Post-Trayvon Shooting Results in Charges for Home-Defender in New Orleans
A New Orleans resident, Merritt
Landry, has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for shooting a teenager, Marshal Coulter. The
fourteen-year-old victim reportedly had a history of thefts, according to his own mother
and brother, and was seen casing Landry’s home, according to an
eyewitness. The teen then apparently jumped a 5-6-foot fence and headed towards the Landry residence, where Landry's pregnant
wife and infant daughter were present, according to the police and the home-defender. It was 2 a.m.
The case comes years after a high-profile 2007 New Orleans killing
in the same area where a killer entered a dwelling and ruthlessly shot a
mother and a father as the father held their infant. The mother died of
her wounds. The case had become a huge ordeal in the city, with
thousands protesting the high crime in Post-Katrina New Orleans. The
killer was never caught, but was believed to be a teenager.
A more recent case, from March of this year, occurred just blocks
from the location of the man shooting the teen. A group of three or
four young men attacked a man with a bottle, brutally beating him and
disfiguring his face. (A video shows the gory details.)
Now a man
stands accused for fearing the young thief on his property possibly doing the
same--and shooting him.
The case has divided the city along racial lines, with even many of the
generally Democrat and liberal Marigny neighborhood supporting the
homeowner, while many people in the black communities of New Orleans supporting
the teenager. Many in New Orleans’ various black communities had
recently protested and held rallies over the Trayvon Martin ordeal and
expressed outrage at the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman.
The NAACP and other groups immediately involved themselves, demanding the home-defender not receive bond, or otherwise demanding investigations into whomever played a role in allowing him to post bail.
The teen was reportedly not armed, but the homeowner seemingly had no way of knowing that. The New Orleans police say the fact that the teen did not have a
gun means the man and his family were not in imminent danger.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the victim’s brother as stating: "He would steal--he was a professional thief, sure...But he would never pick up a gun, not in a million years. He was
too scared to aim a gun at the grass, let alone aim it at a person. No
way. Before he'll ever pick up a gun, he'll be your friend first.’”
The paper also reports the following comment from Landry's attorneys: "This incident is terrible, and Mr.
Landry feels terrible about how things have occurred. Nevertheless, we
remain convinced our client has done nothing wrong, and we are sure--as facts come to light-- t'll become clear that Mr. Landry will be
fully exonerated of any wrongdoing."
Image source: WGNO-ABC