Shanta Massey mug

Shanta Massey, via Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office

A 25-year-old man admitted Thursday that he fatally shot a paraplegic man in Algiers exactly three years earlier.

After initially being charged with murder, Shanta Massey pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter and obstruction of justice in a homicide investigation, receiving the maximum 40 years’ imprisonment on each count from Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Paul Bonin.

The plea from Massey – who will serve his punishments concurrently – ended a trial that had started three days earlier. He would have faced mandatory life imprisonment if he had been convicted of murdering 25-year-old Jeren Johnson, whose family approved the plea deal, according to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office.

Johnson died after being shot in the head on Dec. 6, 2015, while sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s Nissan Altima. Massey was sitting in the back seat when he shot Johnson, and the car crashed into a truck in the 2600 block of Gen. Collins Street.

The 20-year-old driver went to the hospital after the wreck. Johnson died while Massey fled with the gun he used.

Johnson had been paralyzed below the waist since five years earlier, when a stray bullet struck him during a shooting at a playground in Gentilly in July 2010.

Police had identified Massey as the killer in the case and obtained a warrant to arrest him within eight days. But Massey wasn’t captured until Aug. 19, 2017, when authorities tracked him to an apartment complex in Houston and later extradited him to New Orleans.

Johnson’s family addressed Bonin before he sentenced Massey, according to Cannizzaro’s office.

In a statement, Cannizzaro said, “I hope (authorities’) efforts have provided this family with some comfort on the anniversary of their loved one’s death.”

Follow Ramon Antonio Vargas on Twitter, @RVargasAdvocate.

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