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


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