Batiste. Batiste’s body was positioned standing up while wearing a cream sport coat and holding a cane, also at the same funeral home.
Matthews was a former student at McDonogh 35 High School. His survivors included his mother, his grandmothers and three sisters.